Review of Galactic Civilizations 4: a great space strategy game

Review of Galactic Civilizations 4

Review of Galactic Civilizations 4: A ship from the Yor Collective may be seen ahead of me as I navigate through my local galactic sector toward my goal of colonising the high-level planet Ogma III. Before I can lay claim to the world, its pilots will very certainly have their own ideas to build a colony. For the time being, this is the greatest place in this sector for a new world. As long as the Yor are irritated by my refusal to trade with them, I have no problem launching an attack before they do.

The Yor ship explodes in a quick animation of flames and wreckage as I manoeuvre my fleet over it. After a short while, I realise that everyone in my immediate neighbourhood is fed up with me. I can only hope that my civilization has been adequately prepared for what is certain to be a full-fledged interplanetary conflict of epic dimensions.

Not the first time I’ve accidentally sparked a fight in Galactic Civilizations IV and I’m not going to stop there either. Progress sometimes has the unavoidable result of wiping out the good people who lived in the neighbouring colonies of a rival. However, unlike Festoon Hunt, one of the new characters in the 4X game, the Yor, who have referred to us humans as “meat bags,” haven’t threatened to lay eggs in my “many orifices.”

Even if you’ve played a lot of strategy games before, Galactic Civilizations IV will challenge even the most seasoned players. War techniques and the basic hex game mechanics take inspiration from Civilization, while the narrative echoes that of Crusader Kings. In contrast to CK’s sci-fi sister Stellaris, the campaign in GalCiv IV is more structured than a free-form grand strategy game. However, it is its own beast. Stardock’s new space game strikes the perfect balance between exploration and resource management, even if it takes some getting used to.

Players should expect to see a lot more of these new features in the fourth instalment of the series. Multiple sectors will be explored and exploited rather than playing in a single sector. The game encourages the building of an empire organically over the course of a single session. Although there are many strong ideology possibilities, they could be better balanced, and the process of shaping your state is a long one.

Review of Galactic Civilizations 4


GalCiv IV’s visuals are also far superior to those of its predecessors. Realistic character animations resemble historical civilization’s own leader models in how they give diplomacy life and personality. The aesthetics are outstanding. While some of the user interface (UI) elements can be clumsy at times, they are necessary for a game of this scope and complexity.

The first 10 hours of gameplay were necessary for me to find my stride. In large part, this is due to the fact that I was unable to predict the long-term effects of the decisions I made, leading me to make rash decisions that ultimately led to my downfall. With regard to the question of whether I should build broad and colonise as many planets as I possibly could while waiting for terraforming technology, for example, I was frequently unclear about what strategy to pursue. It turns out that a middle-ground approach is the most effective.

Unfortunately, GalCiv IV is quite forgiving while playing at the default difficulty setting. When I jumped in and started exploring, it was a lot of fun. In-game advisors (nicknamed “Space Clippy” after Microsoft Word’s animated helper for many years) are present, and they aren’t much help beyond the most fundamental ideas.

In terms of exploration and resource management, STARDOCK’s latest game hits the mark.

It’s like other sophisticated strategy games, where the more you play, the more you’ll learn. Even after so many hours, I’m still stumped as to how to best optimise my core worlds. Like space travel, the quest to grasp what we don’t know is what keeps it exciting.

Even on an easy difficulty level, it was impossible to win the game. I was more interested in simulating and exploring than I was in working toward a definite goal. With room to grow and build my civilization, I had the most fun when I was ready to take on my opponents. It’s great to see a 4X game that doesn’t suffer from the same endgame drudgery that so many others do. With the idea of prestige, Galactic Civilizations IV aims to address this issue. Galactic Achievements can be used to speed up the process of gaining a reputation in the game, which can help players avoid the tedious and drawn-out process of winning in other games.

Because of Stardock’s experience in the 4X genre, it’s not surprising that the team has been able to take what they’ve learnt from the series and improve upon it. GalCiv IV, for example, features 18 unique civilizations and a wide range of customization choices. It is possible for the most determined players to design their own ships and upload assets for their own races. A comprehensive list of galaxy formation choices already exists, including everything from changing rival start distances to AI behaviour and winning criteria.

Real-life details can also be found in some of the illustrations. You can, for example, play as a silicon-based lifeform in the game. Scientific debate is rife about whether or not this sort of life exists. To see an opposing AI raise doubts about my civilization on this subject made me giggle when I was playing as one of these species.

In spite of a more user-friendly design, Galactic Civilizations IV will still be a challenge for newcomers to the game. Even if you’re an experienced space 4X player, there’s still a steep learning curve to get used to. Whatever method you choose, understanding these new systems is worth the effort, but there’s always space for improvement.

If you play for a long time, some of the game’s narrative content can become tedious. Managing leaders and finding roles that matched their characteristics was a chore for me at times as well. Diplomacy, governance, ministries, and commander ships all receive boosts based on a leader’s attributes in the game. This is a feature I’d like to see developed on in the future, but it has a certain authenticity to it that I enjoy.

Even if you’ve never heard of this series, you’ll have a hard time getting into it, even with the new design.

In the end, I struggled the most with figuring out how the many decision points all came together. Low-quality decision-making may not have the grave implications that are apparent at higher levels of difficulty. Try out some of the harder modes to see how much micromanagement is required for top-level performance. In spite of this, the game’s lower-level difficulty settings ensure that even novice players may have a wonderful time.

Galactic Civilizations IV can be described as ‘Civilization in space’. In fact, though, the mechanics of 4X games are handled differently depending on the type of game you’re playing. This is one of those games that is different every time you play it because it does such an excellent job of discovering the joy in the far reaches of space. It has that ‘one more turn’ magic, and the possibilities are boundless with the entire galaxy as your playground.

Since Stardock has made a lot of noise about expanding mod support, we can only assume that gamers will come up with even more inventive solutions in the future. To prepare for the upcoming wars, I’ll have to devote my attention to upgrading my ships and strengthening my fortifications. Please don’t worry about my “many orifices,” I’ll take care of them.

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