I am one of those gamers who adored the gameplay and the depth of GC2, but who whished that the game had better graphics. Immersion is an important part of gaming for me, and the appearance of a game obviously can help a great deal to establish this immersion factor. Unfortunalety, the graphics of GC2 did not achieve much in this direction. Because of this, like many others I was thrilled by the news that there will actually be this next generation installment, which promised to change things usings modern methods.
I just now took my first look at GC3, and I have to say that I am more than a little suprised by its current looks. I don't want to (and can't) talk about deeper gameplay changes, but I can tell you what impression I had when I watched the first videos of it, and I am pretty convinced that even for a 4x game, the first impression is important: This game looks exactly like its predecessor! Yes, one can argue that this statement is of course nonsense, because there are some differences here and there, etc, etc. But overall, there is not really a step upwards concerning the appearance of this game noticable.
The planet maps are the same static images like in GC, they look like a board game from 1990, but not in any way like a user interface of a video game from 2014. How can this be? I am currently playing Imperium Galactica 2 on my phone (which achieves a nice immersion btw), where you can zoom in onto a planet (with a 3D model I might add) and build cities there. Not possible for GC 2014? And the star map does also not provide any significant changes either. Ships for example are still flying there zigzag routes (an absolute immersion killer). What, Really? I can not even imagine what the ideas of you guys where to rebuild the same game with the same looks 10 years later.
GC3 has been one of my most anticipated games lately, but frankly, at the moment my impression is that I do not know what this game actually adds to its predecessor, and I think there might not be a need to buy this directly after release. I could be that I will wait until the first good sale at steam.