Deep, smart, replayable, non-sterile strategy,
GalCiv is simply one of the most immersive, addictive strategy games i've played (right next to the HOMM series). I just loved the atmosphere it creates right from the get go, and the story that YOU create, which is always interesting and fun to reflect on at the end of a game. GalCiv gives you so much control as to how the game plays and unfolds, but isn't too free that its a mess. Its VERY well organised and is a joy to experience!
The tech tree is very deep and well structured. All research options have very intriguing descriptions and effects on gameplay. You will be constantly wanting to research everything, but good luck, because that takes a very long time and you will have to sacrifice military and building in order to reach the end of the research tree before your hair starts going grey!
The soundtrack sits in the background very nicely, pulls you into the world, if your morale turns too evil, the music and gui changes into a much darker evil theme. Vice-versa if your morale turns good enough.
Diplomacy is actually FUN to do.. Each race has a distinct personality and motive, trading and creating alliances can actually be alot of fun! Winning by forming alliances with every race is more fun in this game than any other i've tried. AI is very smart, with the updated patch, the programmers actually used recorded strategies from many of the best GalCiv players and implemented them into the AI. On top of that, each AI was created from the bottom up! ie. They didn't just create an AI and switch some parameters for each different race! That to me is very impressive and it shows when you play the game..
All these factors and more go towards making this game teem with humanity and warmth. It seems less like a computer game simply number crunching in order to win against you. Its much closer to reality than that.
The replayability is awesome, playing the game through once is the beginning of a very long journey! Different government types, race skills to start with, tech tree direction, winning through military, research, diplomacy or pure influence! (if your culture is strong enough). All these have their pros+cons, and ALL are fun to achieve unlike some other strategy games i know. Of course all games have randomised stars/planets, and the size of the universe you play in can be amazingly huge.. keeping you coming back many times before you can complete your game.
No Online play, but there is a great community out there playing GalCiv and collecting statistics. You should check their website for more info. (I put difficulty:hard, but its variable, AI can be adjusted all the way from fool to genius)
This game is FUN and TOTALLY ADDICTIVE. Be prepared to get sucked in big time!