Galactic Civilizations III Finally Gets its Crusade

Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade
Stardock Entertainment

I’m a huge fan of strategy games, and particularly fond of science fiction 4X games. The ability to take up the reins and guide an entire alien (or human) civilization and make that giant leap into the stars is something that has always fascinated me. In some cases, certain space 4X games even allow players to generate his own space-faring civilization using the game’s tools.

Stardock Entertainment has certainly been keeping me entertained for years now. 2008’s Sins of a Solar Empire completely blew me away, so much so that I’m not going to publicly admit how many hours I spent playing it. Since then Stardock has stayed on the forefront of the space strategy genre, putting out such excellent games as Ashes of the Singularity, Offword Trading Company, and of course, 2015’s Galactic Civilizations III.

Galactic Civilizations III, or GalCiv3 for short, lets players helm one of a number of alien species (or create your own custom race) and set off for neighboring planetary systems to colonize and conquer. From there, the game more or less follows the classic 4X formula.

Although I rated the game very highly when it debuted, there were a few niggling issues about it that kept it from being considered a modern classic, at least in my humble opinion. One of those was that its race generation system wasn’t as robust as I’d wanted it to be For example, you still had to use the ship models of other pre-rendered civilizations. Another was that there really wasn’t any espionage within its diplomacy system. I’ve always appreciated strategy gamers that let you utilize spies in order to perform such devious tasks as sabotaging enemy assets or assassinating rival leaders. Lastly, there were no fleet admirals (along with their own individual traits) to place within your naval forces.

Well, Stardock must have been reading my geeky little mind, because all of these issues are set to be addressed in GalCiv3’s second major expansion, titled: Crusade. One of the key elements scheduled to be unleashed are “Galactic Citizens:” “Specialize them as you see fit to be scientists, engineers, diplomats, spies, commanders, generals, and more. Each citizen specialty has its own special abilities that allows you to execute your desired strategy.” Indeed, this new system will go above and beyond what I wanted to see (fleet admirals) in the game, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how it is implemented.

They’re also going to be including a more powerful civilization generator that will give players the ability to either choose from thousands and thousands of user-created designs, or create their own ship designs using Crusade’s vast ship part selection. This promises to give players the option of designing ships that look and function how they want them to.

But probably one of the biggest surprises of the batch (at least for me) was news of the upcoming expansion’s new-fangled planetary combat system. Surprisingly, space games are usually notorious for lacking any sort of planetary invasion mechanics. Stardock looks to fill the gap by offering players the ability to deploy their combat forces down onto hostile planets, and then utilize the expansion’s new “Interactive Invasion” system—effectively letting them control every aspect of the planetary conflicts, such as where to initially deploy their armies.

Additional changes to combat mechanics, improved graphics, AI, a new resource system, and more goodies are planned as well. These changes foreshadow the potential for more emergent storytelling opportunities. “Being a future-history game, players create their own stories each time they play. The game also includes a story-driven campaign of just one of infinite possibilities for Earth’s future in the 23rd century.”

Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade looks to be another beast of an expansion, jam-packed with game enhancing elements that will hopefully transform the existing game, and bring it up to a whole new level. Crusade is expected to be due out this spring and will retail for $19.99. I, for one, am looking forward to its release.

Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade looks to offer some excellent visuals that suit its space theme. However, you’ll have to have a fast gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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