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I'm a fan of strategy games. Age of Empires, Civilization, Call to Power, Command and Conquer, the list goes on and on; I love them all, real time or turn based. And my love started with a simple yet engrossing game called Master of Orion 2. MOO2 remains one of my favorite games, and I experienced true euphoria when I saw it in the news release on gog's front page. I instantly whipped out my credit card, and eagerly awaited the download to finish.
From the quirky, futuristic music and sounds to the customizable ships, races, and colonies, this game has everything one could ever want or expect of a 4x stuffed into a simple and perfect package. If you've ever played a 4x game, you know what to expect: start out on your home turf, build up your starting turf while you explore you surroundings, colonize a few systems, meet the neighbors, get into an intergalactic war with your neighbors, destroy your neighbors and claim the neighborhood for yourself, rinse, and repeat until it's time to shower for work. You will get lost in this game.
The variety of races allows for many different gameplay strategies to be prospected, or you can customize a race to desired traits (somewhat rare for a 4x game I've found). Space battles can be either controlled by you the user, or left up to the game to decide. There can be multiple planets in a system, all available for settling, and later you can tweak the planets for optimum growth. There is a certain balance to the gameplay that keeps it from ever getting frustrating, and I find myself hard pressed to ever curse the game for allowing a cheap move.
I could go on with this giddy and shallow appraisal, but I can only skim the surface of how great this game is. If you're looking for a strategy game, end your search here. As an awesome bonus, the original Master of Orion is included, all for six bucks.