Very buggy. Very entertaining. Slow paced. Hmm.

User Rating: 7.8 | Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords PC
Galactic Civilizations 2 is definitely addictive, but has serious problems. It is one of the most bugged games I've had the questionable pleasure of playing. Save games have a tendency to corrupt as you save or _even_ as you LOAD them. Such bugs are severe and it is unacceptable that they are this prevalent in a finished product. Prepare for some serious frustration.

Anyway, apart from the bugs the game is quite enjoyable. You are leading a civilization of choice (terran by default) in a game of conquest in space, not unlike "Civilization". Hence the name I guess. The name of the game isn't the only thing the developer borrowed from another product. "Gold-pressed latinum" sound familiar? There are many such references to in particular Star Trek, mostly in the less-than-serious descriptions of the technologies that you invent.

GC2 is a strategy game almost without a tactical part; battles are a relatively simple affair. There are 4 possible paths to victory: making alliances, cultural conquest, military conquest and a scientific victory, so there is some diversity and replay value there. You're able to (re-)design and equip your own ships, which is a nice feature. Diplomacy can be great at its best. The AI will surprise you at times, however I haven't been as impressed with it as some. It'll still make plenty of stupid/weird mistakes.

The main map could have been better designed as well. There are two main zoom levels, one zoomed in, where you can see all the models in full, and one where the models are replaced by simple icons. The icons however are far and away more informative and I find myself looking at a very dull screen to get the information I want to see.

Something else I noticed: each game appears to be heavily influenced by the first phase of the game; if you come out short there you'll be in for an uphill battle and vice versa.

There are two main ways of playing: starting a free-for-all game in a generated galaxy and a campaign. The campaign unfortunately is a bit too much like the former where some particular starting conditions, such as the size of the galaxy and relations between races, have been set. You will basically start from scratch each campaign mission. It's hard to give a final vedict since I haven't finished it in every way yet, but I'm afraid there won't be more depth than what I've already seen.

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