430 of 490 people (88%) found this review helpful 20 people found this review funny
57.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 25
In and of itself, I would narrowly consider this a good game.
However, I write to note that when compared with Gal Civ II, which I played extensively, there seems to be little more in GCIII than an updated UI and cleaner graphics. One must buy a dlc to unlock 2 of the major races that were originally in II. I followed the emails and other updates during development, and also participated in the beta, and I feel that GCIII is more of a cash cow than anything else. There was a ship designer in GCII; they emphasized that it would be improved in III before release, but it is almost identical to that of GCII.
This game is worth $40 only if they gave you all the dlc; buy it on sale, or from a cdkey site for a discount. Otherwise, enjoy GCII which feels more realistic and balanced in terms of AI behavior. It's amazing how they can make $50 of dlc for a $40 dollar update of GCII.
I leave with this: is it fun? Yes. Is it more fun than GCII? Not really. If you enjoy masochistically having your wallet ransacked, this is your opportunity. I have liked Stardock in the past, especially with Sins of a Solar Empire, among other games. They, unfortunately, now resemble EA or Activision.
1,049 of 1,272 people (82%) found this review helpful 35 people found this review funny
55.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 15, 2015
I can not currently recommend this game for the full $50 price. Maybe later when the price drops or some patches come out to fix some things.
There is just some real irritating flaws in the game that when combined with the other problems drop the game down the the blah level. Most could be fixed easily. Two and five probably will never change which is what will keep this game not much above the blah level.
1. Capitals on a planet, The AI places them at random wherever it wants. Considering capitals give bonuses to surrounding buildings it makes a big difference on where it was placed. It seems to me that if I find an unsettled planet I should be able to choose the location of the capital. So because the AI chose a dumb spot for a capital you lose those bonuses because they go to waste. The best example would be if hexes were about the size of Australia and you were to colonize a planet with land masses like Earth, why would you place your capital in Australia and forfeit all bonuses?
2. No retreat option for combat. Similar games (Master of Orion and Endless Space) at least gave you the option to retreat during combat, meaning you could take some damage and/or losses but at least have a chance to run away. So later in game if the enemy is bigger and faster then you do not stand a chance of getting away. At that point you might as well concede the game. Simply because a fleet can attack as many times as it has movement points.
3. You can draw production in a shipyard from multiple planets over long distances to build colony ships, but somehow people just can not make that same trip. Yet these same people are going to climb into that ship you just built and travel ten times that same distance. So now you have to waste multiple turns just putting people into your colony ship.
4. Technology specialization. What was the point in this feature? The specialization technologies can traded and you can find the specialized in anomalies. Which if you receive a tech you have no made a choice, you lose that choice. So if you wanted to specialize in a certain bonus, but a friendly AI gives you a different specialization tech, then maybe next game, unless you get lucky and find another AI to trade for it. The fact that you lose your choice of specialization is extremely lame. Never mind how it can get exploited in multiplayer.
5. Battles are either "quick result" or "watch battle" meaning you have zero control on that battle. All of the battle tactics are based on what job tags you gave the ships in your fleet. Which means no singling out a target to kill first. The battles for the most part are not worth watching anyways because either option is going to give you the same outcome.
6. Construction ships and using the station option to call for one. Someone had a great idea to be able to have a space station go "Hey I need a construction drone to build another module" and you click that button. Then a construction drone will be built and sent to that station. Sounds cool right? Real cool up to the point that this feature will clear any orders an existing drone currently has. So if you manually sent a drone to build a new station, it wont reach it. So that means you have to wait to use this feature until your manual drone is done. This feature will clear orders a drone already has, but will not clear guard or sentry, so makign them in advance and planning on using this feature does not work.
7. Excess research and production is lost. When the game calculates the end of a turn if it finishes building or researching something any points over that mark are NOT carried to the next project, the points are just gone. This just seems to make the game drag on and it also makes specialized manufacturing planets nearly pointless because so much can go to waste.
8. Ship designer spamming designs. Whenever you get new technologies the ship designer will spit out new ships designs, which later in the game leads to having way too many designs to sort through. Stardock solved this in previous versions and other games by adding a feature able to turn off the auto-designer. Considering that feature exists in multiple other Stardock games the feature should exist here.
9. Cultural expansion is ridiculous. It expands faster than you can explore early on. If you never explored it then how is your culture affecting it? About equal to the Roman Empire holding cultural sway over North America before they even knew it existed. The only way to catch up later is you disposable scouts with stacks of engines, lifesupport, and scanners which is about mid game. Since I have only played insane maps, then smaller maps probably run a higher chance of culture flipping.
10. Rush production is really flawed. If you rush a production in queue then no other production points are gained from that planet or shipyard for that turn. On top of that rushing production is a set amount, even if you have the production item almost complete.
11. The pirates are pointless. Four hundred turns in on a insane map size and I am discovering the same low tech pirates that were encounted in the first dozen turns. This makes them nothing but a nuisance, one that apparently the AI ignores. Not even sure if they attack the AI or not because the pirates will not attack anything stronger than them. So basically then end up as nothing but clutter to make your end turn processing longer.
These are the just the basic things I can think of that should have been ironed out during the beta.
Now for the technical aspects.
1. The sound for cut scene movies. Apparently someone forgot to include cut scene movie volume with the sound options in the game. So it just comes out as a bunch of mumbling.
2. End of turn processing on large map. This is really what kills the gaming mood. I made it up to around 400 turns on an insane map before it was just too ridiculous to play. The time to process became about 2-3 minutes a turn, which really sucks if the only thing you do on your turn is spend a few seconds to click next turn. The other issue is every time the end turn process it kicks in all the fans in my computer into overdrive just to keep up with the processing. Meanwhile you can not touch much with getting the "not responding error" from Windows. Which by the way if you are seeing that blue circle between turns, it aint a Stardock logo thing, that is Windows saying "hey this program aint responding." Which leads me to wonder if running the game is really good for the computer.
3. Ship designer, great feature (seriously.) One tip though, you might want to save your game before using it. Otherwise you could be sent back to your last autosave it decides to crash.
4. I received the achievement for the completing the first part of the campaign game simply by clicking to start it. Sounds petty and nitpicking, but think about it for a moment. That is really sloppy coding and testing. Where else in making the game were they sloppy? I think the first patch today fixed this along with a dozen other achievements, which basically proved my point.
5. After about 200 turns the text on the UI starts disappearing. Which is really annoying with diplomacy options.
I was one of those customers burned years ago by Stardock with Elemental: War of Magic. This release reeks of the same issues. The whole "release it and patch it later" attitude. About the same effect as buying an early access game when they are on the .8x builds.
So in short, if you are on the fence on buying this, let me knock you off it. Wait and watch, in the mean time take a browse through the forums. Sure in six months of patch it might be a decent game, but news flash I doubt it will still be $50 price tag on it.
If you are mainly thinking about the game mainly because of the ship editor then do yourself a favor and go find a free 3d animation program like Blender and learn something in the process.
332 of 384 people (86%) found this review helpful 9 people found this review funny
68.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 19, 2015
General features (can be viewed as pros):
-Race customization is fairly detailed -Ship designer is good, even better because you can use pre-existing models and modify them to your own tastes -Certain resources are linked to certain celestial bodies eg antimatter surround black holes, elerium in nebulae, etc. So a savvy player, upon seeing a nebula knows to explore it fully incase there is elerium and that a black hole is likely to have some antimatter surrounding it. -powerful resources like antimatter are more limited, but using them is non-destructive so there wont be buyers remorse, ie you'll get the resource back if you destroy the building/ship that uses it. This also allows you to use resources early in buildings tech, and then recycle it when a better option arrives, meaning that a player who can manage his resources well will do better than one who just holds onto resources until a "top tier" usage for them is unlocked. -massive maps are possible, so with the right settings it doesnt feel like a "small" galaxy or that you're running out of space (until late game) -starbases used intelligently can give an edge at all points in the game, especially economic starbases. eg rather than waste a building slot on your planet to raise approval, just get the approval upgrade on the starbase linked to the planet. -able to finely control research/economy output/dedication on planets individually, but also with the "govern" tab you can do this en mass, saving time. Same applys for upgrading ships, etc. -every planet has an event, which some may find annoying, but I think is good, allows you do add a slight layer of uniqueness to each planet as well as develop your ideology. -its actually more beneficial long terms to dabble in all ideologies to some extent, as long as your primary ideology has most points you wont have an ideological shift. This means you dont have to do the unrealistic option (as in some games with ideologies/religions) and devote 100% to an ideology. This also means, if desired, you can play on the basis of the moral choices involved for events/planets and still do OK in terms of ideological benefit (as opposed to number crunching the statistical/numerical benefits for each choice planet, etc)
Cons - diplomacy at first seems well developed, but that's only for early game. Late game diplomacy is at best, shallow, at worst, buggy. "Benevolent" ideologies seem to hate pragmatic ideologies as much as "malevolent" ideologies, which is silly and means that as a pragmatist, you need to kill anyone else who isn't a pragmatist and can only really form alliances with other pragmatists. This makes a diplomacy victory in a large game close to impossible without a decent military (because you need to kill anyone who refuses to ally with you), which means its always going to be predominantly a conquest based game. --continuing on for diplomacy: enemies will gladly colonise planets within starsystems you have partially colonized and there's no warning to tell them to ♥♥♥♥ off (as in games like CIV 5), and the same for resources. Early game is basically en-mass resource grab if you dont want to be screwed over mid/late game. -pirates/barbarians in 4X games are normally some kind of great equalizer early game to prevent a military/expansion snowball (eg sins of a solar empire, civ, etc), but in this game they're just annoying and dont do much besides kill the occasional scout. also, AI dont appear to be bothered by pirates, so its just a player handicap. -once you start going balls to the walls crazy large military, the game will start glitching out your "military power" parameter, which means for the purposes of diplomacy, one turn later everyone will think you're the weakest, declare war/♥♥♥♥ with you even though you could wipe them out. this also contributes to the impossiblity of a diplomacy victory (without killing loads of people) -terraforming in the incorrect order can cost you between 1-3 tiles per planet, which is a fair amount. eg if you use a higher grade terraformer on a "easy" tile, you wont be able to terraform the "harder" tiles, as late game you can terraform as many "easy" tiles as you like, meaning its better long term to hold off on terraforming until you've researched it fully as it isnt always clear which tiles are "easy" or "hard". -money is weak, it can take anywhere between 5-15 turns to be able to afford to rush construction (pretty much the only use of money, besides upgrading your military ships) whereas focusing on manufacturing allows you to build anything in 1-3 turns. Basically as long as you break even with your economy, you can just focus on manufacturing and research. Its actually usually better to just decommission old ships and build news ones rather than upgrade them (which will make you bankrupt quick if you have a large army) ---In other words with the diplomacy + economy balancing, there is no viable economy based strategy or peaceful based strategy. No matter what, you will always need the strongest military regardless of your intended method of victory (unlike some other 4X games, where you could have an adequate military and with good diplomacy/economy still obtain most victory types you desire). And basically to get the strongest military you need to focus on research and manufacturing. - united galaxies is but a shallow addition to the game, furthermore, if someone ever defies (which is almost always), they are permanently booted, which can lead to the ridiculous situation of having a united galaxy meeting of 2 members, while the other 6-10 races are "defiant" (yet have not formed another united galaxies).
meh features: -culture. you must have decent culture to stop other races culture from "flipping" your planets, it also creates territorial space and (I think) it allows your ships to fly further into enemy space. problem is that if your culture is too strong it flips the planets of other races, including that of your allies. this makes your allies weaker and it entirely possible for them to be wiped off the map (further adding to the difficulty of a diplomacy victory). It also may land you a bunch of crap planets that you dont want to deal with. Fortunately you can give the ♥♥♥♥ planets to the minor races (who are immune to culture flipping)
note: most of these issues dont apply to multiplayer games, this is predominantly a critique of single player. although culture flipping feature will suck when playing co-op with friends.
Do I regret buying the game at full price? a bit am I enjoying the game? yes should you buy this game full price? only if you plan to win/enjoy by conquest every time or if you only care about multiplayer should you buy this game on discount? yes, if it were at 25% discount it would be a good price it should be noted that stardock have a good trackrecord for improving/patching their games post release, so I anticipate that some of these issues I have raised will be gone in the future.
178 of 194 people (92%) found this review helpful 6 people found this review funny
66.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
I preordered this game, and I wish I hadn't. Returning players will find only disappointment; This game is less feature-complete than pre-expansion GalCiv 2 wass. Repetitive events, no espionage, single-minded AI. Even a year later, it's still plagued with bugs, glaring typos and art assets that seem like placeholders.
Stardock have kept their focus on milling out DLC after DLC over solving persistent issues. Some of these cash-in DLC are brazenly based on features which used to be GalCiv/GalCiv 2 gameplay staples. Go play Stellaris instead, or Endless Space.
197 of 222 people (89%) found this review helpful 9 people found this review funny
156.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 6
This game is so good... Too bad it's also pretty bad... :-(
THE GOOD, THERE'S LOTS OF IT!!! - There are campaigns! Like, a real story mode in a space 4X. Awesome. - There are numerous different unique races to play. - Each race has its own very unique characteristics, and its own tech tree. - The aliens are well animated, and engaging. - The graphics are top notch. - The immersion is real. You can roleplay this game, no problem. - The galaxy creation has all the features you want. And you can make it tiny, or large enough to blow your mind. - Discovery is fun! The best part of the game, really. - World building is fun! The second best part of the game. - Empire management is both challenging and fun! - You can design your own ships!
THE BAD, THERE IS A LOT OF IT :-( - Many little things don't work right, and it adds up. For example, if you have multiple ships/fleets surveying anomalies or exploring the galaxy, they will all go for the exact same spot, so you have to micro-manage them, even though there is an "auto" mode - Often when multiple fleets are on the same hex, you will think you have one selected, only it's the other, and you will waste turns fixing movement and action errors; - Fleets will take an arbitrary and often nonsensical path to their destination, and there is no "go through this way" movement. You click and it goes, and you can only hope there is no enemy fleet in the way that it arbitrarily chooses; - During events a screen will pop up and ask you to make decisions that will affect some aspects of your empire, without any way to check your stats before making the decision. So you are forced to decide blindly. - Basically half the interactions are badly implemented and ask you to make decisions without providing any way for you to call up the information in order to make the decision in a way that actually makes sense. - The AI cheats. Blatantly, even on the easiest modes. Get the most technology-favored race, and optimize all your worlds for tech. When you meet even the most tech-unfavored alien race, they will already be WAY AHEAD of you. And so on. - Too many things are completely random. One game I had 5 level 20+ planets (really awesome worlds) while other civs had none, and sparse level 10-12 worlds. Other times it will be the other way around. One time the strategic resources were pretty much absent, but one medium-sized empire had all 7 antimatter deposits in its control area. So basically the game randomly decides who will win before you play the first turn. I would be OK with randomness if the AI played on a level field with the player, but it does not.
CONCLUSION There are so many good points about this game, it makes me want to love it. Yet, there are so many bad points, that this burgeoning love is never allowed to grow. Stardock really *COULD* fix the numerous issues, some of which form a collection of minor annoyances which are only hurting the game due to their numbers. And then there is the AI. It is said that GalCiv2 had one of the best AIs around. I have no idea what they did here, but there is no AI, only cheats.
Bottom line, if you want to play a game where the outcome is decided almost before you start playing, then you should get this game. Otherwise, sadly, I recommend you pass, because you'll be disappointed. Of course, there is also the multiplayer, although I have not tried that.
352 of 433 people (81%) found this review helpful 35 people found this review funny
6,292.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 13, 2015
It is the night before release. I have spent a lot of time over the past 14 months with this game. I loved Galactic Civilizations 2. I had high hopes for version 3. In the last few weeks of the beta things really started to fall in place. If you enjoyed playing GalCiv 2, then this is the game for you. If you enjoy building an empire, exploring and establishing relations with other species, crushing them under your heels, building an economic monster or just spreading the wonder of you then you will enjoy this game. If you enjoyed the ship designing in Galciv 2. You will find the offset and mirroring tools to great additions.
The support through the beta has been first class and they had indicated that they will to produce new content for a long time.
349 of 440 people (79%) found this review helpful 18 people found this review funny
194.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 27, 2015
At this time I cannot in good conscience recommend this game to anyone except the most die-hard space 4x fans. I want to love the game. I really do. I've played it a lot but most of my time has been bug-fixing. Fixing typos, errors, and what can only be described as sloppiness. It feels like I'm beta-testing a game and trying to patch the game myself. I've tried to push through this, but even ignoring all of the bugs and crashes gameplay itself is shallow. Civ5 has much deeper gameplay. GalCiv3's gameplay is just so simple. When you get down to it, past all of the glitter, it feels almost like a mobile game. There just isn't a lot of depth to the game.
If you are a die-hard 4x fan and can't get enough turn based space games, then go for it.
The rest of you? Stay far, far away. GalCiv3 in its current state is a bug riddled, bloated, crashy, unstable mess. Expect your game to crash to desktop without any warning or error messages. Fortunately it has autosave, but there are so many stability problems that you're going to need those autosaves.
To start with, the positives. The game is gorgeous. It looks so very pretty. The ship designer is amazing. You can design almost any ship you want, anything from an Imperial Star Destroyer to one of Starfleet's finest. The level of customization is immense. The game is also very easy to mod as it is based on xml files, so tinkering is easy. All you need is notepad.
Unfortunately I've now finished the list of positive aspects of the game.
The game is riddled with typos, both spelling errors visible in the game as well as typos in the xml files that run the game behind the scenes. Research buildings are flagged as factories. Ship blueprints are poorly written, so that ships will be built with the wrong ship modules or missing vital ship modules entirely. This also leads to a very poorly performing AI because it is stuck with the stock ships. You can design your own ships, and by designing a well balanced ship you will be able to smash the AI.
To make up for this, at high difficulty levels the AI blatantly cheats. This game doesn't have an advanced AI. Its only made challenging by cheating. The AI ignores fog of war. It gets free production, free money, and free science. Its ships get more range and can install more modules than you. It also outright gets free technology every few turns. It needs all of these things to keep pace with a human player, and even then, the AI isn't much of a challenge except for sheer brute force due to cheating.
The AI isn't clever. It appears to pick a random planet to attack. It builds lots of ships and keeps flying it at that planet until it gets lucky. Unfortunately the AI forgets to build any transports on a regular basis, so it has trouble actually capturing planets. Diplomacy with the AI is very limited. You can trade things with the AI and you can declare war/peace with the AI. Thats about it. Want to get one AI to form an alliance with another AI? Can't do it. You can ally with everyone but you cannot broker peace in the galaxy. The AI's diplomacy is also mostly based on power. Do you have the most ships? Everyone loves you. Do you have the weakest fleet out of everyone? Everyone hates you and will declare war on you. Thats about as fancy as the AI gets.
The game is immensely bloated. 6gb of RAM isn't recommended. 6gb of RAM is barely the minimum. The game can use upwards of 5gb of RAM just by itself. Windows is going go use anywhere from 2-3gb of RAM. You need at least 6gb of RAM free. Not installed, but free/unused RAM. So you're looking at 10-12 of installed RAM to properly play this game.
In terms of visuals the game sure is pretty, but its pretty on par with Civ5. Its a turn based strategy game. However the memory usage far exceeds that of Civ5. Your computer may be able to play Civ5 without a hitch, but its going to crawl on GalCiv3. For some reason the game uses vast amounts of system resources (mostly memory) but it doesn't use them efficiently in an way. Expect your page file to get a lot of work. Your virtual memory is just a swap file on your hard drive. This file is going to get a ton of usage due to the memory requirements for this game. Hard drives are very slow things and virtual memory is to be avoided at all costs due to its terrible performance. Well, for GalCiv3, thats just what happens. Expect to chug along, especially if you're trying to play on a bigger map.
Management of your empire in game is also a chore. It chugs along. There is zero macro-management and zero automation. You have to micromanage every single planet, starbase, fleet, and ship in your empire every turn. On a tiny map its tolerable, but on big maps? Its micro management hell. And its not the fun kind of micro management. Its pure busywork. Its pure tedium. Starbases are particularly bad. They require a staggering degree of babysitting. Even planets, if you have a lot of them, get bad. There is no way to automate any planets in your empire. On a big map you might have dozens or potentially even hundreds of planets on the biggest map size. Every single planet must be manually ordered to do everything. Its just not fun. It is absolutely tedious.
That said, negatives aside, the game has a lot of potential, but it feels like I'm playing an early beta build. Its just so rough. The game feels so unfinished. This game is not ready for release yet. Not even close. This is not a finished product nor should it be advertised as one. It hasn't even been optimized yet. It is a bloated, buggy, incomplete mess, but at the same time it is a gem in the rough.
Unfortunately gems in the rough aren't worth much. They need to be polished first. GalCiv3 is lacking any and all polish. For comparison, I'd say that Dwarf Fortress has fewer bugs and is more stable than GalCiv3. Dwarf Fortress feels more polished than GalCiv3.
Thats right. You heard me right.
Dwarf Fortress is a more polished, stable, and bug-free game than GalCiv3.
So if you're a die hard 4x fan and want another 4x game regardless of how unfinished it is, by all means, pick up GalCiv3. Just be prepared to forgive a lot of problems with the game. You're going to have to overlook a lot of issues with the game.
144 of 165 people (87%) found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
148.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 14, 2014
Early Access Review
I was a huge fan of GC2, and purchased the beta several months ago. While the rollout of the beta updates has been slower than I would like, the game is finally at a point where it is playable. It still needs a lot of work and a significant ramp-up of the AI, but I am starting to see the game take the shape I was hoping it would.
Note that I have played every AI difficultly so far.
Feedback for the designers: - The game engine is running well. I rarely see a point where it is just sitting there processing something or slow/clipping. Keep up the good work as everything is added in! - Have the AI place a higher price on their ships. I am able to trade for a enemy ship with cash only and pay FAR less than it would cost me to rush production. The price for a trade or a rush should be a lot closer. This is most evident in the initial survey ship. I find it hilarious that I can quick research Universal Translator and immediately buy everyone else's survey ship by trading open borders and a small amount of cash, leaving all anomylies on the map to me only (which pays back that cash VERY quickly, not to mention the awesome bonuses). - The price they place on their starbases is more appropriate than the ships, but could also be raised a bit (especially mid-to-late game). - Have the AI be more effective when trading techs with each other, and come to the human player with trading opportunities. It is almost laughable that I can "make the rounds" in the diplomacy window every 25 or 30 turns, only trade one of my techs, re-trade everyone else, and end up so far ahead in tech, cash, and ships as a result. - The Ultra-Terraformer is TOO EPIC! If it is that powerful it should cost a lot more of research or the AI should place a lot higher value on that line of research. So far, I have been able to ping-pong back and forth between manufacturing and research techs (keeping tech pace with the other races through trading), then start researching the terraforming line once the majority of my planets have built the majority of their buildings. Once I get to Ultra-Terraformer, the game is essentially over because I am able to build top-tier ships in a single turn due to the manufacturing adjacency bonuses. Another example is that with only 2 economic-centric planets I was able to get a per-turn income of 8K just from those 2 planets; no more need to trade techs...just buy them from the other races! - I'm not certain how the Hyperion Shrinker actually works. The ship designer doesn't allow me to build a design specific to a shipyard (that I can tell), and the help text on the Shrinker seems to indicate that it only affects the shipyard the planet is sponsoring. Am I able to fit in more ship components on my Shrinker planet somehow? Or is the help text just wrong and it actually applies globally? - I have run into many crashes, which have mostly been a result of me trying to perform operations too quickly or taking actions while a turn was running. I assume that these crashes are reported to you automatically, but might it help if you pop'd up a message window on crash where I could explain what I was doing? In many cases, I could almost write the bug report for you because by the 2nd or 3rd crash repeat (loading from autosave) I have a very good idea of what type of (if not the exact repeatable) action that I know caused the crash. - After playing around with the various "Rare, Uncommon, Common, Abundant" settings, I am a bit confused by how the map creator determines what is actually generated. It would be great if you could provide an approximate number of black holes, stars, planets, ratio of habitable planets, etc on the game creation screen so that I could adjust the dropdowns so that the map is created how I expect. My personal ideal map for small and medium sizes consists of 2-3 habitable star systems per race which contain a total of 4-5 habitable planets within the system group. So for 6 players I would want between 12-18 stars with habitable planets and 24-30 habitable planets spread amongst them, but I am having trouble determining how to get the generator to actually create that consistently.
326 of 422 people (77%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
163.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 19, 2014
Early Access Review
When is beta a beta?
When about half of the UI buttons are greyed-out and read "COMING SOON" and your game is missing one of its' major mechanics (the Diplomacy in its' entirety)... Yeah, I'm sorry Stardock, but you don't get to call your game a "beta" yet. Late-alpha at most. Certainly nowhere near beta. When the chance of getting the game running off the bat is something of a 50-50 due to a graphical bug that can render all UI text invisible, you're not a beta. Now, I only recently got into the Gal Civs 3 "beta" but from what I've gathered on the game's forum, that little issue has been around since the last apha build. So there's that to look forward to if you just got the game. The issue's "easily averted" by telling the game to not use your dedicated graphics card. And once you're past that, well then- Welcome to Gal Civs 3: COMING SOON. Ok, I won't rip on an Early Access game for not having all its' features present. But really? "Beta" implies you're "feature-complete". I.e- you've implemented all of the major mechanics and features you intend for your game and are balancing and tweaking them for best effect, along with dusting for the odd bug. The current state of the Gal Civs 3 "Beta 1" is missing all sorts of features. From tactical combat to the above-mentioned Diplomacy mechanic. Instead, once you meet another faction you're immediately considered "at war forever", which makes playing against more than one opponent tricky at best since they will all kinda gang-up on you. Even if they them selves are technically at war with eachother, the AI will much prefer targeting your ships and colonies over other factions'. Targeting ships and other stellar... targets (wow, such vocabulary) in itself is kind of underwhelming since fleets in themselves aren't really a thing yet either. Meaning most of the combat will involve single ships. Winners are auto-determined by a stat-check and apparently nobody bothered telling captains that retreat is an option. The game also seems to have a hard time letting go of its' pre-made ship designs. It generates a "new version" of the stock designs every time you unlock a new technology (even if it had nothing to do with spaceships). What's either sadder or funnier about it (also irritating) is that they're not even slightly different than the previous version it gave you. Unless you've unlocked a new module, that Corvette M1459 will be the same as the Corvette M1458. It just adds the next number up after the name of the design. No, game... I know you spent many a sleepless night over those blueprints but why would I use designs that are inferior to the ones I come up with. That and mine are inspired by Star Trek... Yours look good and all, but again... Star. Trek. (I mean the designer literally has all the parts you need to make your own TOS Enterprise or TNG Warbird.) Speaking of the ship designer. Who's the genious that made the background pitch black and then gave the parts' no lighting effects when viewed from below? I already wear glasses. You're not helping, game... The camera controls are also glitchy at times and somewhat frustrating, but that can be deat with. The designer also fails to tell you what direction is forward. Or to give you a unified indication of which direction you're augmenting a part (dimensions are relative in space). So if you ever wanted to see how the USS Enterprise moves in reverse... You can do that... Other than that, I don't have any major complaints. Some part models are missing thumbnails and the player-made ships don't have thumbnails as well, but at this time, that's a non-issue. The designer is really impressive, quirks aside. Other "reviewers" compare it to the Spore one, since I'm guessing the one from Gal Civs 2 is before their time. But to compare it to its' past iterration would be like comparing a crossbow and a rifle. Although not that graphically advanced, the fidelity of the game's textures is impressive. I can see why they're going for the whole "64-bit development only". And both the devs and I do mean it- if you're hoping to somehow frankenstein this on a 32-bit machine- forget it, the warning at the top of the Steam page is there for a reason. Even the smallest maps available are quite big and the game renders everything at all times. Ship icons on the map are the fully-rendered model of the ship in question, rendered to its' fullest. There can be a dozen black holes on the map, all animated and spinning at all times, as well as stars with planets and moons; and although planets don't spin around their suns (yet?), the moons do. There's also nebulae, dust clouds and asteroid fields, as well as randomly generated wormholes that can be used as shortcuts around the map (if you don't mind not knowing where you'll end up). And everything's always on. For all factions. The game doesn't drop a single model off memory. Which means that A) It runs like a truck. Alt-Tabbing is guresome, albeit not impossible, even when running it in a window. Loading times are also a pain. With optimisation it's probably gonna get better. But then again B) The actual in-game response is really nice. Once everything's been loaded at least once, the only long waits you're gonna have are if you're loading between multiple saves. You'll still get the odd stutter but that's usually when the game autosaves and takes only a second. The technology and ideology trees are vast. Really, really vast. If you thought the "tech-web" from the upcoming Civ: Beyond Earth was staggering... This might just one-up it. While not an "interconnecting web with randomised technologies" and still sticking to the tried-and-true linear tree, each faction gets its' own, separate, technologies with different benefits, increasing the variety available to the player. The whole "age of expansion, war and ascention" thing means that at certain times, different techs will cost more or less turns, depending on what tree they're from. Since the ages actually progress as you research technologies under them, it also means that you can't actually research every single technology (as far as I can assume, haven't gotten to the end yet; will change as I do). The ideology system is equally interesting, albeit as of yet not fully-featured. As you colonise worlds you'll get events with a Pragmatic, Benevolent or Merciless resolution. Each adding to a pool of points you can spend towards some form of passive benefit. That's pretty much all there's to it right now but I'm intrigued at how they advance this feature. And that sums it up, for now. The AI is from what I can tell limited to "expand as much as possible and produce as many ships as possible" which usually means they have control of about half the map by the time you encounter them and from then-on you get regularly assaulted by the stock "bomber" ships of the faction of your choosing, only later, and then still rarely, being "graced" by a larger vessel's incursion. Imagine someone releasing a swarm of mosquitoes that only comes in small waves and you have a bug-zapper and infinite supply of repellant. Not really a challenge unless on higher difficulties but I'm expecting that to change once they add Diplomacy and fully-feature the tactical combat. Other than that, I have nothing else to say about the Galactic Civilisations 3 "Beta". Due to Steam insisting on the "yay-or-nay" system, I'm going to "thumb up" this just because I have faith in the franchise. However. I will insist on what I said in the begining. A "beta" is "feature-complete" and Gal Civs 3 is anything but that. Do not buy into it at its' current version ("Beta 1"/Ver 0.40) unless you're absolutely OK with not having a fully-featured game. As a long-stanging Kerbal Space Program fan, I can deal with that. But you need to answer that question for yourself. Think before you buy.
Addendum: I would strongly recommend the opt-in patch.
602 of 816 people (74%) found this review helpful 21 people found this review funny
124.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2015
I have 111 hours on record as of this review, so I have played it a bit.
Now, I'm sure whomever is reading this is looking at those who do not recommend the game, and take their criticism into effect when committing to purchasing a game. I do that as well. When I say I would not recommend this game, it is not because it is not a good, or even great, game. I absolutely love it. However, this is not a game for everyone. This is not a game most of my gamer friends could get behind, even those who love strategy games. It is far too...exotic, that it almost feels like it strives for a niche market instead of a mainstream game. Thus, I would not 'recommend' it. But, if you are reading this, then you have interest in 4x, grand strategy, or at least some form of strategy games. And in that regard, consider it, at the least. It is one of the most intricate and complicated strategy games I have ever played, from Warcraft to Total War. But I do not recommend it for the following reasons.
1) This game is hard to learn. Or at least quickly. My first few playthroughs on the campaign, I was always beaten, and on a custom game, I was crushed. The learning curve is brutal. It was very oppressing to have enemies invading you with these advanced ships, or with many times your own fleet, because you don't understand the minute specifics of the game. Once you grasp it, it becomes SIGNIFICANTLY easier. But for those whom do not have the patience to learn it, or are just not willing to reduce themselves to learning strategies online, this game will likely disappoint.
2) The A.I. is far too predictable. Now, perhaps it is simply me, but after a few playthroughs, each race had a fairly predictable course of technology and action. Some focused on creating a tremendous amount of influence to make others not hate them, some tried to be great merchants and sell and buy everything, some tried to bully their way into everything. It eventually comes to a point where the game is far more interesting to craft races to combat.
3) Military might is overpowered. Now, I understand why, at least a bit. However, those races that choose the malevolent path, and focus on building the power and size of their fleets, will utterly crush the opposition. Playing on the largest map setting, by the time I had started exploring the galaxy, I found that those who were invading conquerers were plentiful compared to the other paths, as they did not have the means to survive their enemies. This could be overcome by enemies that split their focus a bit, and researched technologies in other trees, but for the most part, opponent A.I. is very singleminded, and thus, only the strong-minded survive.