This massive strategy title between space-faring species and cultures is a great turn-based 4X space game. The ability to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate in so many ways is what will keep fans of this genre playing over and over. The depth of customization in game modes, race and civilization creation, diplomatic interactions, technical research, ideology, and more ensures that no two games will be alike. Whether you enjoy a long or short campaign, there are options to fulfill the need for strategy in us all. The AI is very well done, possibly the best seen, taking into consideration numerous aspects of your respective strengths and weaknesses, previous interactions, and more before either befriending you or attacking. A lone ship may get ignored while a fleet may be attacked -- it all just depends upon the personality of the species at the time. The option to be benevolent or malevolent in your planetary conquest adds some very interesting story twists that will drive you to try different approaches in your colonization to experience them all.
It's not a perfect game; it does have its issues. The ability to build incredible ships exists in a great sandbox mode that's then minimized with your lack of control in combat. Once you engage in a battle, you're in spectator mode until the fight's over. You'll either lose all the ships (whether they were custom-designed or just built from stock schematics), or you'll be victorious. The complexity of the ship design system is to be heralded, though: Absolutely stunning ships can be designed if you have the patience for it. Plus, the pacing of the game can, at times, leave you with nothing much to do but push the "Turn" button so you can get to the next survey site, build completion, or build location. Without an option to select how many turns to move forward, you have to play each one out manually, which can be tedious. Overall, Galactic Civilizations III is a fantastic 4X space-strategy game that has the potential for you to lose track of time while you hit the turn button over and over. The depth of the gameplay, the humor of the story, and interactions with the other races make it a delightful game to play.