Galactic Civilizations III
It innovates from prior games in the series, and is undeniably fun, but Galactic Civilizations III isn't the clear leader in a packed genre.
A good game marred by bugs and lack of documentation. Once it is fixed it should be back on top but it does not justify a higher score.
I worried that, after years of playing its predecessor and all of its expansions, I would be too familiar with Galactic Civilizations III. I worried that I'd get a bit tired of it too quickly. This hasn't remotely been the case. I'm hooked in the same way I was with the last game, and not because it's stayed the same, but because it's managed to strike that balance between the comfortingly familiar and the refreshingly new.
Galactic Civilizations III stays the course on the strong path laid by Galactic Civilization II— at times to a fault. The tactical, political wheeling-and-dealing action is more streamlined than ever before, but outside of a few relatively small changes the core gameplay is essentially the same.
Galactic Civilizations III is more of the same with some nice upgrades and a handful of new features, and I have no complaints about that. A great starting point for new players, and an even nicer reason to take up an old addiction for veterans.
Galactic Civilizations III is better than Beyond Earth (especially at release), but in this ever improving genre you have to come up with your best shot at launch and, if you want to sell DLC, build on top of that in engaging ways. This genre is one of high replayability and hundred hour games so your product has to challenge last year's fully DLCed 4x games in a substantive way to merit the kind of investment in time, intellectual energy and money that these games require.
Galactic Civilizations 3 is a constantly rewarding experience, a colossal box of toys with which you can create some truly memorable stories. It's the embodiment of the 'just one more click' cliché, a game that can have you jumping on intending for a few turns, only for you to come to your senses hours later, eyes bleary and unfocused, but that new armada of elerium-shielded warships ready to roll over your unsuspecting enemies.
Galactic Civilizations 3 is a solid turn-based strategy with a great potential. Unfortunately, right now it just doesn't do enough to surpass its predecessors and distinguish itself from competitors. It's a good game, sure – but it does feel like an enhanced remake of Galactic Civilizations 2 rather than a full-fledged sequel.
Galactic Civilizations III is a great game, containing a mix of familiar mechanics and new ideas that can keep both fans and newcomers occupied for a frighteningly long period of time.