Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. If you're a fan of the series or strategy in general and are willing to put up a few minor flaws and some bugs (which will hopefully be patched), then I highly recommend this title.
  2. It’s a great-looking but clunky implementation of the classic “aliens, spaceships and lots of micromanagement” formula.
  3. If you're a fan of 4X games or want to engage in one of the most in-depth strategy games released lately, then Space Empires V is your ticket.
  4. There's a vast array of technologies to research and build, but the true joy lies in lovingly crafting your empire, species and ships. [Apr 2007, p.73]
  5. An excellent, nuanced and deep game that will certainly please fans of the genre. But with the warning that it is not for all tastes and sensibilities, and not for casual players looking to shoot up a few aliens.
  6. Strategy fans that have some experience under their belt will find sufficient challenge with Space Empires V. Just be sure to read the (thick) manual and go through the tutorial. All others should really think twice before picking this up.
  7. The most hardcore space-based 4X in years. [Jan 2007, p.88]
  8. For those science-fiction fans that like to create their own mods should find this to be a rewarding title. The fact that the multiplayer capability issues have yet to be resolved leaves me wondering just how long this title will be enjoyed before ending up on a shelf.
  9. SEV doesn’t bring anything new to the table but it is a refinement of the genre. It has all the features you’d expect or want from a turn-based space strategy game and it does them all very well.
  10. 66
    Poor AI and general stability problems make learning the ins and outs of the game through trial and error much more frustrating than hardcore types are likely to stand.
  11. Space Empires V is a space strategy game with plenty of depth and complexity, but it's so riddled with bugs and issues that it is ultimately tough to recommend.
  12. From tech tree, combat, and diplomacy cock-ups to bugged multiplayer and ongoing game crashes, a journey with Space Empires V is as frustrating as it is deep. [Feb. 2007, p.76]
  13. I plan to keep Space Empires V installed on my hard drive alongside upcoming A-list titles like Star Trek: Legacy. After all, every strategy fan needs a game that’s a little slower placed but offers so many complex choices.
  14. For a game with so much detail, it is surprising that there is not more in the way of detailed summary screens available.
  15. Slow paced and processor intensive...Saying that, like swimming in a vast body of molasses attached to a couple of long-necked ungulates, once dry land is spotted, the drive to continue is strong. [Mar 2007, p.73]
  16. 62
    Space Empires V is a strange game, bursting with a massive expansiveness in terms of play, but let down by an unsupportive structure that newcomers to the series are likely to find off putting.
  17. If you stick with the smaller campaigns, you can focus on mastering the interface and designing the ultimate space fleet. Sometimes Space Empires V takes its commitment to customization too far, but there’s never any doubt who the emperor is.
  18. What this game lacks in manners it makes up for in depth, what it makes up for in depth it almost gets taken away from in the AI’s incompetence. Almost. As is, Space Empires V is terrifying in its scope and utterly absorbing if you can get through the maze-like issues it comes with.
  19. Despite its few shortfalls, the main issue standing in the way of recommending this title to our readers is the instability factor.
  20. Those with less animated imaginations, less patience, and lower tolerances of fusty graphics and long turn resolution times should probably stick with Civ and Total War.
  21. An incredibly deep and complex game. The problem is that to really get your hands on the deep and complex stuff, you have to go through gameplay hell and we’d be surprised if many people had the stomach to do that when there are so many other games out there that do it better.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 38
  2. Negative: 4 out of 38
  1. AllanW
    Dec 30, 2009
    Without doubt, in my opinion the best of it's kind in this genre, and I have played many. The graphics are superb, very detailed main window includes animated planets and anomalies which looks great. Very helpful pop-ups appear when you mouse over anything on the screen. The tutorial guides you nicely step by step explaining things simply and in depth. The game is very deep, with an extensive tech tree and ability to design your own ships etc. Not for someone who is looking for quick gameplay. But if you enjoy playing this type of strategy game, and you want an in depth experience that will require time, patience and strategy (brain power), then this in my opinion is the best in it's genre by far. Enjoy Full Review »
  2. MorganL.
    Feb 12, 2008
    As an avid SE4 player I was looking forward to this game, however the game has gone from a cleanly designed intuitive game to micromanagement hell. The interface is horrible and getting even basic information about your ships or planets requires multiple clicks through several menus. In SE4 all the information was in sight when you needed. SE5 has added large graphic buttons and removed the information displays that allowed you to handle the complexity of a large empire. After several patches the glaring problems remain and I doubt that they will be fixed. It's a shame after SE4 did so much right that SE5 would turn out to be so unplayable. Full Review »
  3. Nov 14, 2013
    This game gets an 8 from me out of the sheer ballsyness of scope that it plays at. You go from, "Look we have ion drives!" to, "Hold on a sec, I'ma make that star into a power factory for my civ, Brb." Woah! Mind blown.

    Warning though, it's complex and very arcane. It's a joy if you absolutely love spending hours working very hard to understand large complicated systems. Not so great if you just want a video game to sit down and blow some steam off with.
    Full Review »