The devs have done a lot to this game since beta, the release version is a good game now. A bit like Paradox's grand strategy games like Victoria 2 this strategy game is however tightly focused on the Great War, so you have observation planes, trenches, observation balloons, bombardment artillery, airships and even gas attacks.
It's got a lovely simple GUI, which for a game like this is very important. You need to be able to control all your production etc in one place. This game does that really well - one screen set to control production of factories, infrastructure and resources - its really easy.
Messages are well presented with popup screens and clear notification icons, you are given opportunities to make grand changes from these popups as well like when playing as the Austro Hungarian Empire you can choose to ask Serbia for harsh terms or go easy on them. Interesting diplomacy options then, but there could be more choices like being able to raise bad relationships or insult other countries, which would just add a bit more gameplay into the diplomacy.
Graphics wise lovely looking clean map, sprites all have authentic uniforms. Externally applied anti-aliasing works well here to improve the whole look of the game (but it should be made configurable from within the game I think).
AI seems pretty good but I am still assessing this. Certainly you can now get food and other resources that you need which is good, as that was a beta issue that has been resolved. Its taken me atwo years of gametime but my economy is nowe pretty sound! And dealing with that stuff is more fun than it sounds.
The AI though doesnt seem to defend that well, it doesnt seem to protect its high value provinces much - I walked straight into Constantinople without a fight. There are some other bugs (such as the AI cancelling trade agreements if you go even slightly over your transport capacity) but they are relatively minor. Combat seems to go on for ages but its still being balanced by the devs. It should be lengthy where trenches are utilised, but perhaps should be made quicker for small skirmishes in open ground.
I am playing AustroHungary and wouldnt even think of playing such a large country in Paradox's Victoria II but in this game its dead easy. I really got the game though to be able to play Great Britain which has so many colonies that in more complex games it looked a nightmare. In this game though I think it will be possible.
One point that is important - no excessive DLC (Paradox) or ridiculously overpriced DLC (AGEOD) for this game, you buy it you get the whole package.
Overall is a nice simple looking, but deceptively complex, game that is more immediate and less faff to play than Paradox's offerings, that is only going to get better over time as the devs tinker with it. I like it, nice to see a good WW1 game at last.
[Edit: my present game as AustriaHungary had me fighting the Ottomans (because I didnt like them bullying Albania), and I created the Turkish Protectorate as an ally out of that. But now Russia has declared war on the Ottomans (along with the UK and France etc) and its a sure bet Germany my ally will go to war with Russia. So I might get dragged into a war with the Ottomans as my allies after all that. So enjoyable watching how these sorts of things pan out, watching the Chinese Communists fight against the Nationalists, and watching small countires like Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro band together against me. Best WW1 game out there by far]