Endless Space 2 vs Stellaris: Which to Buy?

Endless Space 2 vs Stellaris

Endless Space 2 vs Stellaris are epic space operas set in universes with abundant life. The games are 4x strategy games that play similar to titles that of the Civilization series but operate on a much grandiose scale.

Endless Space 2 and Stellaris share many similarities in objectives and gameplay; you’ll start your civilization with just one planetary system, your faction’s homeworld. Your goal is to take control of your civilization and guide it to expand throughout the galaxy.

If you are a lover of 4x strategy games, then chances are you’ve heard or come across Endless Space 2 and Stellaris. But if you never played either and are looking for your next sci-fi and strategy game fix, which game would you choose?

Even though each game holds many similarities, they have some differences that may justify purchasing one over the other. Endless Space 2 is visually better than Stellaris, with great animations, character designs, and cinematics.

Both games require your attention you won’t get by just clicking and hoping you will strategize and plan. However, Endless Space 2 is considerably more noob-friendly than Stellaris.

Main Differences Between Stellaris vs Endless Space

The main differences between Endless Space 2 vs Stellaris are:

  • Endless Space 2 campaigns can be completed within twenty hours, whereas Stellaris campaigns can last over hundreds of hours.
  • Stellaris is a 4x real-time strategy game that includes a pause feature, whereas Endless Space 2 is a 4x turn-based strategy game.
  • Endless Space 2 features a story-rich universe with well-written and modeled characters and factions, whereas Stellaris relies on the player to create the story and civilizations that inhabit the galaxy. 
  • There are six types of win conditions in Endless Space 2, giving you more closure at the end of a campaign, whereas Stellaris only has two that can contradict your civilization’s characteristics, leaving the ending to feel ambiguous.
  • Endless Space 2 is more user-friendly and forgiving for new players, whereas Stellaris is complex with a steep learning curve.

Life in Space: the Races of Endless Space and Stellaris

Endless Space: Truly a Unique Alien Galaxy

Endless Space 2

From the Unfallen, a race of highly intelligent talking trees determined to share their wisdom of peace across the universe. To The Horatio, a race of clones created by an unhinged self-obsessed billionaire.

Endless Space 2 has everything you’d expect and more from a space opera. Including DLC Endless Space 2 features ten unique playable races with a distinctive storyline, ships, characteristics, and origins.

In Endless Space 2, you’ll soon learn that the universe is filled with wonderful and equally terrifying life. As you expand your civilization to new worlds, you will inevitably meet non-space fairing civilizations that can be merged into your own.

Consequently, your civilization will adopt the minor civilization’s talents into your own. The bonuses will vary with twenty-seven minor civilizations included in Endless Space 2 and DLC!

The factions in Endless Space 2 have unique gameplay abilities, otherwise known as a Faction Affinity that drastically change how factions are played.

For Example, the Vaulters have teleportation capabilities to travel anywhere within the galaxy. Comparatively, the Cravers Faction Affinity enslaves the population of a Cravers-occupied world, which will boost FIDSI gathering but decreases other population approval by 50%.

Endless Space 2 allows players to create their factions based on visuals, traits, and affinity. It can be straightforward to create an overpowered faction with some tweaking. However, faction creation isn’t that endless, as you’ll be limited to a selection of traits affinities belonging to existing races in the game.

Stellaris: A Sci-fi Geek’s Roleplaying Dream


If you prefer to create a character in an RPG rather than play in the shoes of one, you are going to love Stellaris. With a vast array of parameters to choose from, you can let your imagination run wild in the race builder.

Want to play as Xenophobic Hivemind Molluscoids living on an ocean planet that came into fruition after a cataclysmic event on their homeworld? You can.

Or want to play as Spiritualist Avians residing on a rocky desert homeworld whose species were Life-Seeded by an unknown alien species, you can. Once you have created a species in Stellaris, you can play it or play against it!

It’s not all flavor text though, traits, ethics, government, and origins you choose for your species will shape their characteristics. Consequently defining your civilization’s strengths and weaknesses. As well as dictate your species outlook on other civilizations its shares within the galaxy.

It can be pretty daunting for Stellaris noobs to design their species; thankfully, the game includes numerous default species for you to experiment with.

Although, these species aren’t fleshed out like in Endless Space 2, as you won’t be able to delve into the lore of a species. Instead, Stellaris gives you the tools to build your narrative, making the game fantastic for role-playing your very own space opera.

How do Stellaris and Endless Space 2 Factions Compare?

Both games offer a magnificent opportunity for role-playing. Stellaris has indeed an astounding amount of combinations for you to tweak and experiment with to create a species. Graphically it lags behind Endless Space 2 regarding species.

You will only get a simple animated portrait of your space-faring people. But you will get a species that will play uniquely to any other.

However, Endless Space 2 Faction Affinity mechanics have more direct gameplay changes and act more like unique abilities than board-game mechanics found in Stellaris. The Agrarian trait rewards the civilization with a 15% food bonus to jobs.

Gameplay: Turn-Based vs Real-Time

Endless Space 2

While the fundamentals and goals are very similar between Endless Space 2 and Stellaris, there are still many differences. By comparing the mechanics and features of each game, you can see what best fits your 4x and sci-fi cravings. 

Endless Space 2 is strictly turn-based with automated cinematic combat. Alternatively, Stellaris plays like a real-time strategy game with a pause feature.

Pausing permits you to take your time to plan your actions, which is essential for Stellaris. Especially for new players who will be overwhelmed with information. However, this can become problematic in multiplayer when any player can pause the game.

As a result, Endless Space 2 is superior for multiplayer campaigns as turn-based allows for an even amount of time for each player. If you are a fan of Civilization multiplayer, you will enjoy and understand Endless Space 2 considerably more than Stellaris. 

Endless Space 2 victory conditions are objectively superior to Stellaris, with six victory conditions. Players can pursue either a Conquest, Supremacy, Science, Economic, Wonder, or Score victory, leaving players a lot of choice for their civilizations goals. Stellaris, on the other hand, lags with measly two-win conditions.

By either purging, the galaxy of every other race, or you gain 100% control over the galaxy, which suspiciously sounds the same. However, some Stellaris players view the game as more survival than a competition. 

Building Your Empire from the Ground Up

The fundamentals of resource gathering in a 4x strategy game are the same, with slight differences between the games. 

To successfully build and maintain your empire, you will have to gather FIDSI (Food, Industry, Dust, Science, and, Influence). A set of resources featured in previous Endless titles such as Endless Space and Endless Legends.

T makes Endless Space 2 more accessible for players of the series. While these are just primary resources typical of 4x games, Dust is a profound resource that acts as currency within the galaxy. It ties heavily into the narrative and lore of the Endless universe. But we will explore this in detail later.

Campaign Length

Campaign length can vary between both games but will depend on how many players or a.i you are competing against. Typically you can complete an Endless Space 2 campaign within a few sessions.

Spanning over 10 hours, with a clear winner by the end of the campaign. A Stellaris campaign, on the other hand, can take up to a few weeks or even a month to complete. The conclusion of a game feels open-ended rather than a clear winner.

Narrative: Space Opera Epic

Endless Space 2

Endless Space 2

To give a bit of back story, a long-extinct, highly advanced species called the Endless created Dust. The Endless were the apex species of the galaxy.

Until they underwent a technological revolution, new advancements allowed them to upload their consciousness into a digital network of nanobots and nanocomputers. As well as improving the way of life by advancing transport and construction systems.

The Endless would become splintered into two sides of thought, the Concretes and the Virtuals. The Virtuals sought to use Dust to upload themselves into a digital network and pursue immortality. The Concretes opposed this use of the Dust, and the two schools of thought drifted apart.

They became paranoid of each other until finally, the pressure resulted in war. The war wiped both sides out in the process and left only Dust as remnants for future civilizations to discover.

Today empires are not technologically advanced enough to fully utilize and understand Dust. Instead, the sparkly substance has become a universal currency within the galaxy. As technology improves, so do its uses, leaving you to wonder whether your civilization will befall the same tragedy as the Endless.

It’s an exciting backdrop for the civilizations in the game and leaves you curious to discover more about the history of the galaxy. On your journey, you will find information about the past and progress through the story of your selected faction.

Soundtrack: Music of the Universe

Stellaris Soundtrack

Both games have an exquisite soundtrack that will play in the game’s background. It isn’t easy to compare music as it is often to the listener’s tastes.

However, in my opinion, the Stellaris soundtrack composed by Andreas Waldetoft is an epic emotional rollercoaster that is both immersive and beautiful. “Faster Than Light,” “Distant Nebula,” “Deep Space Travels,” and countless more stand out as incredible pieces of music.

The soundtrack is reminiscent of Interstellar and other great sci-fi such as Mass Effect. However, it harbors its own identity as unique to Stellaris. The use of an organ underlining the central theme of a crescendo of violins and the vocal lead of Mia Stegmar sounds incredible—empowering you to explore and develop your Empire.

Endless Space 2 still has a brilliant soundtrack. However, it’s interesting how each faction has a unique theme—encompassing instruments and sounds that you could imagine being part of the culture for the civilization or are relative to their characteristics.

“From the Heart” is one such track. Being the theme for the Unfallen, the track is peaceful and relaxing and represents the Unfallen’s quest to bring peace and heal the galaxy. 


Question: What is a 4x Strategy Game?

Answer: The 4x genre is a sub-genre of strategy that enacts the Explore, Expand, Exploit and, Exterminate gameplay mechanics. It is a core element of turn-based and real-time strategy games. Gameplay revolves around building an empire by constructing buildings to collect resources to grow your economy.

As well as increase your influence and social standings with neighboring civilizations to become allies or enemies. Mechanics become more in-depth the grander the strategy.

Question: How Much DLC Does Endless Space 2 Have?

Answer: There are four major DLC packs for Endless Space 2 and five minor DLC packs, excluding soundtracks and free DLC.

Major DLC:

Vaulters – adds new Vaulters civilization, Main Quests, Exploration Quests, Heroes, Special Node, Pirate Diplomacy, Ship Modules, Sisters of Mercy minor faction and, OPBOT DV8.
Supremacy – adds new Hissho civilization, four new heroes, ILLO minor faction, and the Behemoth a system and star destroyer.
Penumbra – introduces the Umbral Choir faction and hacking feature.
Awakening – introduces the Nakalim faction, four new heroes, Academy Empire, and the Xirmisala minor faction.

Minor DLC:

Lost Symphony – introduces the Harmony minor faction and seven new soundtracks.
Untold Tales introduces four new minor factions, twenty-one quests based on minor factions, and four new heroes.
Harmonic Memories – introduces FES2 Reflects, a new Harmony hero, and nine new soundtracks.
Celestial Worlds – adds a multistranded quest that includes fourteen chapters. As well as two new planets, six new weapon modules, and eight new Empire Improvements.
Dark Matter – adds 12 new quests.

Question: What are Other Good 4x Strategy Game Alternatives to Stellaris and Endless Space 2?

Answer: The 4x genre has many good alternatives to Stellaris and Endless Space 2. Spanning from sci-fi, historical, and fantasy genres, including grand strategy gameplay. Here is a list of 4x titles to try:

• Civ 5
• Civ 6
• Civ 6: Gathering Storm
• Civ 6: Rise and Fall
• Civ 6: Frontier Pass
• Civilization: Beyond Earth
• Humankind
• Endless Legends
• Endless Legends 2
• Endless Space.
• Age of Wonders: Planetfall
• Age of Wonders 3
• Sins of a Solar Empire.

Question: How Does Multiplayer Work in Stellaris?

Answer: Up to 32 players can join a campaign on Stellaris! However, the more players you have in your game significantly impact the quality of the match as any player can pause the game. You can invite friends to your game via the Steam overlay. Stellaris campaigns can last up to 80 hours, so plan your galactic conquest sessions with your friends.


In conclusion, both games offer a substantial amount of replayability. Stellaris offers significantly more open-ended, sandbox tools to build your empire.

That allows players to sink hundreds of hours into building their empires and exploring the galaxy but lacks a clear ending with somewhat lazy victory conditions that can easily contradict your civilization’s characteristics.

Endless Space 2, on the other hand, feels more like a complete story with closure to every campaign. There are many ways to play the game, and visually it’s above Stellaris.

Whatever game you choose, you can rest assured you’re going to have fun!

Continue reading our Endless Space 1 vs Stellaris comparison.

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