Galactic Civilizations 3 – Is the Third Time a Charm for Stardock?

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Galactic Civilizations 3
Stardock Entertainment

The evil Drengan Empire had been harassing my outer mining worlds, and eventually began to take some of them over, turning them into slave colonies. Even though they were on the periphery of my vast stellar kingdom, I’d designed my own custom race to deal specifically with these expansionistic foes, and deal with them quickly.

Although I’d played Galactic Civilizations 2 in the past (only a few games to tell the truth) on my old chugging gaming PC (long before the days of 4k gaming), I’d found it rather tedious and monotonous. I did, however, learn enough about the game’s core races to remember the Drengan. They were a race of butt-ugly (aren’t most evil factions ugly?) Orc-like expansionists whose main priority if to take over all other races in the galaxy, and pretty much turn them into vassals.

Courtesy - Stardock Entertainment

Courtesy – Stardock Entertainment

So what had I done for this third (and by far the best) iteration Stardock’s flagship turn-based, 4x, space strategy game? Well, being a filmmaker whose favorite genres are horror and science fiction, I’d created my own custom race of space blobs. Yes, in honor of the Blob movies, I’d concocted shambling slabs of gelatinous goo which had an even more heinous objective; to absorb and eradicate every living thing in the galaxy. I’d be the bigger, more heartless (literally), baddy in the known universe.

Soon, my main military fleet was brought to bear upon the unsuspecting Drengan raiders, and I watched the following battles play out in glorious 4k gaming goodness. They were hardly contentious; the enemy was wiped out in a matter of a few turns.

Little did I know that the dastardly Drengans had been distracting me with their little raids, all the while maneuvering a gigantic armada to one of the weaker flanks of my empire. They struck so suddenly, that I was ill prepared to fend them off, having only a few military star bases and some older, antiquated fleets to protect my planets.

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Courtesy – Stardock Entertainment

As I began to pull back my main fleet, I could see that they had performed advanced space propulsion technology and were advancing toward the inner realms of my interstellar domain with astonishing speed—in a few more turns, they may be in range to strike at my homeworld!

Would my fleet of killer starships be able to make it back in time to save the vestiges of my empire? Just one…more…turn…and…

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The city garbage truck was making its way down my street; I could hear it noisily scooping up trash containers and depositing their contents into its vast confines. I sleepily rubbed my bloodshot eyes in the early morning light…would I stay and defend my carefully managed, beloved race of malevolent space blobs—or go outside and roll my trash containers out so that the lumbering behemoth could pick them up and empty them? Let’s just say that I have twice as much garbage this week that needs to be picked up.

Yes, I blame Stardock for creating this masterpiece of 4x gaming candy that has had me lose track of time, over a solid week of playing their latest space empire builder, Galactic Civilizations 3 (even the title sounds epic). The more I played the game, the more I realized how much more depth there was to it than initially anticipated.

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Courtesy – Stardock Entertainment

For instance, you can decide what size and shape your galaxy will be, how frequent stars and planets will appear in said galaxy, and even how many minor races will be present. Want to create your own race from scratch as I did with my slimy space blobs? Go for it. Want to build your own custom ships? You can do that too. The sheer amount of options available from the outset only compounds when you enter into an actual game. The tech trees are as vast as they are interesting. Should you specialize in missiles, slugs, or lasers? More powerful shields, heavier armor, or more precise point defenses? Faster colonization of nearby planets, or a more robust development of your infrastructure? You can decide all of these choices, and much more.

On somewhat of a downside, I must mention that the space battles are played out automatically, so you feel like more of a supreme leader watching over your ships battling it out, rather than an armchair general, managing fleets. There are also no hero units, such as planetary leaders with governing finesse, or talented space captains whom you could allow to commandeer your more powerful ships. But these are minor gripes, and Stardock has a well established reputation of being very responsive to the wishes of its gaming community. We could very well see these options included in further DLCs.

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Courtesy – Stardock Entertainment

Larger games with numerous star systems will also cause lower and mid-range gaming PCs to chug along (my old gaming laptop sure did with GalCiv 2), while those fortunate enough to possess beefier rigs will enjoy much smoother gameplay. When it comes to its fully developed multiplayer (something GalCiv 2 didn’t have), Galactic Civilizations 3 can take a while to play out, so it would be wise to choose some patient gaming partners. This is not a rush-rush, kill-kill type of game that those with minuscule attention spans will enjoy. Folks who are more strategy minded and enjoy a deeper, richer, gaming experience, will learn to relish what this game has to offer.

Score: 91%

Kane’s Suggestion:

For gamers who really want to get the most out of their Galactic Civilization experience should consider playing it on a more capable gaming rig. Here is one such machine, the Cyberpower Z97 I5 Configurator, which is well suited for reaching the heights of GalCiv 3 gaming nirvana:

 

Also, check out Cyberpower PC for other great options as well.

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