Well I know this game has been out awhile but I just had to give my two cents on why Galactic Civilization II and all the expansion packs included make this a great gaming experience.
First off, you have to love turn based strategy games such as Civilization to really appreciate this genre. Gal Civ II does so many things right. Here is a short list of points...
1) No DRM( Digital Rights management )! No copy protection BS installed progs or security systems whatso ever. Just look to the mess EA is in right now with the Spore DRM to see how this can negatively impact gaming market.
Gal Civ II lets you install directly to the PC and as many times as you want with no CD. It's so nice to just load up a game immediately without it having to initialize through the internet or read a CD/DVD.
2) Gameplay over graphics. Someday developers will heed these words. Pac Man is still as popular as ever. Simple games still get the public's attention. The graphics are not going to win any awards but I'll take an enjoyable gaming experience any day over normal mapped polygons. Plus the turn based design allows me to get up from the computer at any time when the wife calls for certain honey-do's or needs assistance. I don't feel pressure to save or lose my progress. I can just let the game run as is.
3) Make a single player experience the main focus. Or don't try and do a single player game with multiplayer experience and expect both to be enjoyable. Developers like Stardock need to focus on one or the other. Trying to do both is like designing two games rather than one in the same condensed schedule. End result is usually a sub par experience in both formats or one. CoD4 pulls this off but only a very few handfull of developers can like Infinity Ward. Do what you do best and don't cave into what the public thinks they want. If your games is BF2 then focus on multiplayer only. If it's Bioshock focus on single. Simple as that.
4) Each game I play is a different experience. The AI is exceptional and I play on very basic settings. I love the ability to win on different levels, be it technology, combat, or influence. Very cool stuff. It's nice to have those options without having to resort to the same tech tree paths each time.
5) Steep learning curve but once you get passed it, your in for a treat. This game is extremely complicated in some regards. I had to read an FAQ to figure out how not to go in debt all the time ( Something even our financial instutions cannot seem to get right these days ). Luckily one player broke it down simply for me, make 1 planet mostly your factory planet and another planet your resarch planet. This has been pretty successful for me thus far. A better tutorial system on the inner workings and nuances of the game might help the newbs out like me get started and be less intimidated.
So just wanted to throw my opinion out there on what makes this game so great and addictive to me. Definitely check it out if you can. The demo is worth a try in itself as I played it purely for months before getting the game.
Check their website here...
And hopefully this all makes sense as it's late and I just wanted to get this out there for discussion.
Added Landscaping - Started adding plants, changed the sun location a bit more....will need to do color corrections to some of the plants. Sign has just a basic metallic type...
3 months ago