- They took an enormous risk on a genre that hasn't been successful in the US since 1994. (Civilization + Fantasy RPG)
The Age of Wonders series, for one, doesn't count?
Don't get me wrong--Elemental is trying to push the genre into new territory and is trying new things. But to say that it is resurrecting a genre which hasn't had a succesful release for a decade and a half is just not true.
- When RTS/Quick attention span incredibly popular (Starcraft II/Farmville, anyone?) they took a risk on a game with sessions lasting 10-15 hours.
Civ 5 isn't being looked upon by anyone as "a risk," and you're ignoring the relatively recent release of Disciples III, another turn-based strategy game.
- They built a turn-based CIV engine from scratch. (Didn't seen any licensing props in the credits...)
They're the only people to build their own game engine? Come now.
- When the overall market trend is towards pimping IP again and again ('oh boy, Peggle Carnival IV!!!') they invested in world creation.
I agree with this one without reservation. I'm sick of the current trend of milking existing IPs for all they're worth, and this unsettling new trend of making the large majority new release a sequel to something else.
- Most of the complaints seem either tech engine or balance related. (E.g. 'On my ATI 9200 when I alt-tab...' or 'Sovereigns should be able to defend at +1 vs..') These are the issues resolved without a hard release deadline. For all we know, half of these issues were spotted *last week* in the Beta.
Firstly, the tehcnical complaints are not minor, such as the game slowing down to a crawl even when playing off the cloth map on a modern system that excedes minimum requirements. Secondly, many of the gameplay complaints are likewise not about balancing but rather about fundamental flaws in gameplay. The ones that come most readily to mind are those regarding the flatness of unit design, i.e. how the only real strategic decision there is is whether the unit is going to be equiped with the best melee weapon or the best ranged weapon, and regarding how tactical combat is rather boring and really not neccesary.
- Robust DEV interaction since the beginning.
Yes, that is refreshing...
All this criticism is harshing my mellow. This is the core of a fine game-- and all of this reminds me of the noise around Sins of a Solar Empire at launch-- a game that became a classic after a single expansion.
Sins didn't need the first expansion to garner both critics' and players' praise. If it did, it wouldn't have gotten 87/100 on Metcritic, which reflects the general rating of a game upon its release.