Well now. If you have played or heard much about the first Galactic Civilizations then you will know that it was a monster
of a space trading game. And now here we are scratching our head about where and how to begin to tell you about the sequel. Firstly, we should say that our copy of Galactic Civilisations 2 came in some amazing packaging – a solid, shiny metal box holding the CD's. Very fancy indeed - a lot of time clearly went into the limited edition packaging. And whilst you can’t judge a book by its cover we have to admit that our expectations for Galactic Civilizations 2 were raised by the quality of its box. Unfortunately, after a few days playtesting, we think that it's a shame that more time and money weren’t devoted to the game itself. But before we start harping on, lets look at what the game is all about.
For the tutorials the player watches a video as opposed to being taken through some simple campaigns that would allow you to learn while you play. This basically means that before you can play the game you have to watch the tutorials for about 25mins. If on the other hand you try diving straight into the game (as we did) you will find yourself begrudgingly going back to watching the tutorials pretty quickly.
Gal Civ 2, as we now affectionately refer to it, is not a game you can work out as you go along (rare indeed for SPOnG) and it's also not a game that you want to be sitting for 30mins watching a video about how to play it. If this reviewer hadn't had to play the game I think I would have turned the game off even before I started to play just because I got bored of the tutorials!
Tutorial boredom over and done with, lets move onto the game itself. Gal Civ 2 is a turn-based space-faring game that places you at the head of your own race. You are pitted against an array of opposition with lots of options to customize both your ships and your race. The in-game controls are very complex and will take you some time to really master, but it’s pretty cool that you can totally create your own look and feel for the game. There are also Starbases to build, anomalies to investigate and a sort of galactic UN to try and control!
You can also get into the action quite quickly (once you have gone through the 30mins of tutorials!) and at a basic level it is a fairly simple game, although you might not pick that up from the novel that is the instruction book. You start with one planet with the overall aim and idea being the conquering of the galaxy through technological, economic or militarily means. All of these options are controlled by the way you handle your ‘research’ – for example, following the trade research route will lead you to be ambassadors and traders by the same token following the military research will enable you to (hopefully) dominate the galaxy through military force.