SidMeier's Civilization, set InSpace, with many many extra copout ways to win, which makes it much easier. But you can choose to play without them, and go for all out victory - which makes life much harder.
Or choose to play with them, but not take them. Then the AI has a chance to use them.
As I said - much harder ;)
Like all the civs, the computer openly cheats, and after a point starts to play to make your game hard, rather than continue realistic play. But it admits it is doing this.
Yep. The formulas are (mostly) written down in places. It does at times cheat more than it's telling you, though...
And to be fair, on the botton 3 (IIRC) difficulty levels, it cheats to make the game easier.
I don't actually like *any* of the civ games, so this may be a little harsh.
Let's see, what's good about the game. The graphics are excessively pretty - the animations when you invent certain technologies (TotalInformationAwareness springs to mind - wrong name but you know the animation I am talking about) are very very nice.
Techs - no. Secret Projects (the equivalent of Civ wonders) - yes. I can't think which you are talking about - describe the movie?
The computer controlled city erases a spraypainter from a wall. And then the spraypaint.
SelfAwareColony? IIRC and yes it's pretty. I prefer the quotes you get with new buildings and techs myself, they're occasionally very nice indeed ("I don't know but I've been told...")
Combat is a little more open - since you can choose to fight either with psi or with force.
Force, generally, is used, as Psi comes quite late game unless you're a green faction. OTOH, the fastest transcend ever was done by use of psi-power.
The 'the planet fights back' is an interesting idea - but quickly becomes pointless unless you play the gaiean route to victory.
Planet is sometimes the hardest enemy to defeat. A quick Empath and Trancing of your troops helps, but fungal blooms can spoil your production, and random mindworms really annoy your explorers early game.
What I meant by 'quickly pointless' was - "An interesting addition to the early game, but unimportant in the mid and late game" - and thus it becomes part of either the 'bad luck, impossible starting location' or 'use strategy A here' game, and is wasted.
Ecological warfare is another nice idea - but its execution is fatally flawed. Because weather systems are intrinsically unpredictable, if you make any terrain modification at all, you may as well count on every other civilisation getting angry with you.
TBH, very rarely does one use the terraforming model to hinder opponents. Never, however, underestimate the benefits of expanding you landmass, creating new rivers or raising your energy parks to silly altitudes.
Whoo, yippee, buildable upgrades by any other name. Yes, ok, I missed that out - it's in the game. But the warfare thing was the really really fun idea that just didn't pan out.
The 'buy my city' AI is improved, but still flawed. Helicopters are well broken. Nuclear diplomacy is funny, though.
Yep, choppers are silly. Occassionally the AI figures out how to use them too, and then it gets scary.
Underwater cities are another nice touch - giving yet another way to win (build all underwater then flood the planet) but this is more a silliness than a sensible play strategy. Although often a useful way to branch out.
Customising your units seems fun at first - but you quickly discover that it's wholly pointless - there are a few good combinations, and you stick to them.
Well, yes. To a degree. But almost every game, something comes along which requires a rethink on an old model. And hey - you can make Trance Formers!
And like all the civs, once you work out what the key technological advances and wonders are and get them first (several choices) the game becomes almost simple. And you choose which advancement path to play for when you start the game and choose your race.
Also true. Winning on Transcend is trivial after a while. However, a while is longer than in most Civs, and then you start on the insane challenges - OneCityChallenge?, FastestTranscend?, NomadChallenge?, etc - or you multiplay.
There's also (still) a vast amount of micromanagement.
Yep. What? You reckon this is a bad thing?
Um, of course. anything a simplex algorithm can do faster and better than me is something the computer SHOULD be doing for me. My attention span is short.
I guess that's as far as I can go. The new shiny things are new and shiny - but any gameplay improvements over civ1 are invisible to me. Mainly because I royally suck at civ1.
In addition to all the above responses, the game is hugely moddable. A lot of things are hard-coded, but more things aren't. You can rearrange the tech-tree to balance offensive and defensive techs. You can create new "default" units, and the AI will then build them. Every faction, which have unique advantages and disadvantages, can be edited - or new ones can be created. Numeric values can be tweaked, right down to base production of various tiles. This has been done, lots, by the fans, and in many cases the replayability has been significantly enhanced by boosting the AI's ability to use it's resources. For example, no AI ever thought of putting probe equipment (same as a Civ spy) on a ship. Humans did, and it gave them a huge edge. Put Probe Foils in the default unit section, and the AI cottons on. And is quite effective with them. Agreed. All the civs are moddable. I guess I must ask, since it seems to be a staple of all the other civs: Is there a 'war in middle earth' mod for AlphaCentauri, and if so - why? Often a source of JustOneMoreTurnSyndrome CategoryComputerGames