+ Adds new elements to the 4x Space Strategy genre. Almost like a cross between SimCity, Endless Space, and Galactic Civilizations 2. You really feel like you are managing an Empire.
+ Somewhat Casual (Easy to learn), but I wasn't looking for an intense 4x Strategy Game, so that's okay with me.
+ Soundtrack is awesome
+ Easy ship building (and you get an optional name generator :D )
+ Art style
+ Diplomacy elements are very in depth
- Ai cheats
- Don't play if you are a grammar nazi
- Graphics on planets are somewhat strange (white colored desert planets?)
- Race Bonuses/Penalties don't make sense sometimes (conflicting, and sometimes just not explained)
- No custom race building
- Interface could use some work (Exploitation and Happiness levels especially)
Just bought it on the Steam Summer Sale. At first I thought it was just another "Galactic Civilizations 2" copy, and while it does borrow a lot of elements from Gal Civ 2, it also adds a lot more elements. For example, you can deliver speeches, you have to monitor crime rates on planets, diplomacy is a lot more expanded (alliances, immigration grants, research agreements, "vassalage" although it isnt called vassalage). One of the biggest aspects that are a major plus are the pirates. Pirate clans don't start hostile. They will threaten you with a first time tribute, but after that you can pretty much ignore them and even use them to attack other factions. Minor factions also exist, but they lack space travel and pretty much are at the mercy of every other empire.
I haven't had a change to try the combat yet, but the ship building is very dumbed down. Some people might not like this, but I personally detest ship building, so it's a plus for me. The Ai does seem to cheat a bit, but this could be because I just started the game and was playing with the Endless Space mindsight of colonize everything in sight and as far away as possible.
There are a few noticable negatives though. Spelling is just horrible, and the graphics can be strange, especially on planets, races also sometimes have strange bonuses which conflict with their history/profile. You also cannot create custom races.
Aside from that it's a solid 4x space strategy game in the making. Hoping they will add the ability to make custom races. Almost every 4x space strategy game allows this. For what they have so far, I would say that it's worth the price.
Highly recommended for people who enjoyed Endless Space and Galactic Civilzations 2. Will definitely hold me over until Galactic Civilizations 3 comes out ;)