Galactic Civilizations III is the largest strategy sandbox ever made. Start with a single world and expand across the galaxy through diplomacy, trade, cultural hegemony or military conquest in this single-player or multiplayer 4X strategy game. How will you rule your galaxy?
User reviews: Mostly Positive (1,090 reviews)
Release Date: May 14, 2015

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Recommended By Curators

"More of a refresh than expected, but still hands down the best modern way to conquer unknown space."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (38)

May 21

Galactic Civilizations III v1.01 Available

The first post-launch patch for Galactic Civilizations III is live, bringing custom faction support to multiplayer, adding several Steam achievements, and fixing high-priority bugs.

The upcoming 1.1 patch, due out in the coming weeks, will add Steam Workshop support among other things.

Read the full patch notes here:

Thanks for your support, and happy conquering!

11 comments Read more

May 19

Galactic Civilizations III v1.01 Opt-in Available

The first post-launch patch for Galactic Civilizations III is now available on an opt-in basis. This patch enables custom races in multiplayer and fixes various data bugs and crashes.

Read the full patch notes here.

To enable the patch, do the following:

  1. Select Galactic Civilizations III in your Steam Library list
  2. Right-click and select Properties
  3. Select the BETAS tab
  4. From the dropdown, select opt-in and click Close (if you don't see this option, restart Steam)
  5. Steam should pull down the changed files; if you ever want to go back, do the same as above but select default
Thank you for your support, and happy conquering!

7 comments Read more

Reviews

“The new gold standard in 4X space strategy”
9/10 – GameWatcher

“Such a wealth of victory conditions and customization options that the experience feels new with every playthrough.”
8.6/10 – IGN

“A mix of familiar mechanics and new ideas that can keep both fans and newcomers occupied for a frighteningly long period of time.”
9/10 – Softpedia

Design your own ships!

About This Game

Galactic Civilizations III is the largest strategy sandbox ever made. Start with a single world and expand across the galaxy through diplomacy, trade, cultural hegemony or military conquest in this single-player or multiplayer 4X strategy game. How will you rule your galaxy?

CORE FEATURES:

  • Never the same game twice: Play in the ultimate sandbox where each game has a unique map, unique worlds and new challenges to face.
  • Multiple paths to victory: Win through military conquest, cultural domination, technological ascension or political alliance.
  • Story-based campaign: Galactic Civilizations III includes a campaign that brings players up to date on the 20-year story arc behind the rise of humanity in the 23rd century.
  • Massive technology tree: Research a technology tree with immense breadth and depth. Player choices determine the capabilities of their civilization.
  • Custom ship design: Players have total control over how their starships function as well as how they look. Any ship you’ve ever imagined can be created or downloaded.

NEW TO GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS III:

  • Massive scale: The new, 64-bit, multi-core engine increases the number of possible opponents from 16 to 128 with a similar explosion in maximum map sizes.
  • Ideology: Player actions advance their empires down the path of various ideologies, which unlock unique abilities, planetary improvements, and other bonuses.
  • Multiplayer: For the first time, Galactic Civilizations is a multiplayer game with full support for custom civilizations, saved multiplayer games and much more.
  • Unique technology trees: Players can play as any of the eight major galactic powers (or design their own), each with their own unique technology tree, ships, colony improvements and abilities.
  • Faction Creator: To encourage massive gameplay, the game includes a faction creator that allows players to create a civilization with its own look, ships, technologies and even options for how the AI will use them.
  • New Battle System: Players assign their ships specific roles to play in combat. You can now view fleet battles in a cinematic style to see your designs in action.
  • New Colony Manager: The location of a planetary improvement now matters. Adjacency bonuses and planetary resources make a major impact on what a planet is strong (or weak) at accomplishing.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: 64-bit Windows 8.1 / 8 / 7
    • Processor: 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo / AMD K10 Dual-Core
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB DirectX 10.1 Video Card (AMD Radeon HD5x00 Series / Nvidia GeForce 500 Series / Intel HD 4000 or later)
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 12 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
    Recommended:
    • Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor or Equivalent
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1 GB DirectX 10.1 Video Card
    • Hard Drive: 15 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
211 of 255 people (83%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
995.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 18
My review could be different than most because I am going to review Stardock first and the game second.

Many games I have bought in the past I had no idea what I was getting in them, and what I was not.

I love Gal Civ 2 and when I heard Gal Civ 3 was going to come out I became a founder, why? because I wanted to see the development of this new Gal Civ game. So, I watched all the podcasts and read all the release notes. I watched features come and go and learned why from the developer himself. They were very transparent in everything they did and included in the game, they talked about its future and all that they had in store in DLC and just plain patches.
I have read a lot of peoples reviews claiming the Apha was a brick and condeming it in the early reviews, the problem to me on this, was that Stardock said it was a brick.
Stardock always in all its states of the game told the buyers long before the game came out the state it was in. Yet the reviews that said don't buy this game kept coming up on steam.
For some reason all the Statements that kept saying Stardock was ripping people off and not telling the people what kind of game they would be purchasing was 100% not true.

I suggest before you buy this game watch the streams, read the posts on the Stardock site and understand just what kind of game you are buying.
If you do this like I did there will be no disappoinments and you will enjoy the game for exactly what Stardock says your gaming experience will be.

Now My game review
First I will tell you the type of gamer I am . I play my games solo against the AI, never multiplayer so you will not see any thing about that mentioned in my review. I like immersive games and love the graphics, 3d , textures and partical effects in games. I zoom in and out to see details, in the games , I don't do quick moves, my graphics settings are the highest, I watch all my space battles and I like grand strategy , turn based games.

While many Companies are trying to stop modding, Stargate is welcoming it, though I am not a hardscale modder that alone gets my approval

Cinema Graphics, the opening and the Campaign opening gets you ready to start playing the game and for once the massive fleets you se depicted in the cinema graphic inserts can be at your command and Stardock takes it further in the campaign the opening cinema makes you hate the Dregin (again this is only if you play immersive ) and want to kill every one of them, in the cinema you see, the pocket universe fleet emerge and you say wow what power and unlike many games that don't live up to or even come close to there cinema story , Stardock hands you that pocket fleet in your first mission and tells you to go destroy Dregin, Then they give you a spectacler battle viewer to watch it all unfold.
Missles streak across the screen, to be shot do by anti-missle systems, then beam weapons fire, and as the range closes, mass throwers throw projectiles into there victims, or they just bounce of the protective armor. Engine trails light up the screen, tiny to massive explosions dot the screen, there is no retreat in Gal Civ 3 only victor and loser. You can click on any ship for its vital information or slowly watch your fleet indicators turning from full strength to red while the top bar counts down you ships left in the fleet vs the enemies.
You can rewind and watch the battle again change the Camera view and watch it again.

Races available for play: There are less races for gal civ 3 then there were in Gal Civ 2 and Stardock explained this as the races appropriate for this story line, and Gal Civ 3 is more story based than Gal Civ 2. Stardock says that eventually the same races in Gal Civ 2 will be introduced as expansions with their further developed stories, but Stardock has included something to make your own story in the vast Gal Civ 3 universe a custom Race creator.

Here is my brief experience and out come using that tool. I decided to make an insect based race based of a picture I found in the race image library , I named the race its leader and all its drive and motivations very quickly in this tool, I wrote quick back story for flavor and after about an hour I had a race that I felt was very mantis bug like and put it into the game. So far it is one of the toughest un-yielding races I have ever run into, so once people get there custom races onto steam you can imagine all the possibilities Stardock has put out there to experience using this tool.
facing up too 100 different races with player written back stories will be quite exciting. My mantid race for instance will be quite a challenge.

Ok now onto building the universe to play in, from the development stream Stardocks goal was to make this game massive and if your computer can (and thank the maker mine can handle it) the amount of size and detail to their universe is mind boggling. There are so many different options of, size density, clusters, minor races, artifacts, richness, and the list goes on that you control or just through caution to the wind and put it all on random.

Now your victory conditions, there are about 6 victory conditions you can turn off or on , some , one or all I like to play with all my self , but if you are a warmonger conquest can just be turned on but just remember all the races AI will change to a conquest intelligence and races that were usually peaceful in nature will have no choice but conquest. Of course to me there is nothing more annoying than the count down victory of an ascension victory for another race way across the galaxy.

OK now the game builds the insane galaxy and I usually choose spiral to make it more like the milky way. On my computer it take about a minute to make it . Then poof lots of black and your home world, if your Terran its very familiar if not its a whole new experience. I no matter how many times I have played zoom all the way in and checked out my stars, planets, nebula's and ships, when you zoom in all the way you also get the ambient sound and hear the swirl of the nebular, the roar of the suns , with headphones of good quality the back ground noise is amazing, when you move your ships and the engines cut in with sound and trails to me its like sipping a good glass of wine, and the ships the default ships are amazing but Stardock throws in a custom ship builder so if you want the Terran,s to be the Federation from that famous TV and movie series and if you are a terrible ship builder , other people can build the ships and you can bring them into your game. Gal Civ 2 had the ship builder as separate interface right of the start screen and in this version you have to be in game to use it , many people in there reviews act surprised at this but again Stardock said they were going to do it and why and they also said in a future patch they would try to tab it the way it was in 2 but that the new way they handle the builder it is easier said then done. Now to me when a company says this is what they are doing and why , I am not surprised when I open 1.0 and the tab is gone.

The tech tree, again all the reasons why they did what they did was explained by Stardock so no surprises to me and its fully mod-able, it has nice pull downs with lots of information, I can see for meta gamers it to be way too clunky but for immersive gamers like me I spend a lot of time in the tech tree.

The planet screen, when you first start out you have few choices and they are important ones , but this is not a tutorial this is a review. The interface is loaded with info, probably to much for a meta gamer but great for me , again I check out everything from top to bottom , and many complaints i read in the forums about planetary invasion as an example, I laugh to my self and think how do you expect to throw off an invasion, without planetary defenses installed on your planet? This interface is a very common sense interface.

At the text length limit.
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97 of 112 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
68.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 19
General features (can be viewed as pros):

-Race customization is fairly detailed
-Ship designer is good, even better because you can use pre-existing models and modify them to your own tastes
-Certain resources are linked to certain celestial bodies eg antimatter surround black holes, elerium in nebulae, etc. So a savvy player, upon seeing a nebula knows to explore it fully incase there is elerium and that a black hole is likely to have some antimatter surrounding it.
-powerful resources like antimatter are more limited, but using them is non-destructive so there wont be buyers remorse, ie you'll get the resource back if you destroy the building/ship that uses it. This also allows you to use resources early in buildings tech, and then recycle it when a better option arrives, meaning that a player who can manage his resources well will do better than one who just holds onto resources until a "top tier" usage for them is unlocked.
-massive maps are possible, so with the right settings it doesnt feel like a "small" galaxy or that you're running out of space (until late game)
-starbases used intelligently can give an edge at all points in the game, especially economic starbases. eg rather than waste a building slot on your planet to raise approval, just get the approval upgrade on the starbase linked to the planet.
-able to finely control research/economy output/dedication on planets individually, but also with the "govern" tab you can do this en mass, saving time. Same applys for upgrading ships, etc.
-every planet has an event, which some may find annoying, but I think is good, allows you do add a slight layer of uniqueness to each planet as well as develop your ideology.
-its actually more beneficial long terms to dabble in all ideologies to some extent, as long as your primary ideology has most points you wont have an ideological shift. This means you dont have to do the unrealistic option (as in some games with ideologies/religions) and devote 100% to an ideology. This also means, if desired, you can play on the basis of the moral choices involved for events/planets and still do OK in terms of ideological benefit (as opposed to number crunching the statistical/numerical benefits for each choice planet, etc)

Cons
- diplomacy at first seems well developed, but that's only for early game. Late game diplomacy is at best, shallow, at worst, buggy. "Benevolent" ideologies seem to hate pragmatic ideologies as much as "malevolent" ideologies, which is silly and means that as a pragmatist, you need to kill anyone else who isn't a pragmatist and can only really form alliances with other pragmatists. This makes a diplomacy victory in a large game close to impossible without a decent military (because you need to kill anyone who refuses to ally with you), which means its always going to be predominantly a conquest based game.
--continuing on for diplomacy: enemies will gladly colonise planets within starsystems you have partially colonized and there's no warning to tell them to ♥♥♥♥ off (as in games like CIV 5), and the same for resources. Early game is basically en-mass resource grab if you dont want to be screwed over mid/late game.
-pirates/barbarians in 4X games are normally some kind of great equalizer early game to prevent a military/expansion snowball (eg sins of a solar empire, civ, etc), but in this game they're just annoying and dont do much besides kill the occasional scout. also, AI dont appear to be bothered by pirates, so its just a player handicap.
-once you start going balls to the walls crazy large military, the game will start glitching out your "military power" parameter, which means for the purposes of diplomacy, one turn later everyone will think you're the weakest, declare war/♥♥♥♥ with you even though you could wipe them out. this also contributes to the impossiblity of a diplomacy victory (without killing loads of people)
-terraforming in the incorrect order can cost you between 1-3 tiles per planet, which is a fair amount. eg if you use a higher grade terraformer on a "easy" tile, you wont be able to terraform the "harder" tiles, as late game you can terraform as many "easy" tiles as you like, meaning its better long term to hold off on terraforming until you've researched it fully as it isnt always clear which tiles are "easy" or "hard".
-money is weak, it can take anywhere between 5-15 turns to be able to afford to rush construction (pretty much the only use of money, besides upgrading your military ships) whereas focusing on manufacturing allows you to build anything in 1-3 turns. Basically as long as you break even with your economy, you can just focus on manufacturing and research. Its actually usually better to just decommission old ships and build news ones rather than upgrade them (which will make you bankrupt quick if you have a large army)
---In other words with the diplomacy + economy balancing, there is no viable economy based strategy or peaceful based strategy. No matter what, you will always need the strongest military regardless of your intended method of victory (unlike some other 4X games, where you could have an adequate military and with good diplomacy/economy still obtain most victory types you desire). And basically to get the strongest military you need to focus on research and manufacturing.
- united galaxies is but a shallow addition to the game, furthermore, if someone ever defies (which is almost always), they are permanently booted, which can lead to the ridiculous situation of having a united galaxy meeting of 2 members, while the other 6-10 races are "defiant" (yet have not formed another united galaxies).

meh features:
-culture. you must have decent culture to stop other races culture from "flipping" your planets, it also creates territorial space and (I think) it allows your ships to fly further into enemy space. problem is that if your culture is too strong it flips the planets of other races, including that of your allies. this makes your allies weaker and it entirely possible for them to be wiped off the map (further adding to the difficulty of a diplomacy victory). It also may land you a bunch of crap planets that you dont want to deal with. Fortunately you can give the ♥♥♥♥ planets to the minor races (who are immune to culture flipping)

note: most of these issues dont apply to multiplayer games, this is predominantly a critique of single player. although culture flipping feature will suck when playing co-op with friends.

Do I regret buying the game at full price? a bit
am I enjoying the game? yes
should you buy this game full price? only if you plan to win/enjoy by conquest every time or if you only care about multiplayer
should you buy this game on discount? yes, if it were at 25% discount it would be a good price
it should be noted that stardock have a good trackrecord for improving/patching their games post release, so I anticipate that some of these issues I have raised will be gone in the future.
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273 of 372 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
31.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 16
Don't bother until a price cut and inevitable DLC.

Poor job Stardock. Very poor job. I'm enjoying it because I love Galactic Civilization 2. I'm winning on my first game because I know how to play Galactic Civilization 2.. It's the same freaking game just with a 3 on the end.

Why is there no innovation? Why am I paying $50 for a game that has no significant improvements from Galciv 2? Why are things that were IN galciv 2 missing if it was supposed to be a faithful sequel?

You had ten years and you rehashed the last game pretty faithfully. Well rehash isn't the right word. You released the same game with glaring holes for dlc to fit in. Where's the experience system for ships or espionage? Less races to pick from. Half the things like ship designer are mostly cut and paste from galciv 2. Why can't I set taxes?

They missed so many opportunities and offered in most ways an identical game with some parts cut out.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
126 of 170 people (74%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 16
Not in love with this game at launch. It's not a bad game. It just isn't exceptional. Ship building is bugged currently. The game itself froze up on me a few times but after a fresh install seemed to run better. It still stutters at times, even on the small tutorial map. Combat is uninteresting. You have no capacity to command your units, not even to flee. So you send your guys in and hope for the best. Worse, the combat camera is fairly horrible and you spend a lot of the time listening to battles happening off screen. It's a bit chaotic.

I have read that diplomacy is a greatly improved in this game. If so I didn't see it. In the two games I have played so far my allies seemed fairly erratic, almost like a crazy person you find yourself dating after an online hook up. One minute they threatened to obliterate me for not following their doctrine. The next minute they are showering me with credits as though they feel badly about how they acted and are desperate for you not to leave them.

If there is colony management automation I couldn't find it. Managing your economy is a matter of moving a slider. Again, not bad. Just not interesting.

The Universe in the couple of games I have played seems fairly lifeless. At first black holes look really neat. But there are no civilian ships to be seen. No convoys. Besides some basic animation of a moon orbit or the odd comet it seems like you are looking at a stagnate game board. Again, not bad per say. Just not interesting.

Towards the end of the games I found myself clicking a lot to just shuffle through turns so I could finally get to the tipping point of overwhelming my enemy. This involved stripping his final system of defenders and then doing a sort of auto resolution troop invasion. Then a wall of exposition and a victory screen. It was around this point that I realized that finishing the game had been more work than actual fun.

There may be a solid core of a good game here that can be greatly improved upon with further patches and DLC. But for $10 more you can buy Distant Worlds Universe. With a bevy of mods that make it a living breathing universe. Or just play some Gal Civ 2. Or Sins of a Solar Empire. I do not recommend dumping $50 into Gal Civ 3 at present. It needs a lot of work.
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55 of 66 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
34.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 18
Okay so I have about 22 hours under belt so I am going to weigh in here. While I owned and played a good deal of GC1 and GC2 they were always so/so to me. I enjoyed them and got my money out of them but they never really engaged me as much as I would like to have been able to say that they did. GC3 so far is holding my fancy though pretty good. It has some flaws, the AI like most 4X games sucks at diplomacy. The biggest sell to me is the HUGE maps. I like games that go into the 500-1000 turn range and this game has that in spades with the larger maps.

The game does suffer from some CTD (Crash To Desktop) from time to time but that is when I am on huge and larger maps, and it is somewhat expected with a new game. The CTD haven't really hurt my progress as I save often but they could cause someone to be upset if they don't save enough.

One bad thing is that Stardock is clearly in the game for the long haul and has plans to release DLC and expansions regularly. This is a plus and minus. I like a steady stream of content but there are some things that I feel like were left out of the game just to be an easy sell later on like Spies and other races. This isn't a huge deal though as I am a game collector and I don't mind decent DLC/expansions. I spend a small fortune with games like Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis IV so I am used to this sort of deal. However if you want a full experience I would suggest waiting later and picking up the game in a few years (if you can wait that long) for a complete edition at a sale price.

But if you enjoy the genre and don't mind having to pay as you go for features to be added here and there the game is worth the money.
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91 of 125 people (73%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
37.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
Well I bought the game yesterday and I am a big 4x fan but donot have any experience with Galactic civilizations games, And at the moment I can not recommand the game without any objections.
But first I'd like to talk about the positive things in the game:
1. The races: they differ from each others, and have traits, which make sense and have impact on the game mechanic, but not so much, that I can say, that specific trait(s) is/are overpowered. But I think the old Master of Orion is still somehow ahead of it.
2. Ship design: although I am to lazy to play the ship designer, I believe there are people out there having huge fun with it. and customize their ships to every little detail.
3. Fleet command: you can order specific ships to a rally point or set a rally point for newly build ship from a single or all shipyard quite fast. That make your ships better to organize.
4. Techtree: You got "normal techs" everyone can search but you have "specializations" which you have to choose from three, and the other two you can not research but trade with other players. which make every gamerun somehow different. But unlike "Endless Space" you do not have race specific research.
5. limited building lot on planet represent the quality of planet. on a "Paradise" planet you can build like 15 buildings and on a "barely habitable planet" only 4, sure terraforming can change it quite a bit, but not like other 4x games each terraforming research you do only let you terraform 1!!! tile (in the early-middlegame) and you have to research further terraforming research to convert more.
6. adjacent effect of buildings: If you build more fabrics together, they get bigger bonuses and a embassy boost the market places around it. So you have to plan your buildings ahead and for example leave a space in the middle of a big industry complex for let we say a refinery or a power plant to hugely boost its output.
7. last but not least the really special thing I realized: The spacestation: unlike other space 4x games, you customize your space station with modules and well a "ring" around it (just like DS9) the ring is limited to 1 per station and determine which additional modules you can further install into a station. For example you can not build a culture modul into a station with a mining ring. And not only are station used to protect your boarders, they give moderate bonuses to planets around as well.

From my point of view, I have seen all these positive facts expect point 7. somewhere else, but it make sense to combine them, it make the gaming experience rich and complex. But now I have to talk about the negative facts:

1. The game do not really feel finished, from my opinion it is a late beta version. the descriptions of technology you research is a total mess: everywhere you see like, "maintenance -10%" you think great, it gives you a flat bonus of 10% on every building. WRONG: you have to look carefully and read the flavor text of the tech to see, it's only specific to "commerce building" or "research building" and there are still bugs while the symbol of a bonus don't match it description. and there are thing like the technology "industrial specialization" which gives you "manufacturing cost -5%" and another "manufacturing cost -5%" so is it 10% or is it only 5% and there is a bug? And in general the game do not tell you in a intuitive way. For example, I still do not know how my raw production and raw manufacturing/research and net income is calculated. So 1 or 2 more months is needed to get rid of some of these and make other things clear I hope.
2. "Planet potentials" you know your planet is class 16 with 16 tiles you can build on, but how far can it get? my capitol can only be terraformed to class 18 and another to class 24. So it's kind of a pocker, how good your planet can get.
3. Terraforming: It is not really clear that there are different "terraformable tile quallity" --> salvageable, decent, less, and almost useless quality. the tech "terraforming plant" f.e. can be used on salvageable and decent tile, but keep in mind, that in the late game you can terraform all salvageable tiles but only ONE!!! decent tile. So you will "waste" your "terraforming plant" if you use it inefficiently.
4. No Espionage. What shall I say, I read about that GC2 had it and GC3 will get it per Addon...
5. Culture/border/spacestation: If you are a highly cultural race, you will push the enemy border back and take over their planet, but not their spacestations, in fact AI stations will continue mining your precious resources and you can't do anything not even build your own one next to it or buy it from AI, you have to blow it up. And on top of that, AI at peach even build station actively in your territory, that make it more difficult to play cultural race.

So from my point of view, this game is really nice, but at the moment, things are still not final, that's why I do not recommend it to everyone interested. Wait a few month, there will be a discount on price and the game will be "hopefully" more finished.
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54 of 73 people (74%) found this review helpful
31.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
Seems unfinished. I'm getting an issue where the whole screen just goes black except for the mouse cursor, and the music continues playing. The only way to fix it is to restart and unfortunately it happens often.

I am excited about the possibilities of 64-bit gaming, and I'm glad Stardock went this route.

I love the GalCiv games but don't buy this one just yet. I would've held off on spending $50 if I had known that this many bugs were still present.
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56 of 80 people (70%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
19.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
Despite really needing that game to be awesome, because I need a good modern 4x space game (Endless Space doesn't count, I already spent too much time on it), I really can't recommend that game.

Let me be clear on that : the game is OK or even Excellent on several points. Some nice ideas, alright to brilliant visuals, nice tunes, OK diplo, etc. But the game design... dude... This is a nightmare. The kind that slowly, creepily, haunts you at night.

So for starters that game is ultra slow. If you like your 4x turns to take about 30s to 1min, then this game is alright. But if you want one full game to last less than 30hrs, then this game is NOT for you. Pacing is always a big issue in designing a 4x game (as Jon Shafer explained in a couple of great articles), and this game is proof. I remember ranting about Civ 5 taking too long to complete even on Fast setting, but this... See, at the time I'm writing this review, I'm clocking about 20hrs of game time. That's 1 tutorial and 2.5 campaign missions. Thing is : the tutorial took half of that.

Why this game is slooooow isn't a computing problem (I've got a nice machine, turn goes by without even noticing a slowdown, everything goes fast), it's a game design problem. The perfect recipe for a 4x game is when you have much things to deal with at each and every turn. Meaningful and interesting choices if possible (yes I'm talking to you Pandora). Is Galactic Civ III, turns went past me by the dozens just because everything is this game take 20-30 turns to happen. I soon realized that every single strategic choice I was making was to improve the rate at which things where building JUST to push the damn game forward! That wasn't a real strategic choice, that was just a comfort choice, so I could make something happen in the game under 6 hours.

When you end up fighting the game rules to speed up things, something went wrong...

For instance : you have a build queue on every planet you have. Great. Alright. Buildings and ships are built that way. They all cost a certain amount of "Manufacture" (Prod) and conveniently, your planet generates "Manufacture". If a building needs 45Man and you produces 15Man a turn, it takes 3 turns to complete the building. Right?
Now if you have three buildings that all cost 15 and you build them on a planet that produces 45 a turn, how much turn do you need to produce all three of them? One? WRONG. You need 3 turns. Because it doesn't push unused "Manufacture" to the following builds to the point it can build multiple things at the same turn. so even if you get a planet with 150Man a turn, and a bunch of buildings each costing around 45-60 Man, you will NEVER build more than 1 building per turn.

So a build queue that could have taken 3 turns, ends up taking 10-15 turns... for nothing!

So of course, every turn, you have something new to deal with : "Hey! here's a new building we could have built 6 turns earlier, we just wanted you to know we don't give a damn! And NO you don't have anything to do with it, this is just a message filling your log that you can't do much about!"

So much for a good 4x recipe...

That's just an example of how the game makes you go mad. Here are a few others :

- Ships are put into Fleets, Fleets have a maximum size measured in "Logistics". Each ship in a fleet costs part of this "Logistics". You can have Logistics reduction on ships so that they end taking less room in the Fleet so that you can put more of them. The problem is that "Logistics"stat is stored in a decimal value (but displayed as a integer value). So you end up with Ships costing 1 Logistics that cannot join a Fleet of 28/29 Logistics... because ♥♥♥♥ you.

- Some technologies (Specialisations) expect a choice from you. Most of them have 3 possible choices, mutually exclusive and definitive. Some of them won't go with your plan, some others will exactly fit your master plan. Turns out these techs are available for diplomatic trading, but since each Specialisation choice is a separate tech, you may end up earning a Tech that you didn't choose based on the fact it was a exclusive choice. Such technologies won't appear as "Specialisation" tech in the trading screen. Now you're stuck with the strategic choice of another civ... because ♥♥♥♥ you.

- The Ship Designer is a complex and rich piece of software that lets you assemble, scale, rotate, fiddle with, even ANIMATE ship parts in a very, very, very profound way. You may end up spending countless hours designing splendid vessels to contemplate ingame. The same goes if you ever want to build a working useful ship. There is no "Just give me a ship with Defense AND Attack please" button. There is no "Just fit my ships with what they need, even if it's not perfectly optimized just build them" button. But there IS a core listing of ships that the game provides for starters... but these ships are only complete and in working order when you research some specific Technologies first. You can build them, fly with them, but they'll only be of any use if you get to those techs. But it WON'T TELL YOU WHICH ONES... because, again, ♥♥♥♥ you.

- The planet screen lets you place buildings on its available tiles. The basic buildings all have multiple upgrade buildings (better versions of the latest) that you build on-top of them. At any given point, if you have the technology to build an upgrade version of an existing building on the map, it will show on the list of available buildings that you may place and build... but you can't place them anywhere you want because they only appear there so that you are reminded that some of you buildings may be upgraded (which is already the whole point of having a big "up arrow" on top of those buildings with an "Upgrade" button next to them). So it is just there to further dwell you into madness and anger... because ♥♥♥♥ ergonomy. Anyway, who cares about ease of use nowadays?!


This game is a pain in the ♥♥♥ to play. I needed this game to be great, so I kept playing, and playing until something happened to make me love it, but it kept striking me with stupid UI design, bad pacing job and worst game design flaws that absolutely forbid this game to earn its legacy's reputation.

This game doesn't need a patch, it needs to be remade correctly.
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59 of 87 people (68%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
30.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
I cannot recommend this game at this time, for several reasons.

First of all, it is an incomplete game, lacking espionage functions, politics, and even the ability to create random opponents in the random map generator. These and other missing aspects of any decent 4X game will be sold at a later date in expansions. In the end, this game will cost you over $100 just to get what it should have in the base product. I do not like this trend in some games we are seeing, where an incomplete game is sold for full price as though it were a finished product, and then over the next months and years, the game is finished and released at extra cost.

Secondly, this game is not a third installment, but more like a 2.5 installment. If you played GC2, you have already played this game. Almost everything is exactly the same as its predecessor. Once more, planets have no moons we can exploit, dead planets cannot be mined or otherwise used, black holes and nebulas, are little more than space walls that impede traffic (apparently in space, there is no 3D travel allowing us to fly under or over these obstacles), asteroids belts cannot be mined, either.

Planet development is the same as GC2, with random tiles conferring random bonuses. There are no telescopes in this game, so we cannot know what the universe looks like, what planets are like, what stars have planets, etc. until our scout ship (or some other vessel) goes there.

The races are generic and dull. Apparently, in the galaxy all races breath the same air as we do here on earth, prefer the same atmosphere and climate, and want the same gravity. The race creator is as uninspired as the races themselves, being a rather shallow system where you get to pick from a handful of options to create a not all that unique race. There is no high gravity races or worlds, no aquatic races, no radiation races, nor anything else unique. The races are more like different groups of humans than species who have evolved on different worlds, except for the fact that they look rather alien (mostly). Think of the races as humans, and humans wearing costumes.

The tech tree is as imaginative as the races. Generic is the word to use here. None of the tech is interesting. There are no fascinating tools like shields that extend over other ships in your fleet for instance. Just a series of faster engines, a series of stronger missiles and bullets and lasers. You can unlock more squares on your planet, you can get some terraforming so you can live on cold or hot planets...basically, this is the same generic tech tree in every 4X game in the past 7 or 8 years. There is nothing interesting here, but there are silly fluff techs you need to research in order to discover that you need to research weapons, or engines, and so on. Even with the fluff techs, the tech tree is so short, that you easily cap out your research. In order to slow down players' research, there is an age system. There are three ages, and during each age, you can only research so far up the tech tree. Why? Because, that's why. We don't want players researching too quickly, the AI opponents will feel sad, I guess.

Trade is conducted the same way as in GC2. In this game, you can send constructors to build starbases that mine special minerals and such floating in space. These can be magically shipped at great distances to your planets, even passing through alien, even enemy, territory at no extra cost. Pirates do not interfere with your shipping of these valuable resources, nor do other factions. the only way to impede this magic transport of rare resources is to destroy the miner base. Not capture it, no, just destroy it.

There are a couple things Stardock did improve on, however. The lousy morality system in GC2 that never even worked all that well, was changed to an ideology system. The same three morality perspectives--benevolent, pragmatic, malevolent--still apply, but as you acquire more points in these ideologies, you can unlock the ideology tech tree. The ideology tech tree is more interesting than the regular tech tree, but it is very small, and somewhat redundant across the systems. There are some variants and interesting things in it, though, and this is easily the only part of this game that is actually any good.

The other improvement, which is a bit of a mess as implemented, is adjacency bonuses on planets. Various structures can provide bonuses if they are built next to each other. Also, certain random bonus tiles on the planets can provide bonuses as well. This is a mixed bag because the tiles are random, and you will often find yourself unable to take advantage of certain bonuses, or set up a grouping of buildings that feed bonuses to one another.

The other attempted improvement is the creation of unique tech trees for the races. Unfortunately, the tech trees are so generic, that the differences are extremely small and not worth mentioning.

In short, this game is just GC 2.5, but without espionage or politics. I can only recommend waiting for two years, maybe three, for expansion packs to flesh out this incomplete offering, and get released in some kind of deluxe edition for a reasonable price. However, I am confident that no expansions will solve this game's greatest drawback: genericness. This game is generic mediocre gaming, and it shows in every aspect. There is nothing innovative or interesting when exploring or colonizing. Combat is abstracted and forgettable, just as it was in GC2. Techs are the same, races are humans in costumes, and so on. Save your money and don't waste your time. Just load up GC2.

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34 of 47 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
39.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 18
If you combine Distant Worlds and Civ 5 you get this game. It's deep enough to be fun but not so deep that it is a chore or a micromanagement nightmare.
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65 of 102 people (64%) found this review helpful
44 people found this review funny
22.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 18
Won a diplomatic victory by using a fleet of custom built battlestars to exterminate all other races but one then allied with them. Peace through superior firepower. 11/10 would recomend
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45 of 68 people (66%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
63.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 16
As someone who is new to the series I was initially impressed with the game and I still am to some extent however there are rather griping issues that are bugging the hell out of me currently.

Ill try to list them:

1) the tutorial is not useful. Instead of it being about teaching new players or existing players about new or old mechanics and how they work and how your colonies work with production, manufacturing etc. it is instead used as a story spring board ready for the campaign.. which I really do feel like it should be for teaching as you know it is supposed to be a tutorial, Of course it has information on how things work but doesnt accurately explain it, in other words its extremely vague.

2) Lack of audio communication from Characters. When talking to another race for example, or something your research scientist is telling you about your recent upgrades. I really do feel like if they added some decent voice overs it would bring a ton of depth to the game. I realise many of the old school GC players would not like this that much is clear from what ive read on forum posts concerning this however its a different time now and you need to expect that immersion is important and right now Voice Acting even a little goes a long way, nobody wants to sit their and read paragraphs upon paragraphs while playing. Adding voice acting + a on/off option would solve this anyway. I believe the campaign would benefit heavily from some voice acting immersion. instead of "oh look we're retaking earth lets click our way to victory yay". I have a fine imagination I can imagine voices for the characters but it really doesnt do them justice. in a game this big and this well known they deserve a bit more "soul" i guess would be the correct word.

3) Clarity concerning modifications to your ships and fleet "military research". While most of the research details you go through are fairly solid and easy to understand, things like ship hulls and shield strength and how much it actually adds on to your ships current shield or hull strength isnt carried over and communicated properly making things seem tedious and confusing as if your research something for no reason because you dont understand where it goes or what it does fully. Examples would help this or fix it. I appreciate the lack of hand holding in the game, but again for games to be popular in the current industry they need to accomidate new players not just the old ones. Which is why many feel that the game has not innovated on what had come previously.

4) Governance is ...outdated. Frankly with competition like Civ and others in the mix Governance is an expceptionally dull part of an otherwise enjoyable game. I personally think if they wish to rival Sid's civ games then they really should of though about going a step further than they have or maybe a few steps. Instead of giving a player a set ammount of tiles you should of been able to zoom in and actually build upon the planet you found place your city yourself and the various things you need to get production and influence going etc and by that I mean actually control workers to do thats etc and have way more than simply under 10 or 20 tiles per planet or even under 5. I realise that many will use the arguement of "but its not trying to compete with it" or whatever however companies no longer have a choice these days unless they want to make money and frankly the changes ive suggested are hardly anything that would harm your experience if anything it would improve it. What had so much potential seems squandered.

5) Space battles. When launching real time battles between fleets its abundantly obvious that the battle viewer is extremely underdone, ships consistantly fly out of view..the free cam movement is extremely redundant as moving seems almost a chore rather than something you can enjoy as you watch your fleet tear the enemy apart, its clear that this needs to be dealt with and frankly if it isnt, it will be something that ruins the game.

Conclusion:

A game with enormous potential but fell short of it due to being stuck in the past, the graphics are updated and its new enough not to be called a "reskin" based on what ive watched from other videos of GC II HOWEVER this game is stuck in its own past. Instead of innovating they simply stayed still all be it with a few side steps on a couple of things which I personally think is what destroyed my opinion of this game. Now its still possible a lot of the things ive mentioned will be changed or fixed so I will give this game a little more time but this game is far from what stardock hope to achieve which apparently is "The largest, most advanced, strategy game possible.

Verdict?

Not recommended, especially at £30. As I have said while I largely enjoyed this game It frankly just did not hit the marks it needs too in this current day and age, Im glad a game is trying to stick to its roots but if a series is to improve itself it must go forward and not be stuck in the past, I will continue to play this game and try a bit harder to enjoy it though frankly if it was a decent game for the era I would already enjoy it thus I wouldnt have to try.

What is starteling is im finding im enjoying Beyond Earth more than this and thats for one reason:

Depth. Now I know what your thinking "Beyond Earth, Depth? Don't make me laugh" but frankly its true if theres one good thing you can say about that alpha centauri mess up is that at least they tried to make the game at least seem like its got a bit of soul. While GC III does a great job of making the galaxy look beautiful (to an extent) and letting you decide what you want your civilization to be it losing out massively on the things ive listed perhaps bar number one as a tutorial shouldnt be the focus of a whole game. Until they add voices and more depth and explainations as to how things work in game by providing an in-game source and fixing the various new features to actually work properly I cannot actually immerse myself in this game not can I call it a good game beyond a simple "meh its okay". if you prefer the silent type and unnessasarily complex mechanics in games then this game is for you if you prefer much more immersion and a bit more ease so you can just have fun without having too feel like your reading a book rather than playing a game I would advise you not buy this until that changes. it is stuck in the past and frankly its sad, it has so much potential but falls quiet short of a great game in my opinion.

Clearly Stardock have put a great deal of effort into the game but they got too focused on "sticking to the roots", you can stick to your roots and still evolve your game, however it seems they had no idea how to beyond improving a few small things and improving the graphics thats about it.
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36 of 54 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 16
This review is from the point of view of someone who ONLY plays multiplayer.

This game shows promise. However at this time multiplayer is barely functional with numerous bugs and limitations.

Game lobby is lacking. Can't see racial information, Can't have more than one of each AI race. Can't see or change game options once people join lobby. Can't have more than 4 human players. Can't play on any decently large maps. Can't use custom races, Can't change color. Can't make private or set password on games. the list goes on.

Once in the game you get to deal with bugs and bad MP design. Auto upgrading of buildings queues 4 times for each building. Players play in turn and while you can do a part of your turn between turns several signifigant parts of your turn you can't. this makes for very slow turn cycles.

There are also game sync bugs. Issues loading saves,

With all of this (and there is more but I'm getting tired of trying to think of everything) There are also all of the general bugs and issues that both SP and MP games deal with.

I expect this game will be very good in SP sometime soon. I really hope all of the issue with MP are fixed as well. At this time however I do not think this game is worth $50, or $30 for that matter. Fix the bugs and I'll be happy I bought the game. Right now I feel like I have bough a lemon.
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27 of 40 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
16.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
I have been a 4x fan since MOO 1, and it is my favorite genre. When i found out they were making Galactic Civilizations 3, i was looking forward to it. But it has been a bit of a let down (especially for $50). It lacks some critical elements: you cant control ship combat, no spying, and the tech tree just isn't quite right. I would suggest you wait until the price drops, 50 bucks is just too much for this game.
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19 of 27 people (70%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
30.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 18
Fantastically deep 4X game. I can't comment on how similar this is to GalCiv 2 since I haven't played it, though. I really like the non-combat victory options, they are very well fleshed out which makes them very satisfying. I've been playing with a friend too and that's been enjoyable as well.
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15 of 20 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
117.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 19
Started playing back in Beta. had a ton of issues and what not, thats to be expected. their support was good. course i have the distinction of playing this game while i have windows 10 technical preview. which at the time of the review is not supported by stardock.

Even so as i waited for windows to get me a decent update. which it finally did. i poured a bunch of hours into this game.
realy good game i must say.

Now after Beta and full release.
Thanks to Windows 10 i once again had issues playing. but that got resolved once my graphics card sent out a windows 10 driver. which soon allowed me to play this game again. and i soon put in another 20 hours on the spot playing the campaign. Which i found to be a lot of fun so far.

Overall this is a good game and will be supported for some time to come. like 7 years of support!

Down side is, yea it's 1.0 and still has bugs, but what game doesnt?

Would i recommend this game?? yes!! even more so if you love 4x
is it worth the current price?? yes!! but you can put it on your wishlist and wait for a sale, thats what i did during beta.

Now i just have to wait for win 10 to be released, which should clear up any bugs i have now. game runs fine otherwise.
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15 of 21 people (71%) found this review helpful
33.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 18
I'm a fan of the Galactic Civilizations series, however I feel this game steps backwards in a few areas. The shipyards, while a cool idea, can be annoying. If you don't have a fleet strong enough you can't defend your shipyard from aggression, so they made the shipyard overpowered in the early game which can be annoying if you have pirates right outside your doorstep. You also can't build starports on your home planet which is probably because you'd have a planet building two ships at once. But all you need to do is make it so that a planet with a starport can't build ships at shipyards. The fact that you can't build starports on planets is contradictory to the campaign where Earth built a massive armada at the height where planes fly without a shipyard. The last negative is the campaign. While this game's main draw is the singleplayer sandbox, the campaign deserves the same attention the gal civ 2 campaign got. There's three missions, 2 cutscenes (the first one being the best part of the campaign) and some nice dialogue. I beat the campaign in two days. I won't spoil the end, but trust me it's not worth it. Also it doesn't explain the rest of the story, which I was hoping for. I was also hoping Stardock would explain how the Iridium Corporation came to be in game. That way you wouldn't have to search for it on the website. But at the end of the day it's all about the money and I think Stardock is going to release a dlc and force it's customers to pay to complete the story. I was really hoping Stardock wouldn't stoop to that level. As for the rest of the game I think it's a fantastic game. I wished they still had those mega events from gal civ 2 because as far as I know there are none. Final Verdict is 7/10, mostly because the story was very disappointing and the shipyards oh god the shipyards. However I do recommend the game for 4x fans.
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12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
24.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 19
I am a new comer to the Galatic Civilizations Series, but I love strategy games from Total War to Civilization 5 and Beyond Earth. Today i'm writing this review to help out potential buyers... BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY THE GAME MAKERS!
Pro's-
1- Fun overall, dont have much time under my belt. But its very fun for its genre and i dont see myself getting bored anytime soon.
2- Ship and Race making is very interesting, in-depth, and cool!
3- Campaign is fun and interesting to choose a certain "path".
4- Immense customization for costume games!
Con's-
1- GOD FIX THE STABILITY! I CAN PLAY BATTLEFIELD 4 MAX GRAPHICS WITH MUSIC ON WITH CHROME.... BUUUT WITH THIS GAME, IT STUTTERS, FREEZES, AND EVEN CRASHES!
2- When im playing and i get the amazing, oh so critical first couple ideolgie points. When i go to unlock ones such as the free constructors and planet settlers AND THEY DONT APPEAR OR WORK! DA HELL! FIRST IDEOLGIE POINTS ARE CRITICAL!
3- Make a better tutorial! I still haven't figured out how to set up a dam trade route! I may be dense at this, but cmon!
4- During the campaign (Even on the second mission) the enemy factions have ships x5 beyond yours. You have to spend up too 4 WHOLE fleets to destroy or capture one ship/planet with only 3 defenders? Da hell?

Games fun, don't get me wrong. I'm sure i might be missing a few tips, but that's the point! Teach us that stuff! More and better tool tips or something! Its an incredible indepth strategy game, but its not fun stumbling around blind.
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27 of 45 people (60%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
20.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 16
tldr; Ship designer is great, addictive, and fun - The only element of this game that is fun, for a 4x game incredible shallow, and uncreative. The gameplay mechanics are archaic, and other games in this genre offer a far more entertaining experience, game is over-priced. Good Studio behind the game, could improve with Future patches.



I purchased this game very early in development. Why not? It is from a Studio i know, and love.

In the end, it was the ship-designer that created the Impulse buy. Which stemmed from the desire to play a sandbox/creative space-game. To boot 4x games are by far my favorite genre. I love Endless Space, SotS 1/2, and SoSE, why shouldn't i love this game too?

Many reasons. First off, i find myself only really enjoying the ship design. The game itself is kinda filler, and really unappealing. The races/factions are generic, and provide no real unique experience to play, you will choose races based upon who has the ship designing the elements you want, not because they offer different game-play mechanics, or atmosphere presence. It's the same, watered down game irregardless of the faction.

From there, lets talk about game-play. You find yourself only really wanting to end turns to advance research to be able to unlock more items to design in the ship designer. Notice a trend? Yes, the only thing you'll find yourself caring about is the ship designer. -- Combat is terrible, and unentertaining, or interesting. The "Cut-Scene" battles are ackward, glitchy, and unappealing. Plenty of Space 4x games provide amazing cut-scene battles that make every exchange feel immersive, not this game. The animations are jittery, graphics basic, weaponary discharges basic, and overall the experience is painful. Sadly ship design does not really make the ship more combat effective as far as design shape, and part positioning. A ship with 4 lazers is a ship with 4 lazers.

Bottomline is i couldn't bare to play this game for too long, nothing pulling me in... when it comes down to ship design other games offer designing to a greater degree, with better graphics, animation, and the design plays a role in combat effectivness, other games provide a better more indepth 4x experience. Those same games are 1/4 the price of this game, and have been in circulation for some time - Bottomline? Get one of those games, not this one.
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11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
51.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 19
Great game but horribly buggy and un balanced. Its hilarious when one nation is just murdering everybody, and nearly everyone is at war with this faction, however every NPC elects them to be the United Planets chairman... 3 times in a row.
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