Last week I downloaded a few demos, but only managed to find time to play and review one, Galactic Civilizations II. Given it’s Easter, and I have four consecutive days off, there wouldn’t seem to be too many excuses.
The installation was problem free, and pretty quick. The download is also a very reasonable 174mb, which shouldn’t be ignored for those on poor internet connections.
Galactic Civ II is a turn-based space strategy game. You control your planets, extract resources and execute strategies for galactic domination.
As I played this game, I found myself wishing there’s was more I could say about it. My inexperience with the genre was again a limitation, but we’ll get there!
One thing I can say is that the beginners guide that is packaged with the demo (and presumably the retail version) makes the game much more accessible for those who haven’t played the original. In comparison, I still have the X3: Reunion demo sitting on my PC, and a review unwritten, because I find the game so inaccessible. I have a feeling I might like it if I can get into it, but I can’t.
But back to Galactic Civ II.
The demo has limitations on the race you can be (only human), the races you can have in your galaxy (up to 3), and the number of turns (> 140).
There doesn’t seem to be any limitations on the research you can choose, or buildings or ships you can build or buy. This is pretty cool, as it gives you a pretty good shot at seeing a fair chunk of the available content. Three game years (>140 turns) also turns (excuse the pun) out to be more than it at first seems.
It seems like you could play this game for weeks and never reach the end of it’s content. This is helped by a few cool features such as being able to design your own ships. You can also execute different strategies based on different research, for instance, you might be the military dictator, and then be reincarnated with an ability for diplomacy and democracy.
There is one thing I found a little annoying. I’m used to scrolling across the window by moving the mouse to the edge of the screen. You can do this in GalCiv II, but only for about two thirds of the screen. So when you move it to the corners (to scroll diagonally) it doesn’t seem to work. It is possible that the intended navigation method is to click on the screen (right mouse button) and scroll while holding. However there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to resolve this scrolling issue.
Ultimately, I enjoyed playing this game. At certain stages in my life this definitely would have been something I would have gotten into. It saddens me that this time may have come and gone. I can only wait and see if a game appears that turns that on it’s head.
A well made game, one I would recommend to anyone interested in this genre. 8/10.