Galactic Civilizations 4 is the most accessible game in the series. This is true, just as the tail is the most accessible part of a tiger. The Stardock long 4X series now officially has a tutorial, in the form of a mischievous little helper robot called “Space Clippy”. But Space Clippy doesn’t help much when a game explains everything as if it came from another dimension.
Let’s take modules as an example. What are modules? First, I thought of modules as optional additions that you could choose to suit your star bases (acting as resource collectors and deployable checkpoints, with modules helping to enhance those features in a variety of ways) . But then I ran out of modules, and realized that they were actually a consumable resource. But unlike almost every other resource in the game, extracted from space or produced on planets, modules are built in a shipyard.
Oh, and you can only build modules once you have researched the corresponding technology, another topic that I will cover later.
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Like many other systems, GalCiv does not adequately explain any of this. Space Clippy informs you various menus like a waitress waiter in an alien restaurant. The irony is that GalCiv 4 is not as obscure as it seems. The communication is just awful, which means enjoying the game at its best is a bit of a false start.
The space is … big
It is not just about understanding individual systems: it is also about how key elements are presented. For example, the biggest news of the game, the sectors. Instead of displaying your universe as a wide range of stars, GalCiv 4 divides the cosmos into self-contained bubbles, connected by space curves (also known as major space paths). You can play on randomly generated maps with a dozen of these bubbles, each of which has about 30 stars.
This allows Stardock to claim that GalCiv 4 is the biggest game in the series. However, while it’s visually stunning, it’s no fun to play on this scale. “Galactic” sized games are very slow, and ship management becomes extremely difficult as you always have to zoom in and out to give orders to individual fleets. GalCiv has more fun on smaller maps. Not only is the game moving faster with empires forced to rub shoulders more, but the strategic importance of the sectors becomes sharper as the space highways connecting them become controllable highways (though not hindered absolutely) to help defend your empire.
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Keeping invaders out does not guarantee victory. GalCiv 4 introduces a new win condition called “Prestige”. This condition tracks how impressive your Empire is across a wide range of categories, giving you Award Points that show how good your military, research or tourism industry is. If you get enough award points, you will win. This helps facilitate non-violent exploits and prevents larger-scale maps from becoming knit wars. You can also earn prestige bonuses by completing a series of quests that replace the standard campaign of previous games, unlocking as your civilization meets certain criteria. This allows you to get used to the “story” of GalCiv 4 without being forced to play as a separate faction.
GalCiv 4 is not much of a hassle compared to other 4X space games
These welcome additions are accompanied by the distinction between colonies and hub life. Global hubs are planets that you manage directly. You assign them a governor, build buildings that increase productivity, and have the option of building a star base nearby. Colonies, on the other hand, do not require direct management, but simply send their resources to the nearest hub world.
The idea is to reduce your management tasks from more than a hundred planets to maybe a dozen or two. And it works, or at least it does when you’ve figured out how to effectively distinguish between colonies and hub life. A colony becomes a global hub when you assign it a governor, so it’s functionally up to you. But only those worlds rated “Excellent” or higher deserve to be a hub world. Since the game doesn’t tell you this, it’s easy to colonize a barely habitable cruise while the AI takes all the good planets out of your nose, snout, or proboscis.
The “proper” way to set up a hub life is slow and complicated, and you may be more inclined to intervene directly. Capturing other empires is mechanically simple: simply click on a fleet or planet to attack it, then wait for the battle or siege to resolve. Again, however, GalCiv does not mention that the core worlds can only be overcome after researching a specific technology called Planetary Invasion. Colonies, on the other hand, can be taken over at any time by any ship, even a single star. This goes far too far, with wars falling into the hands of glorious pest control unless you ensure that each colony has a few ships to protect them.
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Once you’ve analyzed GalCiv’s confusing attempts to communicate with you, the Universe is pretty weird and full of possibilities for a sprawling sci-fi sandbox. Not only in the various races you encounter, from fleshy mantis-like creatures that thrive on sea life, to the weapons of sentient robots that do not need food to survive, but also in the numerous anomalies that you can scan for reward small. , like ships that you can repair from shipwrecks, or strange artifacts that give you specific powers.
As your empire develops, you unlock a series of “executive orders,” special edicts that can instantly recruit new colonial ships, increase your revenue, or reveal a new system on the map. In a game where progress is made very gradually, these quick bonuses provide a satisfying presence. In one case, I used an artifact to give a colonial ship an extra move, helping it evade a pirate fleet and beat a rival ship on the best planet in the sector.
As the game develops, the action courses become more diverse. Diplomacy, for example, seems limited at first, and it’s hard to get anything like good treatment from other factions. As you gain access to better diplomatic technologies, your options for building diverse relationships and alliances greatly increase. However, problems remain, such as enemies suing for peace during war and refusing to offer you any incentive to stop.
Bye for now…
In fact, while most of GalCiv’s “problems” stem from poor embedding, there are a few other black holes in the middle of the contest. It is the largest research, by far. The GalCiv technology tree is a larger tech arboretum, so to make your decisions easier, the game introduces you to some new techs, semi-random trimming from the tree, for you to choose as your next research project. This works perfectly until you need to actively seek out specific technology, like the planetary invasion system I mentioned earlier, which is an important mechanic for leaving to the whims of chance.
You can trade the technology with other races – that’s how I eventually got it – but they have to be willing to trade it with you, where there is no guarantee.
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Overall, the GalCiv 4 does not fare much compared to other 4X space games. There are few things that are not better done in, say, Stellaris, like the narrative pieces attached to anomalies. Other new features, such as your Kings-esque Crusader relationship with governors and citizens, are very simple, which basically means that a planet can abandon you for another faction if you let the governor’s opinion fall too far. low. The ship’s editor is nice, and goes well with GalCiv’s overall visual elegance. But it is a very ancillary feature, without much significant influence.
Galactic Civilizations 4 is like an ancient alien race waking up to discover a group of tiny upstart pioneers on the scene, all of them buzzing with their new starships and innovative ideas. His answer to this is to go big, but he is also broad and conservative. Space Clippy is a symbolic attempt to communicate, but ultimately Galactic Civilizations 4 does not matter if the message is conveyed.
It has a legacy of decades, thousands of disciples and a space exploration formula that has worked ever since. Your approval is not required. It’s GalCiv.
The 68 Verdict Read our review policy Galactic Civilizations 4
Galactic Civilizations 4 is a great space strategy game that is very reliable. But few here are radical, and he hopes to meet halfway there.