Parents' Guide to

Galactic Civilizations III: Mercenaries Expansion Pack

By Franklin Rinaldi, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Expansion adds depth, factions, but limits strategic choice.

Game Windows 2016
Galactic Civilizations III: Mercenaries Expansion Pack Poster Image

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The addition of new races and soldiers for hire expands and provides strategic depth to the original game, but it also complicates play. The additional races provide numerous approaches to affecting your influence and expansion throughout the galaxy. The mercenaries add new layers of complexity that ups the game of strategic planning and execution, reinforcing what makes the series so great. Plus, the way that Mercenaries' new campaign walks you through the introductions to the Torians and the use of the mercenaries is well done and worth pursing even if you're already a veteran of the game. As it's longer than some of the previously included campaigns for the franchise, there are many hours of enjoyment as you explore the humor, intrigue, sadness, and rage about the treatment of the new amphibious races.

But the Mercenaries expansion can be a bane as much as a boon to gameplay. When the limited amount of mercenaries become available, it can sometimes feel like a requirement to hire them simply to prevent your opponents from getting them. This can feel more like a narrowing of strategic options instead of expanding on your tactics and strategy, and though its impact is really felt in multiplayer, this preventive measure even affects the single-player campaign. That isn't to say that the quality of gameplay and the variability you get through the mercenaries don't make them worthwhile; it's just that they probably shouldn't eventually boil down to a deterrent so players have more flexibility in their strategic conquering of the universe. Galactic Civilizations III: Mercenaries is a good expansion to the original game, but the addition of crucial strike forces for hire makes this an expansion best left to players willing to risk their success on troops whose loyalty is bought by the highest bidder.

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