A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The premise of the Dark Avatar expansion is that the bad guys have won. Of the two sides, one side wants to kill everyone, the other wants to enslave everyone.
Violence & Scariness
The player can initiate, and then observe space and land battles with lasers, explosions, etc. All battles are presented from a third-person perspective with the player as an observer rather than a participant.
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Products & Purchases
Part of the Galactic Civilizations series.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids will see battle sequences showing laser shots and explosions from a third-person perspective. Larger space battles are shown in a cinematic-style sequence, but the player is an observer and not a participant. The game has plenty of opportunities to learn about economics, government, diplomacy, and trade. The smart artificial intelligence makes the computer a worthy opponent.
Is It Any Good?
At the easiest levels, the AI lets players learn the fairly complex controls and options without too much harassment; at the hardest levels the AI can be brutal. In fact, the AI is so human-like, it shouldn't be too hard for players to forgive the game's lack of multiplayer gameplay. Players looking to influence the result of a conflict with fancy flying or sharp-shooting accuracy will be disappointed -- once a battle starts, the computer takes over and the player merely watches it play out.
The game is nicely balanced, letting players manage their empire without getting weighed down by the details as the empire grows. It is incredibly replayable. The free-play mode lets players select from dozens of options: from a two-hour afternoon cakewalk to a weekslong tug-of-war among nine different opponents. Galactic Civilizations II is fun to play, and it's a worthy addition to any strategist's collection.
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