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Civilization IV PC Review - -

Gameplay 9.5
Graphics 8.6
Sound 8.3
Value 9.4
Distributor: Take2 Interactive
Review Date:
November 2005
Andrew B


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Civilization 4

Sid Meierís Civilization is a turn-based strategy game that challenges players to build and expand an empire, throughout all of human history and become the most powerful ruler in the world. Choose one of 18 nations to lead and go head to head with some of the most famous leaders in history. Each civilization has its own special characteristics - some are fairly peaceful, while others are expansionists and conquerors. Youíll battle your foes with a huge arsenal of weapons, beginning with primitive archers and warriors, then catapults, knights and frigates, and eventually with modern tanks, submarines, mobile infantry, helicopter gun ships, stealth bombers, and nuclear weapons. However, Civilization IV is more than just a great combat game: you can also achieve victory through diplomatic cunning, cultural or religious alliances, and technological dominance.

The Civilization series is one of the most defining and definitive strategy games of the 20th century that is also the best work of gaming genius Sid Meier. Originally the title started as a 2D strategy game that gave the player the chance for world domination which started with the earliest civilizations known to man to the final frontier... the conquest of space itself.

Sid Meier bests explain the current incarnation of Civilization as an elaborate board game that will have you leading your people from the ancient times into the modern day and age, advancing its culture, military, economy, and religion, while fending off attacks and using cunning diplomacy to gain more influence and territory in the world.

It should also be noted that Civilization 4 is not just a 21st century port of the original game but has been redeveloped from the ground up that contains a beautiful 3D engine, new multiplayer options and also new gameplay modes.

Developers Firaxis have also done a brilliant job at not only keeping the original elements of the series but also evolving them into something unique. The tedious aspects of the previous series have also been revamped or totally removed, that assists in keeping the gameplay of the title quite smooth and exciting. Governments, religion and city-ecospheres are the key improvements to the title which also play a huge influence on your countries ability to survive and prosper.

Gone are the fixed governments of the previous series that have now been replaced by customized governments that are now linked into five categories that include government, legal, labour, economy and religion. Players can now mix and match between these categories in order to create their own ideal of civics that can range from anything from free markets, slavery, emancipation or free speech. As with the previous titles, these civics are unlocked when the player researcher these ideals and when researched, they can then be implemented into their society. There are also a variety of new diplomacy options and also some great attention to detail in your research areas such as creating great works of art.

Another impressive feature of Civilization 4 is the advent of religion that now plays a huge role in the game. Depending on your culture, building the wrong churches or temples near the borders of your adversaries may cause you to lose your cities. Buddhism, Christianity or Islam... Civilization 4 has seven real-world religions for your own delusions of grandeur. It would have been interesting if players could create their own religion as with civics but I'm sure this will be addressed in the next incarnation of the Civilization franchise.

Combat in Civilization 4 is similar to the previous title but units now have the ability of over 40 different promotions that go a long way in creating the basics of order in your civilization. By promoting the right units to power, this will ensure that your cities are well protected from resurgences and enemies. Although combat plays a huge role in the game, it would have also been nice to have different battle formations for your units, especially when you have a cross-match of different units but apart from that, everything from Knights to jet planes can be created in this game to protect your lands and also invade neighbouring lands.

Graphically, Civilization 4 has received a much needed facelift as it now supports a fully 3D gaming engine that allows you to zoom around the gaming environment with some exceptional 3D graphics. There are also a variety of special effects from Hollywood style explosions to realistic lighting and water effects.

It should also be noted that Civilization 4 has a more real-world feel to it as maps are no longer 2D as everything has a more spherical feel it, so zooming all the way out, above the clouds lets you have a satellite view of the Earth. The ambient soundtrack of Civilization 4 fits the genre perfectly and match that with some realistic sounds and you'd be forgiven to think that you are a god who is overseeing his or her people.

The title also features an impressive multiplayer option that gives the gamer access to a plethora of different access options such as LAN, internet and even e-mail play. Apart from your standard "Death match" options, Civilization 4 also allows for team play that gives the player the option of forming not only alliances but also their troops and resources.

In conclusion Civilization 4 features some great innovations that almost puts this game on par with the original game and if you're looking for one of the best strategy games of this year and probably this decade, then you better put this game on your wish list. Perfect gameplay, beautiful graphics and a relatively easy to learn game engine, Civilization 4 is a must have!


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