Now if we are all honest, as gamers the route most of us will take (at least the first play through, although we highly doubt you will play this twice!) is to try and dominate our galaxy by force. This is where the game has it’s biggest flaws – the frankly rubbish graphics! You are presented with some amazing options (such as the ability to send meteors into the enemy's planet, gas them and many others) and being violent anarchists we went for the bloodiest, thinking of the scenes of death and destruction we would see. With a slight tremor of excitement at the ensuing destruction we were about to cause, we clicked the button to hurl meteors into an enemy planet.
What we saw you could well have programmed for a Commodore64 20 years ago. This game took up a huge amount of processing power and for the life of us we can't figure out why - the space action scenes are pretty average (and we are being kind there) the planet invasion scenes are rubbish, no - strike that - they are really, really rubbish - it made this reviewer wish I was on a Commadore64 relishing a game like Impossible Mission. We wish we could have found something positive to say about the graphics but we just couldn't – some of the graphics for the the alien races were adequate. Actually no, scrub that, they were rubbish too!
As far as we could tell the game takes it for given that players will enjoy turn based games and are also science-fiction fans (which we do and we are – albeit the non-geek variety). Gal Civ 2 claims to give you the chance to pit your wits against some great AI (we wouldn’t know as we only played it on the beginner level and the AI was as thick as pigshit), whilst not having to play it non-stop for hours. What it fails to do is leave you wanting more, other than wanting more of a better (different) game!
We wanted proper invasion scenes, not scenes from Mother of All Battles (a freeware game) When we went into a space battle we wanted Star Trek or Star Wars. We got Lost in Space (the TV show not the movie). When we were talking with the enemy we wanted it to have an effect - if we demanded technology we wanted them to become angry and maybe try and start a war - be it economical or full-on military action. We got the same old, same old responses and it seems so long as we weren’t asking for military technology or cash money the enemy would just dish out loads of stuff every time.
If you are not bothered about that and all you are looking for is a space game that is turn-based and you get your kicks from building economic empires or making peace with the galaxy then this might just be for you. If that's the game you're looking for, then Gal Civ 2 could tick all the boxes. By the same token we would also have to say that we would rather spend 12 hours solid playing Sudoku than try to dominate the galaxy in Gal Civ 2 via peaceful and diplomatic means.
SPOnG rating – D
[i]SPOnG actually feels pretty bad hating on a game as much as we are clearly hating on this one. We felt such a pang of guilt that after having played it for a day we actually went back for more - just in case it had caught us on a on a particularly uptight day. It hadn’t, we just dislike this ugly, arduous, complicated, graphically-challenged game.
As a friend said to this reviewer last Saturday night, when spying a particularly ugly girl, not even with yours mate![/i]