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  • Civilization… IN SPACE! — A Review

    Posted on February 22nd, 2006 Finster No comments

    Wow. Galactic Civilizations II is awesome. If you have played the first iteration of this series, the sequel will more than satisfy. It’s exactly what a sequel SHOULD be. No dumbing down and no bullcrap, just a whole bunch of really cool new features.

    Ship design is admittedly interesting, but I can’t be bothered to fiddle with fins and nacelles right now… so I just slapped the necessary components on there and head out.

    The 3 different attack and defense values add a HUGE amount of depth. When there was a pirate uprising with rating 10 beam attack fleets, I had to design and purchase several “Pirate Hunter” class vessels with lots of beam shields. The pirates also had a lot of armor but were weak against missiles and lasers. Luckily I had been steadily climbing up the lasers tree for some time.

    The technologies… there are a TON of them. Unless you really try to stretch out your game, you will not be able to research everything. In this last game I played, I researched up through lasers and all of the defense techs before skyrocketing up the cultural influence tree. Once I built an “influence starbase” and was pumping out constructors, it was only a matter of time before the Terran Alliance covered the entire galaxy.

    A couple of concerns, though. Late game AI seemed REALLY week. When faced with a very large opponent (me), they all kind of seemed to give up. Although, there was one empire that started building up it’s influence, and before I got the starbase up was starting to encroach on some of my planets.

    Planetary assaults are pretty much the same as in the first game, no real surprises here, but then again, I have yet to really exploit that tech tree.

    The graphics are pretty decent, but the nicest thing about the new 3D engine, is that it is really fast, and very informative. On the main screen, there is a lot of information at your fingertips.

    One gripe about the interface is that there are some… inconsistencies and bugs. My game crashed once, but once I figured out what was causing it, it was easy to workaround. Besides the bugs, there are times where the interface does not behave in an intuitive manner. Clicking a progress bar in one area may rightly yield up a route to critical information, but clicking the same progress bar in another screen does nothing. Ultimately though, these things were minor nuisances, and Stardock does have a track record of listening to player feedback, and I expect many of these quirks will be handled in the first couple patches.

    If anyone has ever NOT played GalCiv, you will be delighted to know that the game has no copy protection whatsoever. You do have to have a valid serial number in order to get patches and content updates (again, Stardock has put out some great content for GalCiv1). So, no crappy Starforce or rootkits. It’s nice to see a game company NOT treat their customers like criminals!

    So, anyway, yeah… this game rocks.

    Definitely Top Of Cool material!

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