Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 30.09.2017

Review for Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn on PC

In a genre that has mostly been single player, or at least rarely focused on multiplayer Stellaris has been unique in that is was always heavily focused on multiplayer and a heavy 'role playing' aspect than strategy. This specific expansion gives the ability to play as a machine race taking to the stars, but while it gives plenty of substance to the role-play aspect, its actual content is thin.

At this point in Stellaris gamers are going to know what they are getting with it. Along with past expansions, Utopia being the easiest to point to, there were some interesting changes, but at its root this was fundamentally the same. There were some new options, certainly, but at its root it was mostly value changes (such as mining faster) rather than any actual overt change. Of course, many played this for its roleplay, whether they were the friendly xeno-lover or (much more common) various angry races wanting to kill off everything else.

In this vein, Synthetic Dawn both hits and misses its target. At its core, it allows players to now try a machine empire (much like the 'hive mind' in previous versions) and compete with various things involved in this. There are traits such as keeping biologic creatures as pets, or just outright exterminating all of them. Some physical changes in game are things like requiring the player to build population at 100 minerals a piece and a few new robot techs.

Screenshot for Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn on PC

From the acting point of view, it is going to be fun, and there will probably be at least one 'resistance is futile' chat in every game, that being said however, the actual content is thin which makes it tough to recommend. The things included are new machine race portraits and a new advisor voice as well as a few new music tracks - some things that are suspiciously missing are a machine-style ship, or machine cities.

For all intents the machine empire is a re-skin of the hive mind. When the revelation becomes obvious, it is hard to not feel a little disappointed. Stellaris was never particularly deep in terms of 4X space strategy games, and a lack of depth in expansions really starts to bring this feeling to the forefront. Despite the massive difference in what a hive mind or a machine empire should be like, the game progresses largely the same: terraforming squares, mess around with leaders, send science ships around the galaxy, get up the death ball of ships and roll out. None of them truly feel that different at all, and this expansion again highlights this.

Yes, there are new events like a machine uprising occurring, but considering a typical game easily takes 20 hours or more, it just doesn't feel like a true change or expansion. Despite the number of expansions, with the exclusion of the civic/ascend system, the game in fundamentally the same as the vanilla version. This is unfortunate from an 'expansion' point of view, as a lot of this feels like it could be done for free in a mod.

Screenshot for Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


For players wanting to act as machines, it is going to be a fun expansion, but the amount of content is very thin. The lack of cities and ships for the machine empire comes off as cheap, and the entire race feels like a re-kin of hive mind mechanics. Those looking for something new or substantial will not find it here. Sure, those who love Stellaris to death will surely find something in Synthetic Dawn, but wayward fans will not find redemption in this expansion.


Paradox Development







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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