Years ago, I started a thread “patched games worth a second look”. One of the top candidates was a SOTS. So I started playing the game with all the expansions and all the major patches. It is in virtual tie with MOO2 as my favorite 4x Space game. In asking QT3 and reading other comments, it seems like the well-polished gem that I started playing, started off as a lump of coal.
I think Tom’s review was quite fair to Stellaris at is launch.
But what seems to separate Paradox from most game companies is to put in a lot of work after the fact to improve their games. Some like EU IV and HO IV, simply need polishing and bug fixes. Other like Stellaris need to be reforged.
Once people here start saying I’m seeing some shine on this game, I’ll give it another shot.