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Galactic Civilizations III by Geoff Knorr, Michael Curran & Mason Fisher (Review)

posted Aug 30, 2016, 4:13 PM by Kaya Savas

Galactic Civilizations III is a new strategy game that is based on the concept of galactic expansion through different strategic approaches. While the games themselves are non-linear and don’t really focus on stories or characters, strategy games have a unique way of absorbing players into their own constructed narratives. The game should provide engaging strategy gameplay, but also have encapsulating art design, score and visuals that make it unique. Galactic Civilizations III unites the trio of Geoff Knorr, Michael Curran & Mason Fisher.

While it’s easy to dismiss all strategy game scores as “all sounding the same”, people who appreciate the amount of detail and immersion they provide will be rewarded with a very satisfying experience. Galactic Civilizations III is a long 2hr14min experience that does an admirable job of creating a sci-fi score that focuses more on grandeur and awe than say action warfare. Both Geoff Knorr and Michael Curran worked on Ashes Of The Singularity, which is another recent strategy game and you can definitely tell the difference in stylistic approach. I found this score easier to get absorbed into, because it really fit the format of a strategy game much better than a more action-oriented approach. Action scoring require progression and forward momentum, and should be rhythmic and melodic to hook the audience. Since you can’t really have forward momentum or tons of melodies in a score like this, that approach will already be less successful than with this more all-encompassing immersive scoring approach. Galactic Civilizations III does a wonderful job at building a big awe-inspiring sci-fi score with an orchestral feel vs retro synths. It balances quiet moments of exploration with robust air-filling music that truly envelopes you for a well-rounded experience.

Galactic Civilizations III is a very strong effort when it comes to strategy game scoring. The music builds some great motifs while creating a cohesive science fiction adventure that feels expansive yet intimate all at the same time. The balance of nuanced tracks with melodies that create intricate subtle emotional currents with the big orchestral feel of the large-scope tracks makes for a truly engaging and effective score.