|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Firaxis||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 22, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
No one said making a colony was easy. Some native tribes will welcome you as best pals with open arms and can prove to be useful allies. Others will not take kindly to your trespass into their region, sparking wars in the process. You'll also come across other European colonists seeking to establish their own settlements in the newly trodden territory. You're free to choose whether or not to play nice or conquer them in battle. Each course of actions has its advantages and disadvantages, and taking a different tact on repeat playthroughs can yield slightly different gameplay experiences.
The game engine may now be a few years old, but Colonization is still a treat on the eyes and ears. A high level of zoom lets you survey the land from afar or get right down into the nitty-gritty. The land is nicely populated with shrubs, mountains, and other detailed land features, and the water effects are particularly impressive. Unit movements are well-done, and the game has an appealing level of polish. Battles aren't the most exciting affairs - they typically consist of opposing forces takings turns attacking the hell out of one another until someone drops - but the sounds are quite entertaining, and the animations are interesting.
For being greatly pared down from Civilization IV, Colonization belies an incredible amount of depth. At the same time there's a sizeable learning curve to overcome here, but the useful Civilopedia is an excellent resource for delving into the game's deepest facets Civ IV players will be ahead of the curve here, even though Colonization throws plenty of new ideas and content into the mix. With time and familiarity, the smooth interface makes micromanaging less painful than necessary.
The original design holds up surprisingly well over almost a decade and half's time. In this case, mixing old and new ideas proves to be an intoxicating concoction that fans of Meier's work and strategy gaming in general will likely consume gleefully. Colonization is far more than a simple mod or add-on; it clearly stands alone as a fully fledged blast from the past. This is one walk down memory lane you'll want to take.
CCC Staff Contributor