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Personally, I spent the most time playing with the ship designer (tons of parts to play with) and the AI settings. Given enough energy and time it’s more than possible to setup your favorite sci-fi universe and then play it out one turn at a time. Between this and the sandbox options there are hundreds of hours of possible playtime Dark Avatar making it the biggest expansion pack I’ve ever reviewed.
"Galactic Civilization II: Dark Avatar is great. Great, great, great. I'm going to go into a lot more detail in this review as to why it's great, but I thought I should get that point out of the way right off the bat. If you at all like strategy games, you should at least check it out. If you like turn-based strategy games, it's the current cream of the crop, so you have to play it. And if you're already a Galactic Civilizations II fan, and you don't play Dark Avatar, I will come to your house and fight you. That's no lie. Stardock has given what was already one of the best strategy games around a makeover, taking what was good and making it better..."
"...if Dread Lords left anyone doubting Galactic Civilizations’ claims to Master of Orion’s throne, Dark Avatar should quash them. It makes a great game that much greater, and unquestionably deserves a long-term, dedicated spot on any fan of this genre’s hard drive."
Dark Avatar is a nearly flawless expansion to an already great game. Fans of GalCiv II simply need to own it as it makes playing the original somehow seem stale. Stardock has proven yet again that turn-based gaming isn’t dead – good design is still good design.
Dark Avatar follows a recent line of stellar strategy game expansion packs including Dark Crusade for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Rise of the Witch-king for Battle for Middle-earth II and The WarChiefs for Age of Empires III. Like those games, Dark Avatar does much more than just add new units or new maps, it revisits the very underpinnings the game itself and adjusts them to make the whole experience richer. In my original review of Dread Lords I said "Master of Orion is dead. Long live Galactic Civilizations II." After a week of playing Dark Avatar, you may forget Master of Orion altogether.
"Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar is everything an expansion should be. Nix that. Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar is everything a full-blown sequel should be, and more. But the good folks at Stardock, never ones to skimp in any gaming endeavor, took it upon themselves to deliver to their customers one of the most meaty “expansions” that I’ve ever seen grace a franchise. And all this for a title that was already my favorite 4X strategy game of all time. Sure, I’m gushing with praise, and yes, I’m a GalCiv fanboy. But here is a title that deserves every bit of it."
Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar is all about improvements. While the gameplay has been greatly altered, the first and most noticeable changes are the visuals. The game still sticks with the style of the original, though with major improvements. Everything is much cleaner and smoother. Ships look better and show off more details. The galaxy itself also feels a little more detailed and not as barren. There’s also the usual assortment of weapon effects and explosions.
"Stardock has managed to make a great game even better."
"If you bought the Galactic Civilizations II game, just go buy this. It improves the game with enhanced graphics, deeper gameplay, more challenging enemies, and customizations up the wazoo. If you haven’t, there should be a bundled version including the original and expansion pack. This is what every expansion pack should be. Nothing seems arbitrary, and you feel like the folks at Stardock really get what 4X gamers want."
What can I say, this game is massive, and the expansion adds on even more to the title. Normally I am not a fan of expansion because they do little to add to the gaming experience, but man this game adds a lot to the original title. Just look at all the stuff I covered above. If you do not have this game and you like strategy games, especially space ones, then I say pick yourself up the gold version that has the original and the expansion together, and you can play both storylines in a row. If you already have the original, then you might just want to get yourself this expansion to add on some great features.
Galactic Civilizations II and the Dark Avatar expansion represent the pinnacle of 4X space strategy games. They have the perfect mix of micromanagement and micromanagement, with enough details to let you meticulously run your civilization how you choose, yet it remains not so focused on individual tasks that it bogs down the experience. This allows the player to manage the overall picture but still remain in total control over everything he or she chooses. The A.I. is the most intelligent opposition I have ever seen in a strategy title, and the tech tree is vast enough to offer a plethora of various strategies to employ. The lack of multiplayer is ameliorated by the fact that there are so many options and ways to play the single-player portions. Dark Avatar is a must-have for 4X space strategy fans and definitely worth playing for any turn-based strategy fan.
The new features in Dark Avatar elevate the already superb Galactic Civilizations II to the title of undisputed best turn-based space strategy game on the PC.
If you’re a fan of Dread Lords, then this expansion should absolutely be on your list to pick up as soon as possible. Go download it, I’ll wait… And if you’re just looking into strategy games in general it’s well worth getting the gold package which includes both Dread Lords and Dark Avatar. Hours of very satisfying game play to be had.
The game is never the same twice. Your research needs change, your resources change, your enemies change. Even the campaign has multiple paths so if you blow it you can go on and try to recover some dignity. Because it is turn based there is no frantic clicking and cursing. There is some planning necessary so you don’t waste your turns. With all the multi-tasking involved, that planning can go for naught very quickly so have a notepad and pencil handy or there may be cursing
Dark Avatar does what a good expansion pack should -- it makes it tough to imagine ever playing the base game without it. It makes a great game greater
This is one of the best space civ sims ever made, if you like civ games then this is a must buy.
Dark Avatar is truly a superb expansion in the way that it not only refines, but provides a new direction for the gameplay and adds a significant value to the game. For beginners, the very steep learning curve may push them away, but for those willing to stick through it, a superb turn-based strategy game awaits. The game still doesn't have a multiplayer component, regardless for any fans of the series the expansion is a no-brainer. And if you enjoy turn-based strategy games and don't already own Galactic Civilizations II, then I'm curious as to what planet you've been living on for the last year. Highly recommended.
The new expansion adds so much that it's hard to know just where to begin. New civ options, more complex star systems, new espionage elements and improved diplomacy, an entirely new campaign, better graphics, and a number of other improvements make Dark Avatar a sure bet for fans of space strategy games.
Dark Avatar's subtle improvements to the GalCiv franchise breathe some freshness into the game. Once again it's all too easy to sit down for “just a few turns” and find yourself rubbing your eyes five hours before you have to wake up for work. The campaign offers new puzzle-piece challenges for the player, but the meat of the game still resides in the new maps, at least for this reviewer. Above all, compared to almost any 4X game out there, it's the AI that stands out in Galactic Civilizations. It doesn't cheat, except at the highest difficulty levels, and it behaves in believable ways. It exploits weaknesses, it doesn't gang up on the player, and it uses sound strategies. Sometimes you can't help but wonder at its propensity to charge deep into your space with an unarmed transport going for an unguarded planet, but then again, such tactics do work every now and then.
Dark Avatar is a great expansion and well worth the money, whether bought as just the expansion online for $30 or in the Gold Edition, which combines the original and the expansion for $45. Any fan of Galactic Civilization II Dread Lords should pick this up, definitely. For players new to the series, the learning curve is steep and cruel, but once learned, the game itself isn’t hard to manage. The addition of the minefields add to the fun, but I wish there were more things to place on the planets. I like micromanagement in these types of games, and more things to do while waiting for the techs to finish researching would have been nice.
Dark Avatar offers great new game play options to an already impressive strategy game. When dealing with games like Galactic Civilizations II, which seem to have it all, the fact that this expansion still offers some significant improvements without making things too complicated, makes it worth a look.
Le seul reproche que l'homme de bien peut se laisser aller à formuler à l'encontre de Dark Avatar, c'est qu'il est nécessaire de posséder le jeu original pour y jouer. Mais l'addition Galactic Civ + extension s'élevant à peine au prix d'un seul jeu du commerce, on lui crachera à la gueule, à l'homme de bien. Parce que ça suffit le snobisme à deux francs : durée de vie illimitée, mécanismes de jeux rénovés et contenus en perpétuelle mutation grâce aux liens tissés entre la communauté et le développeur, y a rien à redire, si on aime le genre, on sort la thune et on achète.
Dark Avatar takes an already great turn-based title and improves it significantly. All the changes are fairly minor in nature, but when taken as a whole, they serve to increase the playability of the title significantly, which will be a treat for longtime players and an incentive for new ones to hop aboard.
Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar makes enough changes to qualify as a full-fledged expansion, though you could be forgiven for not noticing most of them immediately. The new races aren't that much different from the old ones, the asteroid mining is a minor asset to your industrial sector and many won't play the new story based campaign for very long. But developer Stardock shows that if you add enough tweaks, you can force even veteran players to rethink their entire approach.