_Build a civilization that will stand the test of time! Choose from dozens of unique races and make a name for yourself across the galaxy through diplomacy, espionage, technological advances, and more. _
What if one day, humans woke up to find that they weren’t alone in the galaxy? They make their way into space and discover other alien civilizations with their own histories and motivations looking to make a name for themselves. Choose your race - Human, Drengin, Altarian, and so many more - and lead your civilization into a golden age in one of the largest 4X strategy games ever made!
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Galactic Civilizations III is one of the best modern 4X games around, though fans of GalCiv II will note that the game still feels fundamentally the same. In many ways, that’s true. There’s a lot updated under the hood, but the game itself plays out almost exactly the same. That works in its favor in many places, following a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. However, those who wanted a totally new experience, or more advanced features will probably feel like it’s just the same game slapped onto a new engine.
You can create almost any ship design you can imagine using a really exciting hardpoint building method. This is one of the most vaunted parts of the GalCiv franchise, and for good reason. It’s really exciting to build your own ships and feel like you have a personal hand in the creation of your fleets.
The largest problem with this game is, weirdly, its greatest strength. Since the battles themselves are not dynamic and manageable, but are basically just modified dice-rolling competitions, all that work you put into designing your ships really doesn’t matter as much as it could, sadly. It will be interesting to see if this is updated in the next title in the series.
Still, despite any drawbacks, the overall experience of Galactic Civilizations III is one of vast empire building, intricate diplomatic issues (enhanced by DLC), and fascinating exploration. It’s entirely worth the full price, but as a free game, this is an absolute must-have.
Stardock Entertainment is no stranger to the creation of successful video games. Beyond their Galactic Civilizations franchise, they also struck science fiction gold with Sins of a Solar Empire, Star Control Origins, and Offworld Trading Company. They also offer a vast collection of quality of life programs for Windows PC users — which, considering how terrible Windows 11 is, are desperately needed.
If you want a game that’s similar to what GalCiv offers but has the potential to be a bit more high-octane, check out Sins of a Solar Empire. It’s also an older title, but it lives up really well, the modding scene is massive, and it remains one of the best mixes between 4X and real-time strategy around.
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The Epic Games Store has been around for a while, the lesser-known alternative to Steam, the nearly-ubiquitous platform for game purchases since it launched in 2003. But, where Steam originally existed and launched to promote Valve games, Epic Games Store launched in 2018 and quickly rose to success on the Fortnite franchise. At the time of Epic’s launch, Steam took a dramatic 30% cut from the sales of video games through their platform! This hurt both game designers and users, just wasn’t very nice. But the folks behind Epic realized something excellent: they could take a much lower cut and still have a profitable business. This led them to fast domination of the indie market, as small publishers flocked to the far better terms offered by Epic.
Epic Games Store offers some seriously incredible discounts on a regular basis, in addition to all the normal discounts one would expect on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the usual holidays. But the most exciting is their weekly free game or add-on, which simply harpoons all competitors.
When I first heard about this free game, I thought that can’t be real. They must only offer tiny indie games. Not at all, dear reader. Not. At. All. Epic frequently lists unbelievable A-lister games on their weekly deal, as well as sometimes offer two free games instead of one. In addition, just because a studio is smaller doesn’t mean the games it makes aren’t impressive. I’ve picked up some of my favorite new games, for free, from this platform, and most of them have been made by smaller studios (or as side-projects for teams from big studios).