General is a turn-based strategy game with macromanagement elements. Aside from being a Risk-type game, you get to manage your population and other resources. Your success will be based on how you allocate your people and on which technologies you choose to concentrate on.
Gameplay-wise, the game is very deep. There are several factors you have to consider within a turn, from how many units of grain you wish to sow (which is the main money-maker of the game), to how many scientists/soldiers you recruit. Add to that the decision on when you are going to attack the other countries bordering yours, and we have the recipe for an in-depth turn-based strategy game. And you have to attack the other countries; land resource is important (as you need it to sow grain, to generate money), and the only way to gain land is to attack others.
The AI is reasonably smart. Even in Normal mode, you can expect to be challenged. It has Multiplayer over the internet and over the LAN, too! I tried it over the LAN and I must say, it is fun. It can only be frustrating when your opponent takes too long to make a decision, but it comes with the genre (turn-based). I have not tried the Internet play experience, but judging from the active website and the huge community (they even have a high-score ladder), it is very fun and active. This greatly increases its replayability.
Sound-wise, it is nothing much. It only has a MIDI track that loops in the background. But these types of games do not really need sound effects.
Graphics wise, I have to be honest; it looks more like a spreadsheet program than a game. But again, since it is turn based, it doesn't really need the fancy graphics. In fact, the "spreadsheet" type setting is essential to present to you the data to make your decision. It does the job very well. I especially like the battle summaries it presents when a battle occurred, as it is very detailed, and will help you make the decision of retreating or battling on.
All in all, the General is a great experience. It does the job it says it does and does it well. If you can look past all that "spreadsheet" data and try playing it against someone over the Internet or LAN, you might just get hooked.