So I just recently got into Gal Civ III, and I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions based on my first three games. I've been reading a ton of forum and journal posts, and I'm super excited for the passion the developers and community have for this game, so I simply wanted to share.
First of all, and probably most importantly, I really love this game. I'm a 20 year MOO II veteran who has laughably ONLY played MOO II as my space strategy 4x game of choice. I've tried other space strategy games, but always went back to MOO II because of how familiar and fun it was/is. I'm happy to say that after playing Gal Civ III, I won't be going back anytime soon.
To date, I've played through the tutorial and two full games all on the beginner difficulty (yes, I know, it's the lowest, but I'm a beginner at this series, so...yeah). Both games were on a Medium map with five opponents, but I left everything other default setting as is. My first game was me as the Terran Resistance against the Borg, the Romulans, the Dominion, the Galactic Empire and the Klingons (wooo downloadable civs!). My second game was against some of the traditional civilizations, including the other Terrans and the Drengin.
I have a ton I could say, but here are some random thoughts and observations:
- I think the game, for the most part, is pretty easy to get into. Granted, I have played these types of games before, but a combination of the Tutorial and just playing through one actual game made me feel very comfortable for my second and any future games. I freely admit I still don't know the "best" way to play yet, but for the most part I rarely felt overwhelmed or at a loss for what to do.
- This game is SO MUCH FUN.
- I fell into a strategy of focusing on research and economics, out-teching my opponents while building up my cash reserves, and trying to play the friendly civilization whenever possible while slowly building just enough ships to defend my territory. Once I get to the Age of War and Age of Ascension, I simply mass buy the best Mercenary ships, bring along a few transports, and focus on the weaker civs, overpowering them with my vastly superior ships and slowly expanding my territory. Once my tech gets to a certain point, I shift to building my own ships with powerful beam weapons and then go on a mass offensive, focusing only on one civ at a time. Not sure this will work on higher difficulties, but I won both games with this approach, so yay for that.
- In my first game, I wiped out the Galactic Empire's planets, but they managed to escape with one colony ship, so they stayed alive. Later on, when the Borg were crushing the Romulans, the Romulans decided to give all their remaining territory...to the Galactic Empire. They went from no planets to four in the blink of en eye. Very surprising and very cool.
- I have to admit, I find the ship designer very overwhelming and not user friendly for a beginner. I've tried taking the hundreds of ship designs I've downloaded and make my own ships, but I've failed every time. I try to add a weapon on one of the red construction points, only to be told I can't with very little explanation. I go to figure out how to strip the hull, but I can't find any option to do so. All I want to do is take the hulls of some of my favorite ships, add the weapons I've researched, and fly around and blow stuff up, but to date its been an exercise in frustration. I feel like using the ship designer is something that I will eventually understand, but for now I'm stuck using the computer generated ships, which while good enough, they are clearly not optimal.
- For ground combat, I ran into a very strange yet specific issue. When invading, even if I vastly outnumbered my opponent, if I used Quick Battle, I'd lose the majority of the time (I'd save my game then try over and over, and I'd lose 4 out of 5, 5 out 7, etc). However, if I went into the actual mini-game battle itself, the results were almost always what the pre-battle indicated. When I was heavily favored, I'd almost always win, when I wasn't I'd almost always lose, and uncertain battles were toss-ups. I feel like there's a bug or something just not right with the way the game is handling Quick Battle invasions.
- Don't know about anyone else, but I haven't found a good camera view for space battles yet. Top down is too small, and the rest just feel extremely underwhelming. I wish I understood how cinematic worked, but it frequently just does random different angles that often don't provide a good picture of the battle.
In the end, I'm just loving the game. It's the first game in a long time that I can lose myself for a few hours at a time and wonder where the time went. I also really love the developer communication and notes, a lot of which I used to my advantage in learning how to play the game. I'm definitely buying the next expansion, and I'm really looking forward to playing this game for years to come.