Death of Strategy Gaming is Greatly ExaggeratedPosted on February 27th, 2006 2 comments
Galactic Civilizations II is quickly becoming something of a phenomenon, in a world where PC gaming, and turn-based strategy gaming in particular, is supposedly dying off. Throw in that there is no copy protection on this game whatsoever, and it’s obvious that GalCiv2 is thwarting conventional wisdom at every turn.
Reviews are rolling in, and it is doing very well… as it should! Mind you, there are quite a few bugs, but the gameplay is flawless. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Galactic Civilizations II is the best turn-based-strategy to be released since Civilization II. Hmm… it could be better. Only time will tell.
If Stardock can continue the excellent community support that they’ve always shown, then GalCiv2 will prove to be one of the great PC games of all time. Stardock has, like many companies, solicited user input, but I can’t remember any other companies taking the time to listen and actually IMPLEMENT the most sought-after changes. In that respect, GalCiv2 could be considered a “living game”. For instance, there is no multiplayer, but Stardock has said that they have written the game in such a way that it could be implemented if there were enough demand.
The case against having multiplayer should be obvious to anyone who has played Alpha Centauri or Civilization in a multiplayer format. It takes FOREVER to play these kinds of games because you have to wait for everyone else to tkae their turns. Admittedly, Civ4 has done a pretty excellet job of overcoming some of the shortcomings of turn-based strategy multiplayer, but certainly not enough to appeal to anyone but the hardcore Civ player.
I can’t say enough good things about GalCiv2, but the one gripe I have about the game right now is bugginess. There are interface bugs. There are “Crash To Desktop” (CTD) bugs. There are graphical bugs. The solution? Stardock released a patch 3 days after release incorporating fixes and adding features that the community had been requesting in that 3 days time.
Admittedly, there are a number of bugs still remaining, but all I’ve needed to do is turn up my Autosave frequency. Like I said, if Stardock can keep this up as demand for the game rises, then Stardock will hold a place with the likes of Bethesda and Blizzard.
Who’s saying strategy gaming is dead? Strategy gaming is doing fine.
Now turn based strategy gaming…that’s another story. And it will take more than GalCiv2 and Civ4 to resurrect that corpse.
Sounds encouraging. To be honest, even though I am a long time turn-based fan, the latest games have been something of a turn off. I just could not get Civ III started to save my life. It seemed overcomplicated for its own sake and I finally gave up when I realized it felt more like work.
It seems like we are in a phase right now where games seem more like work than entertainment, which is a deadly time to be developing turn-based games that have a natural built-in “slog factor” already. I don’t know if one good game being released, or even two if you count Civ IV, is going to save the genre. There was a time, hard as it might seem to believe, that a few turn-based strategy games were released every quarter. Not the few a year we’re lucky to see now.
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