Galactic Civilizations 2: Twilight of the Arnor

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With the rise of many budget 4x turn based space strategy games, I thought I would give this game a good going over. The launch of Galactic Civilizations 3 is around 6 months away, so I thought it would be ideal to cover this now.

Gameplay:

So, it’s a square (being a sector) grid based game, using top down or angled 3d pixel graphics. Which works in this game, being turn based and limited movements per turn, based on scenario settings and ship component’s you have fitted. Although once you have a few colonies set up and start mass producing colony ships to colonize new worlds the map screen gets a bit tedious, along with the random event screen, the game is replayable as every game is different. Combat is pre-determined based on a set of stats and calculations, and whilst you don’t have much input in combat, the ships you have created in the ship editor will make the difference between win or loose. It is not entirely about all out guns though, as shields, point defence and armour help you to win battles specially when outnumbered. Your ships can only fire at one target at a time, so fitting 20 doom ray and nothing else to a huge hull will just become an expensive firework. Infact, doom rays might sound cool, but multiple ships with disruptors/phasers and weapon boosts are far superior to an overpriced ship with one or two doom rays and a nightmare torpedo. Once you have a large empire, you can build a massive space fleet, and if you place weapon boosts and speed boosts on your ships, your fleet will move swiftly and become more deadly than those that use giant robots with phallic doom rays (search for Galactic Civilizations Battles, first part of a series on Youtube) and you will surely conqure all your enemies. Each race (Terran Alliance, Altarian Resistance, Arcean Empire, Torian Confederation, Yor Collective, Iconian Refuge, Drengin Empire, Drath Legion, Korath Clan, Krux Corporation and a few others I can’t remember) along with the minor races gets their own tech trees, main races get their own ship styles and unique technologies to make a different game when you play other races than Terran or Drengin.

Overall, the gameplay is solid, and whilst some bits are a little tedious, it does not detract from the overall experiance of the game.

8/10

Graphics:

So, this is where the game lacks a little, but I can’t fault it for that. The game is on an engine from 2006, it’s been upgraded in 2008 with newer textures, but due to the limitations of 32 bit OS, and having potentially thousands of custom ships in play, they could not do much in this field. In all honesty though, the game looks good for its age given the genre, and the UI elements are functional, if a little difficult to get used to. There are high resolution graphics mods out there, but you risk crashes due to memory limitations when you have larger empires.

7/10

Sound:

So, the music, it’s atmospheric, dramatic at times but calming in others. Each race gets its own music and compliments the feel of the race and the overall game. As for the game sounds… oh dear… Some weapon sounds are fine. Others are too loud, crackle a lot or don’t fit the weapon type at all. Explosion sounds are good though.

6/10

Multiplayer:

What multiplayer??? Something to look forward to in GalCiv3… hope there’s a skirmish mode…

Overall:

A very good game, with some repetitive bits. A must for strategy fans and space fans. Built for modding with an inbuilt mod selecter and a libary of mods on their own website. Old but gold.

7.5/10, but only because of the graphics and sound.

Written by Steve.

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