Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 19.03.2018

Review for Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade on PC

While Galactic Civilizations III is a few years old, it is notable that the company, Stardock, continues to improve and update the game. It bears many similarities to the previous title in that the galaxy takes place on a grid system where ships fly around and players construct star bases. Within the genre of space 4x, this is one of the 'big three,' the others being Stellaris and Endless Space 2, as far as high production is concerned. Cubed3 checks out this one on the eve of a big DLC update.

One thing that sticks out about Galactic Civilization III, and the whole series, is that it is a pretty long running story from the campaign mode. At its root, the story is how humanity gets a warp drive system and gives it to aliens, all while battling a powerful hostile alien that kills others along the way.

For those that couldn't care less about these things, you will be happy to know you don't have to play campaign, and the main mode is quite fun, dealing with random galaxies and setups. The basics of the genre are present: build up planets, build up ships, send them out and fight, take over more planets until you win; of course, there are other victory options but this is the basic. That being said, the game is different from many others, namely in that the whole galaxy is a grid. Rather than simply fighting at planets or star systems, then, fleets often engage in empty space, and border wars can be fought over literally nothing there.

Colony management works by having a set number of tiles based on planet quality, and the player must select from a massive number of buildings for the limited slots. From here, the colonies produce ships that can then be moved across the grid as seen fit with the fleets. The other major differences are star bases, of which they are a type of 'area of control' mechanism in which those in control claim resources and territory.

Screenshot for Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade on PC

There is a lot going on at any one time, and those who like depth will be at home here. Dealing with trade routes, morale, diplomacy, ship combat, and so on, always leaves plenty to do. The early parts of exploring and laying claim to your own little slice of heaven are exciting and fun. For those that have not played any in the series, combat is dealt with three stats: missiles, projectiles, and lasers. Each tech will increase these, but the root of it remains a type of 'rock paper scissors' in which if the enemy is building lots of lasers, build up laser defence and switch to a new weapon.

While Galactic Civilizations III is quiet enjoyable, there are some drawbacks that take it down a few notches. The first that comes to mind is that the 'under the hood' mechanics of how things connect and are calculated are mindboggling. Even going online to read wikis of it still does not clear some things up, as many systems have changed over the updates. To give an example of this, production is dreadfully complicated dealing with base increases, percents and multiplication - all of which makes it unclear what exactly is the best way to increase something vital to the game.

The secondary problem is that mid-to-late game, it slows down incredibly as far as pacing goes. Early on it is very enjoyable, as there is only a planet or two to control and only a few ships. Later, though, you can be controlling 10+ planets, trade routes, 50 or more ships, star bases everywhere… and nearly all of these need constant attention. It can really hurt the enjoyment factor as it becomes very micro-intensive. If this issue was somehow improved, the experience would be very highly recommended.

Screenshot for Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Hitting the right notes of the genre, Galactic Civilization III: Crusade is a fun play and there is always the feeling of wanting to have just one more turn. The main issue holding it back from being truly great is the mid/late game grind of simply far too much stuff happening that needs to be dealt with. It will be interesting to see if the next major update fixes these issues, but fans of the genre will more than likely still enjoy this classic.

Developer

Stardock Entertainment

Publisher

Stardock Entertainment

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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