I have about 24 hours in this game, and I haven't played it for at least for months by the time I am posting this, so some of what I am about to say might be a bit...dated.
If I were to give this game an elevator pitch, it would be "Imagine a game that has combat-focused civ 5 gameplay with Warhammer 40k flavor."
This game...is good. Not great, not bad, just...good. Remember Ross's review of Test Drive 3? The part about each good element in the game having a bad counterpart? It is like that, but for my tastes, the good outweighs the bad.
Let's start with the bad:
---Fucking overpriced DLC. $15.00 for one faction? What are you, Total War? The factions they take out are not minor, either. Tyranids and fucking Chaos Space Marines. What the fuck, guys!
--I really only think the AI is challenging if you give it cheats. Some people disagree with this. They were *BLAMMED* for arguing with a superior.
--"Campaign" is just skirmish with quests
--Quests are frustrating and not rewarding to accomplish. I turned them off
--No voice acting
--City building is on the shallow side
--Late game you are left with fuck-all to do except spam out dudes, move previously spammed out dudes, and shoot shit. This wouldn't be a problem except that...
--Combat is about twice a deep a Civ 5, but Civ 5 is INCREDIBLY shallow. So the combat is still shallow, with obvious right and wrong answers to problems.
--At times you feel like an advanced janitor, sweeping mindlessly through hordes of AI units
-Very little faction customization (I want to play as the Death Korps as I run mindlessly into orcs. I cannot do this. This makes me a sad member of the Commissariat)
-Gun sounds become so repetitive you will want to rip out your ears. Turn that shit off, and blast some Sabaton. This method works doubly well if you are playing Space Marines or Imperial Guard. It is also doubly necessary, as I find their weapons have more in common with the weapons found on noise marines than standard issue firearms.
-No diplomacy. I do not mean to suggest actually engaging in any sort of peace with the filthy xenos, but I would enjoy the option to denounce them to their face. I supposed mass las gun fire will have to do
-Bad UI. Makes me feel ill. As a matter of fact, the art direction in this game makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. It is just that bland. I am not sure what the problem is, to be honest.
I know that sounds pretty damning, but here is what is good about the game:
++++C U S T O M I Z A T I O N. For me, this cannot be overstated. It is fantastic. You can change map size, map width, map height, frequency of artifacts, neutral monsters, frequency of terrain, types of terrain, factions in combat, faction difficulty and bonuses, can name units, and more. I have not seen a 4X game with more customization than this. It may exist, but I have never heard of it. You wanna play in a map with nothing but plants covered in razors? You can do that. I did that. It was glorious.
+++More love for the robot xenos
+++Feels like a brutal war set in the 40k universe
+++All factions are incredibly unique and play entirely differently, even without quests.
++Easy to understand mechanics
++Has a least a little tactics involved with combat. It is not much, but it is better than the Civilization games in this regard.
++Nails the flavor for each of the factions.
++All units have a purpose and remain relevant throughout the game.
++Getting to the part of the game where you can start spamming out your favorite dude and march them across the map is incredibly satisfying, but staying in that state for 50+ turns makes you wish for something to make your conquest go faster.
+The texts above each of the units is quite amusing, and helps immerse you into the game
+Plenty of "Oh...shit." moments when you walk into an ambush or a particularly strong neutral monster.