Galactic Civilizations III Review - Space Opera, Strategy, and Excellent Execution

Galactic Civilizations III Review - Space Opera, Strategy, and Excellent Execution

It innovates from prior games in the series, and is undeniably fun, but Galactic Civilizations III isn't the clear leader in a packed genre.

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I think it's interesting to contrast this with yesterday's Star Ruler 2 review.

JonB:
I think it's interesting to contrast this with yesterday's Star Ruler 2 review.

God... Damn...

Why have you done this?

How am I supposed to make this choice?

Too cruel...

Lunncal:

JonB:
I think it's interesting to contrast this with yesterday's Star Ruler 2 review.

God... Damn...

Why have you done this?

How am I supposed to make this choice?

Too cruel...

Choose both! SR2 is not a full price game, it is cheaper!

:D

Yeah, that works too.

Oh gods, I'd spend longer in a ship designer like that than I would actually playing the game. I need to get some more money and fast.

I really need to get around to playing this one. Gal Civ 2 is literally my favorite game ever, so I really want to know whether this one carries the torch well.

I got the founder edition, so I've had access to it for months, but after trying it in alpha I decided I wanted to wait until it was finished.

Krantos:
Gal Civ 2 is literally my favorite game ever

You're in for a treat.

Ok, I've got to ask, can you port over your ship designs from Galciv 2? I spent a loooooong time making all the different classes of Imperial ship from Battlefleet Gothic. It was a nightmare and I don't want to have to do it again.

Also, how does it compare to Galciv2? It looks pretty darned similar, which in a way is good, but other than looking prettier, what reason would I have to buy it instead of just sticking with 2.

Why the article name change? The subtitle used to be "Generic Space Opera, Generic Strategy, and Exceptional Execution."

If I recall correctly, you can queue up techs to research by simply picking a tech you can't research and the game will choose the prerequisites automatically one after another.

Unfortunately, you can't do an arbitrary list of them.

What are the specs of the Escapist's review computers? I'm really interested in the game because like someone else I'm a huge fan of galactic civilizations 2.

JonB:
nor does it do too much unique aside from "bigger"

How much bigger, exactly? For example, you mention that later in the game we could be dealing with "tens of ships", which really doesn't sound very big at all. As I mentioned in a comment on the Star Ruler 2 review, scale is something many space 4X games really seem to lack, and this review doesn't make it sound as though GalCiv 3 is really improving things on that front. Bringing up MOO3 as an example again, that game allowed multiple fights with 180 per side to take place every turn. Not only allowed, but actually required it in the late game against harder difficulties. Having only 10s of ships in total, and having cinematics for building a single capital ship, really doesn't compare.

So are we talking bigger in comparison to other games that can allow hundreds of colonies and potentially thousands of ships, or just slightly bigger than GalCiv 2?

Chronos_Sk:
Why the article name change? The subtitle used to be "Generic Space Opera, Generic Strategy, and Exceptional Execution."

Maybe the subtitle was too generic?

Chronos_Sk:
Why the article name change? The subtitle used to be "Generic Space Opera, Generic Strategy, and Exceptional Execution."

Too long. Broke the site in a few places.

Xan Krieger:
What are the specs of the Escapist's review computers? I'm really interested in the game because like someone else I'm a huge fan of galactic civilizations 2.

I reviewed on my home computer for this one, an Intel i5-330 3.0Ghz, GeForce GTX 660, 8gb RAM machine. It did well, best when installed to the SSD instead of the HDD. The escapist office SLI monster crushed the game, but I don't know the specs off the top of my head.

Veylon:
If I recall correctly, you can queue up techs to research by simply picking a tech you can't research and the game will choose the prerequisites automatically one after another.

Unfortunately, you can't do an arbitrary list of them.

Even if you pick a specific later tech, you're forced to go back in and click that same tech again once you've finished. It'll still pick the next thing on the way... but it's a pain. A fairly minor pain, but a pain!

Kahani:

JonB:
nor does it do too much unique aside from "bigger"

How much bigger, exactly? For example, you mention that later in the game we could be dealing with "tens of ships", which really doesn't sound very big at all. As I mentioned in a comment on the Star Ruler 2 review, scale is something many space 4X games really seem to lack, and this review doesn't make it sound as though GalCiv 3 is really improving things on that front. Bringing up MOO3 as an example again, that game allowed multiple fights with 180 per side to take place every turn. Not only allowed, but actually required it in the late game against harder difficulties. Having only 10s of ships in total, and having cinematics for building a single capital ship, really doesn't compare.

So are we talking bigger in comparison to other games that can allow hundreds of colonies and potentially thousands of ships, or just slightly bigger than GalCiv 2?

So I think "Significantly bigger any other 4X games of this type" is what I'd say. It's a lot bigger than Gal Civ II. You can have a match with a hundred opponents/a half million tiles, but realistically the "large empire" penalty doesn't support that much conquest and your empire will collapse from unhappiness long before you take it all - or you'll easily achieve an alternate victory. I hope that's something the devs will address. On the other hand, late game fights between military powers in any good sized game will have you with a few hundred ships organized into ten or fifteen fleets if you opt for that kind of strategy. In a larger one, I could see having thirty fleets being viable.

If you want goofy, giganto, customizable infinite space scale like MOO3 or Star Ruler 2, this isn't quite the game for it - but it has the craziest scale of any hex-based strategy out there.

JonB:
On the other hand, late game fights between military powers in any good sized game will have you with a few hundred ships organized into ten or fifteen fleets if you opt for that kind of strategy. In a larger one, I could see having thirty fleets being viable.

If there is a major gripe for me to make, it's that dang fleet management.

At some point back in the late 90's, strategy games had hierarchal organization mastered. This was when they leaned heavily on the boring, vanilla Windows interface which, conveniently, had the tree control. You'd click on your chaotic tangle of ships all sitting on the same tile and a window would popup showing all the fleets (and possibly sub-fleets and sub-sub-fleets and fighter squadrons) and which ship was in each one. Do some dragging and dropping and the armada was rearranged.

Heck, I'd settle for something where a bunch of boxes representing fleets popped up (with an empty 'New" one) and be able to drag the icons from one to the other and have the ungrouped ones sitting in a big one on the bottom.

It's hard to forgive the clunky interface in this regard when things have been done so much more smoothly.

Nice seeing some 4X games getting reviewed on the Escapist!
What can I say, I'm a huge fan of the genre and the more reviews the merrier. ^^

Looking forward to possible future review of M.O.R.E and Predestination. ,)

JonB:
So I think "Significantly bigger any other 4X games of this type" is what I'd say. It's a lot bigger than Gal Civ II. You can have a match with a hundred opponents/a half million tiles, but realistically the "large empire" penalty doesn't support that much conquest and your empire will collapse from unhappiness long before you take it all - or you'll easily achieve an alternate victory. I hope that's something the devs will address. On the other hand, late game fights between military powers in any good sized game will have you with a few hundred ships organized into ten or fifteen fleets if you opt for that kind of strategy. In a larger one, I could see having thirty fleets being viable.

If you want goofy, giganto, customizable infinite space scale like MOO3 or Star Ruler 2, this isn't quite the game for it - but it has the craziest scale of any hex-based strategy out there.

Thanks. For some reason I never really got into GalCiv 2, but it sounds like this one will at least be worth a look. I especially like the sound of that "a hundred opponents" part. Not necessarily actually trying to conquer them, but having more than the standard 6 or 7 opponents that most games allow would be nice. I tend towards just shooting everyone and not worrying too much about alternative win conditions in games like this, but I do like the idea of being able to play in a truly huge galaxy where even meeting all the other civilisations is nearly impossible, let alone actually conquering them. As I said above, I'd really like to see more 4X games with a real sense of scale, and it sounds as though GalCiv 3 will probably manage this.

 

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