So...Galciv is a spiritual successor to MOO2 because they are both good games? That doesn't track.
Note I don't have a strong statement to make here -- never played MOO2, just played MOO3 and never even finished a game it was so awful. I fully understand that MOO2 was apparently far superior. In fact, people talk about it so much I wish somebody made a game that actually did intend to just be a faithful modern remake of MOO2, xenonauts-style.
I'm reminded of way back when Civilization III was announced, and there were vocal people arguing that Civilization II was almost the perfect game except that it should be real-time like Starcraft. Starcraft was a great game, Civ II was a great game -- they were different games and there's almost nothing either one needs to take from the other, even if they are both strategy games.
I have no doubt that a great game could be made with some similarities to GalCiv but with tactical combat. But I'm happy for Galciv 3 to be non-tactical. After all, the last turn-based Strategy game that Stardock made did have Tactical Combat (Elemental / Fallen Enchantress), and...I liked Galciv much much better. That game progressed over the years from "mind-boggling disaster" to mere "trivially-exploited buggy mess with interesting ideas and promise" over the years. Credit for trying to clean things up, but wow.
However, I am willing to bet a tidy sum on a hypothetical situation If tac combat had been included for Galciv3 I'm sure you would have all lined up to say what a brilliant idea it was, what a logical progression
If there was any way to take that bet I would. Even when I quite like the new game, I can still miss the old one. I liked Fallout: New Vegas but I'm really disappointed that it means we're probably not ever getting a Fallout 3 in the style of Fallouts 1 and 2 (hoping Wasteland is good). It's not always like Civ IV + expansions, which I felt was pretty much superior in all ways to Civ III + expansions and therefore obsoleted them (in turns, I did not feel Civ III was superior in all ways to Civ II). Hell, I'd take a proper GTA3 in the style of GTA2!
At the same time, some of my favourite changes were clearly not logical progressions. I'd never have played any game that logically followed from the original Saints Row. But Saints Row IV was, for me, an incredibly surprising piece of entertainment. I would never have bothered trying it if not for a steam free weekend SR3.