I agree. I really liked the original Elemental, though I readily admit that it had some significant shortcomings. This game is a significant improvement and tons of fun. Anybody who has lamented about the "dumbed down" strategy games of late really needs to give this one a look.
Indeed a great game. A deep civ-like 4X game that will just keep you coming back for more. It integrates great RPG elements like personalization, level-up perks and quests that never let you get bored like in most civ-like games.