Galactic Civilizations: Expanded Universe
There seem to be a lot of different thoughts on how much support a game should receive after it finds its way to the stores. For most companies, a patch or two is all we get, bringing the game up to a level of functionality that really should have been achieved before the game hit the shelves. Other companies even fail to do this much for their customers, leaving a lot of grumpy gamers with unplayable titles. If the game does well enough, one can usually expect some sort of expansion, giving some extra content while fixing a few problems, all for a fee, of course. And then there are a precious few companies like Stardock, who give continuing support to their titles far above and beyond what is normally expected.
Galactic Civilizations: Expanded Universe is just the latest example of that support. It’s a free expansion pack, available for all registered GalCiv users. It’s quite a bit more than just a glorified patch, adding lots of new content, graphics, improved AI, and several features requested by the fans. This expansion is just the latest example of Stardock’s dedication to their product and their customers—they have been releasing a steady stream of fixes, tweaks, improvements, and fan-requested content since the original was released.
Expanded Universe makes a slew of tweaks and changes, far too many to list them all here. The AI has been improved quite a bit, making for some pretty challenging games at higher difficulties. Computer-controlled empires no longer seem to follow the same predictable trends anymore, further increasing the difficulty. Aesthetic changes have been made as well, including a slight graphics overhaul on the galaxy view. New technologies are available, along with an online, hyper-linked technology tree for easy reference. In addition, a new unit is available, as is the ability to obsolete old ships, set up rally points, lock those pesky economic sliders…the list is quite long and impressive. Several hours of play have shown that these changes don’t alter the original in any huge way—they just make a great game much better.
Galactic Civilizations: Expanded Universe is a “must-have” for fans of the original—oodles of content and game tweaks continue to improve this already wonderful game. For those who have yet to give the original a try, Expanded Universe is another example that Stardock is fully dedicated to their customers long after the game is purchased. Anyone even remotely interested in 4X games should give Galactic Civilizations a try, knowing that this excellent game will only get better through continuing developer and fan-based support.
An impressive expansion for the already-impressive Galactic Civilizations, and a strong show of continuing support from the developers. Best of all, itâ€™s free!
Rating: 9.1 Excellent
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I'm an old-school gamer, and have been at it ever since the days of the Atari 2600. I took a hiatus from the console world to focus on PC games after that, but I've come back into the fold with the PS2. I'm an RPG and strategy fan, and could probably live my gaming life off a diet of nothing else. I also have soft spot for those off-the-wall, independent-developer games, so I get to see more than my share of innovative (and often strange) titles.
Away from the computer, I'm an avid boardgamer, thoroughly enjoying the sound of dice clattering across a table. I also enjoy birdwatching and just mucking around in the Great Outdoors.