StarDrive 2 is a 4X strategy game that combines turn based play for most of the game but show a real time combat screen for ship battles, a change from the original title which was a 4X and real time strategy game throughout. The games different forms of life offer some good or amusing looking creatures and choosing one to play as will give you traits that can give you bonuses or penalties to different areas, such as combat, research, diplomacy, etc very similar to other 4X games in that regard. While there is diplomacy the game will gradually pull everyone towards war as the game is meant to be won when you are the last civilization, there aren't any diplomatic or tech based victories. To further that every populace is shown to be xenophobic through a tolerance meter that decides what kind of diplomatic options you can take with other races. One of the better features if the ability to customize your ships with different loadouts, weapons, power, etc, I have not played the original but people seem to be saying that the options are less than what was in the first game. There is also ground combat that is poorly handled and feels like an unnecessary thing for you to watch or have control over. StarDrive 2 isn't a bad game but other games in the genre have just done it better. The Digital Deluxe content includes a design journal and an art book with commentary on the game's art direction, both are nice to have if you have an interest in development or how decisions were made. Also included is the game's soundtrack, this includes some good tracks but it is fairly short. The price is reasonable if you have an interest in these things. The Shipyards Content Pack includes new additions for ship designs which includes 13 new hull choices, two that are new Titan class hulls, and each with a special passive ability. Also included are two new heroes and a new fighter and heavy fighter. This is a good addition as it mostly is made to improve on one of the better areas of the game, ship design. Sector Zero is the first expansion for StarDrive 2 with some of the biggest changes and additions being a hex style galaxy map, new victory conditions and reworked ground combat gameplay in addition to more of most everything else. The new map design is an improvement and the new ground combat system is more abstract and balanced. As for the new victory conditions, one of them is score based, your score is calculated over a number of turns based on different factors (which are told to you) and the person with the highest score wins, expansions victories happen when you control all special resource sectors, an ascension victory occurs if you have gotten the required research done and build the necessary building, all of these can be turned off if you want. The other additions just add more content to the game. This is a great expansion that greatly improves the base game.
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