Well, yesterday I finally bought it and played a game.
My thought while playing it were basically "this is Gal Civ II". If feels like it, looks like it, plays like it.
Don't get me wrong, I have the highest respect for Brad and the entire Stardock team, but I don't think I'll be playing this game for long. It just lacks "the meat" to keep me interested longer.
The races play the same.
The ship designer is nice, but while you can visually create interesting ships, it amounts to nothing. You can painstakingly build an amazing design with turrets, and another person can just make a brick and put guns on it - the play the same. Those turrets won't turn, shoot or track. the only thing that has an effect in combat is how many modules of what type you place (where doesn't even matter. I can make a ship with guns facing backwards it will still act like the guns are front). And there is so little diversity to the actual modules/weapons you can put.
I have probably been spoiled by some other games* that pretty much did every aspect of GalCiv III better - be it ship design, combat, diplomacy, race diversity and palystyles. I quite literally cannot think of anything Gal Civ III does better.
*(Kinetic Void, Limit Theory, Sword of the Stars, etc...)
And yes, I realize combat isn't fully implemented yet, but I know how it worked in GC2 - it was pointless and not even that pretty to look at. Unless there is some drastic change (and judging form everything else in GCIII, I doubt there will be).
The game start is boring since you start with no weapons and thus no initial tension. I played the game on default setting, medium galaxy. I was never attacked. I was the one declaring war despite having a weak military, the galaxy being crowded, border tensions and no expansion room left.
All in all, I bought GCIII, but as it is now, it will just be an unused icon on my desktop. I haven't been this dissapointed since SOTS2 (but for different reasons. That one was bugged to hell)
Which infuriates me to a point, because I KNOW Stardock can do so much better. At least I have Sorcerer King to look forward to.