Now that I have had the Hard Cover Core Eclipse I & II Book for a while, I thought I would chirp in and review it in detail.
Ok, I am biased, I love Eclipse. Simple as that. The Hard Cover book makes it even better. I can lie in bed at night and read another section or chapter.
Aside from the awesome character creation, Eclipse also has an entire section on World Building.
Here you as the GM can design your world or even work with your players to build a world where everyone has a part of it.
For example, the ‘standard soldier’ in your world might not just be the cut and dry d20 fighter. Instead you can get a player to create a soldier. Not to play, but just as an idea of what a soldier should entail.
Another aspect is World Templates. I like this idea. Basic, universal ideas that cover the world as a whole and either make the game more ‘realistic’ or less dangerous or somewhere in between.
Example: The ‘Grim’ Template, limits all characters and for that matter npc’s humans, elves, orcs etc to 45hp and a max HD of d6. This means players really need to choose their fights and battles. As a GM you can further push this onto monsters as well. Limiting their HD to d6’s and lowering their Hit Points. (No I am not saying the mega lord of dragon should only have 45 hit points!)
Eclipse II, Librum Icarnum has endless ideas and builds for races and classes and examples of both good and bad builds as well as what to look out for if you are new to the Eclipse system as a GM.
All in all, 5 stars from me.