Galactic Civilizations II is the second game in a series of 4X space strategy games developed by Stardock that offers up an entire galaxy for players to conquer in the name of their chosen civilisation. Like the other titles in this space themed strategy title players will find a turn based experience. Released in 2006 the game later saw two expansion packs released in subsequent years titled Dark Avatar and Twilight of the Amor that further expand the game mechanics and in turn provide new challenges.
The setting in Galactic Civilizations II is the same as the previous game within the franchise with players and several other alien species fighting for control over the galaxy and the planets within. This race for control starts after one of the youngest space faring (the humans) developed the technology to travel across the stars with great speed and in turn allowed for others to quickly scramble to claim the most material rich planets available. The Dread Lords have also returned to the galaxy though who were once hell-bent on annihilating every living thing within it and now focused on this goal once again.
During the campaign players will move throughout the galaxy capturing planets one by one by using diplomacy, culture, technology or force that each requires different foundations of strategic options to be utilised. Alongside this players will also have to hunt down ancient technology and protect themselves from the genocide onslaught from the Dread Lords across the planets that populate the galaxy. In addition to following the campaign players have access to a sandbox skirmish mode although no multiplayer is available.
While multiplayer is not available the scenario options for Galactic Civilisation II are expansive so that you can tailor your challenge to your preferences. This includes scenarios that provide an accelerated start to push past the early slow pace of turn based games, a battle of the gods where you start with nearly all technologies, power duel that focuses on fleets of ships and everything in between.
Most of the alien races from the original return to create a total of 10 playable races (an additional 2 with the expansion packs) for the player to take control of and there is also the option to design your own race if none of the preset ones take your fancy. Each races of course have their own theme that include history, homeworld, ethical alignment, leader and gameplay impacting bonuses that make them suited to particular strategies.
The Terran Alliance of humans for example is neutral focused with specialties in research, trade and diplomacy that generally provides them strong non military options to bring the galaxy together. In contrast the Yor Collective are a race of machines who hate the organics of the galaxy and are efficient at military production and logistics.
The three main areas of improvement over the original Galactic Civilizations game though are the improvements in ship design, AI and increased number of random events. Galactic Civilizations II presents a large number of options for creating customised ships to suit your strategy. The AI has also received a lot of attention with the game offering an impressive 12 levels of AI for players to choose from.
- More 4X turn based strategy gameplay across the galaxy for fans of science fiction.
- Plenty of races available (10 base game with an additional 2 from expansion) with the option to create your own with their own identities.
- Capture planets in one of four ways as you utilise one or multiple in your ultimate campaign.
- Develop your own ships and experience random events to create a living galaxy.
- Large number of AI levels to ensure the perfect challenge for you.
Review Platform: PC