Galactic Civilizations 2: Endless Universe
What fans of the series need to be immediately aware of is this is a compilation of the last two expansions, Dark Avatar and Twilight Of The Arnor. Not that this should be considered any kind of criticism, as both these add-ons sported some excellent gameplay that really brought the Galactic Civilization franchise up to speed. But if you own them already, there might be little reason to part with any further cash.
Indeed, the only reason might be that they’re standalone, so the convenience of such a neat package shouldn’t be quickly overlooked. And if you don’t own either expansion, but have enjoyed a rigorous jaunt around the original space-based RTS, then Endless Universe should be high on your list, since it really lives up to its name.
The second of the two original expansions came packed with graphical, AI and technological improvements along with an overhauled interface system, and it’s this series of updates that take the fore in Endless Universe. Playing through the included campaigns is a great way to get started, but RTS stalwarts will undoubtedly find Endless Universe comes to life in the highly customisable sandbox mode.
Everything about the game can be shaped to suit your particular preferences, or tweaked to match whatever gaming mood you happen to be orbiting in. An expansive library of ship-building parts, weaponry and defensive technology enables you to create a fleet of spacecraft for any occasion, but it’s in the environment modifications that your ideal game can be woven.
The ability to adjust the size of the galaxy (creating outer space expanses that would take months to complete, if so desired), the frequency of habitable planets, the evolutionary curve of the species and a host of other aspects make this a comprehensive tool for the serious sci-fi RTS gamer.
Unfortunately, it’s rather lacking in terms of multiplayer, which is somewhat unforgivable these days considering the size of the game, otherwise Endless Universe could likely take on Eve Online in terms of scope. So close, but ultimately a few parsecs short of a light year.