Review by spiceworm
Stuff To Do, Cultures To Destroy.
My Introduction -
Having played the original Galactic Civilizations, I looked to this game rather favourably. Solely released by Stardock I had hopes that this game would be better than the first and have some of those missing features that would have made the first game all that much better. I sought out a copy and decided to give it a play through to see if this game was in-fact better than the first. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed.
Changes, Changes -
The game play for Galactic Civilizations II was heavily revised in my opinion. The same turn-based play remained but there were various added elements to the way in which the player interacted with the Universe. Real-time choices could be made and the CPU would respond in the required manner. The way that this game plays in the broader sense is little different from that if the first game. However Stardock introduced a single player campaign to complement the Multiplayer mode. With scripted play and overall ending goals and required targets. This was a major improvement of Galactic Civilizations giving the player all the more to do and again increasing the re-play value. I loved the ability to scrap all of your races standard ships and completely design your own ships from scratch with there own looks and feel. This I used to great effect as even my weakest and most non-military vessel looked like some epic battle cruiser, armed to the teeth (well Gums anyway). The world view screens were also revamped with improved tiles and a direct control over what any given planet was used for. Whether the player wanted a complete research planet, farm world, population world, military planet and so on the choices were completely at the players discretion.
Shes Had A Makeover Captain! -
Graphics for Galactic Civilizations II were also overhauled and changed. The ships in the Universe were ALL 3D with the ability to zoom in and see your various vessels close up. The worlds were freed from the stars and brought out into the main Universe view. Planets were individual with their own looks and animations even lights on the surface denoting population centres were rendered in. Borders and conflict zones were beautifully added on the main play screen instead of being on the mini-map only making it easier to manage your Empires borders and limits. An ability to watch battles in real-time was also added almost making space combat into mini movies in their own right that the player could watch and analyse. The FMV sequences were improved and given a more responsive and life like appearance even given aliens facial expressions. I could go on and on but then the player would not having anything to look forward to. All I can say is that a lot of work went into the production and improvement of this game over the first.
Battling The Alien Menace! -
The A.I also had work put into it as it was much more sneaky and preferred subterfuge over outright warfare when it was weaker than the players Empire. Going as far as to get the player to wage war on its behalf to manipulating trade deals in its favour and at times using bully tactics to meet its ends. The greater variety of alien races was also good as the player had to fight races that they would have no experience with. The introduction of an improved combat engine made warfare all that more tense completely removing any randomness from encounters and simply pitting the ships against one another in open conflict. There were really so many improvements made and not all of them were obvious as some were very subtle changes that only a fan or long term player would pick up on.
My Last Dribble -
Having never really found any great flaws or issues with this game apart from the odd loading screen failure or lag issue from turn to turn. I can happily say that Galactic Civilizations II was well worth the play through and completion in my books. Even now I occasional crack it out of its box and give it another play through, a great game.
Leonardo A.K.A Spiceworm
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords (EU, 03/03/06)
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