I had high hopes for this game. As an old fan of the Total Annihilation franchise, I was looking forward to this revitalization of the universe. The vids on YouTube and the Kickstarter page had me very excited to play. A few of the reviews that I read about buggy graphics were set aside for franchise loyalty. I'm honestly regretting my decision.
The new build was pretty enough, and the different commanders was a nice touch. The first strike against the game was lack of a tutorial/mini-campaign to introduce you to all the new features and the new tactical approaches. I spent about two hours of game play to realize that my opponent wasn't even on my planet. Then, after surviving the initial orbital bombardment, it took another hour trying to figure out how to get from one planet to the next.
I could fogive that. There's always a learning curve in a game like this, right? The fact that the developers put so much thought into the system is actually a redeeming quality. Well, it seems that they didn't put enough thought into it making the game a bit more intuitive. I'll admit that I'm not, primarily, an RTS gamer. I like the genre well enough, But this game actually soured that enjoyment quite a bit for me.
The second strike against the game is that there is no real save option. One of the things about RTS gaming that I enjoy is correcting my mistakes and finally beating that one level that really makes you think. In Skirmish play, saving isn't an issue. However, in Galactic War it certainly is. I spent ten hours, playing an epic "campaign" only to lose against a terribly overpowered opponent. I thought to myself - "Okay. Let's try this again." I really wanted to make the other guy pay for his affrontery. Only, when I went to load from the last save, I couldn't. My loss was immortalized and I'd just lost ten hours of my life that I couldn't get back. To say that I was upset is an understatement.
Okay. So, its a moral lesson. I can almost get behind that. You have to be more cautious in your game play, right? At this point, I'm stubbornly sticking behind the franchise. So much so that I plug another twelve hours into the game. More skirmishes to understand the units, another couple attempts at Galactic War to see if I can actually learn from my mistakes. More caution, more planning...only to be failed left and right by a buggy game and completely imbalanced opponents.
Random tech advancements is all well and good, but when your opponents consistently have access to orbital factories and satellites that rain doom down on your planets, while you're stuck with a measley 1st tier Vehicle Factory and an orbital launcher...well, its not fun to be consistently shut down left and right - no matter how fast you try and get your guys to the other ♥♥♥♥♥'s planet surface. When you take into account the sproadic graphics glitches where the entire map turns to static on a whim, the DLC content that rapes your wallet in the form of buying new commanders and what not, and other corners that were cut...well, I'm sorry...but the franchise is dead to me. It might seem shallow of me, but I'm primarily a story gamer. And while the franchise was always lacking in world building, I had hopes that they were going to do something with this reboot.
There was a lot that I liked, but it wasn't enough to outweigh the frustration associated with the game play in general. This game is for serious vetrans only. People who like fast game play over patient slogging and attrition play will love this. You're always against a clock, and your strategy is constantly having to change. The learning curve is high, unless you spend a few hours on YouTube looking at other people's game play. Even then, you have to be willing to sacrifice hours of play at the whim of whatever code randomizes what your opponent has access to.
I give this game three stars out of ten, and wish that I could get my money back. The developers tried, and it was a valiant effort. Sadly, it didn't deliver. Hope this helps someone else avoid the same frustration.