real civilization, the PC version of Civilization
just keeps getting better and better.
by Mike Chasselwaite
10, 2006 - Virtually
everything that you loved about the Civilization series
has been improved in the new Civilization IV. Built
on the same great foundation, Civ IV is faster and
deeper. With new additions to combat, diplomacy, technology,
multi-player modes, the all-new religion element,
and the fact that some games can be completed in about
an hour, there's no reason not to become civilized
are welcome but should be warned about the learning
curve. Even those that have been through the last
three versions will recall that the first game wasn't
exactly a cakewalk. You're going to have some learning
to do but you can set the options in the game to make
things less complex when you start out. If you've
got a friend or an internet geek willing to explain
things to you it will make it a lot easier to get
into deeper territory. With millions of Civilization
fans, and gleefully helpful nerds out there, a tutor
shouldn't be hard to find.
is truly a great game but before I gush all over it
let me get a few of the negative aspects out of the
way. As usual the interface is still a bit of a mess.
There are various layers and windows that aren't exactly
intuitive to access. Although you certainly get used
to it, it adds another level of confusion for the
beginner to navigate. There are key shortcuts that
the vet will still be able to access but it can be
a daunting task to commit to memory if you're just
a casual gamer.
Historical accuracy has been forsaken in exchange
for faster paced gameplay. Epochs will fly by with
little regard for period-specific technologies. Few
will argue with the hastened pace but just in case,
there is the normal epic mode for purists that want
to take their time.
game begins by setting you up as a world leader. You
could be Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Catherine
the Great, Gandhi, Julius Caesar, Gengis Khan, Qin
Shi Haug or Bismarck, to name a few. There are 18
civilizations and some will have two leaders to choose
from such as the U.S. which offers both Washington
and Roosevelt and England which offers Queen Elizabeth
and Queen Victoria.
ultimate goal as leader is to rule the world. There
are several ways to accomplish this: Through military
might; technological development or diplomatic means.
Unlike previous versions, technically advanced civs
will have the upper hand in warfare over less developed
civs. Each civ's army is rated by the same arbitrary
strength meter. This ensures that a caveman throwing
stones is no match for a machine gun. This is something
that should have been cleaned up in the second game.
progression of a society from its founding to world
domination can be sped up. There is less micromanagement
to deal with if you choose. Although factors such
as resources, finance, construction, moral and religion
still affect your civ's progress - or lack thereof
- many of these elements can be taken care of by the
AI. You will receive alert messages indicating when
buildings have been constructed, when scientific discoveries
have been made and when you've passed into a different
time period. Just keep throwing various points into
these areas and they will virtually take care of themselves.
has a few new features. Not only will you continue
to trade with your neighbors but the new border system
allows you to maintain relations with good neighbors
while blocking questionable or untrustworthy nations.
You can keep your borders open to friendly nations
and close them to suspicious ones. In this way you
can watch the development of the other civs without
fear of invasion. But if you don't come to the aid
of your allies it may come back to haunt you in later
developments as they will remember that you didn't
offer them help when they were in need.
is a new inclusion. There are seven different faiths
available. To make your civ run smoother it's advisable
to convert your population to one faith. You can even
try to influence your neighboring nations to convert
to your faith through the use of missionaries that
can be sent out on your civ's behalf. Cites in harmony
with the state religion will erect temples which will
produce gold that goes to the founding Holy City,
so you can see that having other nations producing
gold for you would be a very sound financial move.
an organized religion will make the inhabitants happy
and more productive. It will also help to expand and
expedite your civ's cultural development as the building
of temples will generate more cultural points. On
the other hand, a conquered nation with a different
state religion will be very unhappy and harder to
control. While religion will never be a deciding factor
in your ability to rule the world, like a bonus feature,
it can help you get there a little faster and also
adds another layer of strategy to the gameplay.
good "bonus" feature is the ability to generate
"great" people from your population. These
great people may be artist, military leaders, scientists
or prophets. Their works or deeds can expand your
borders and give you a healthy increase in cultural
development points to let your civ zoom to the finish
of the civs start out with the same advantages and
disadvantages. The going is slow at first but picks
up speed based on your strategies. Working units aren't
restricted to repairs but can produce revenue-generating
projects such as farms, banks, hydro stations and
supermarkets. Other buildings such as hospitals, theatres,
libraries, laboratories, jail, lighthouses, castles
and walls will educate, heal, entertain, protect your
population as well as and advance various disciplines
such as science and art. You only have so many points
to work with so you have to choose your strategy carefully.
saving production points over turns you can amass
quite a quantity of them to construct wondrous monuments
such as Mount Rushmore, Stonehenge, The Eiffel Tower,
the Pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the
Colossus. These wonders will commemorate the success
of your civ. In this version you really have to think
before you commit to such undertakings. Production
points used in the construction of such a wonder cannot
be transferred to another project should you change
your mind midstream.
AI programming for the other civs is much more realistic
than the previous Civ versions. They aren't as prone
to cheating and won't immediately attack your most
vulnerable areas. They react a lot more, paying attention
to developments and not just lunging ahead. It appears
that decisions are more calculated. But if you want
to play with humans there couldn't be any more options.
You can play online, LAN or via email and multi-player
hotseat. The quick-game option ensures that games
won't last days, as some games can be completed in
a couple of hours or less.
Nimoy narrates the game. His authoritative voice commands
respect which manages to bring the game's status up
a few notches - even if it is just perceived status.
There are different musical themes for each civ which
are well recorded and perfectly suited for all nations.
Unfortunately the music loops and Nimoy's narration
is repeated for every game.
improved graphics make this the best-looking Civ game
yet but it's still not amazing. The portraits of the
leaders come to life but their outfits don't change
with the times. The combat animation is much more
fluid but there are times when clouds will spoil your
view. You can zoom in and out. You can zoom so far
out that you can see the entire planet. This allows
you to keep your sights set on your ultimate target.
IV is definitely one of the best strategy games of
all times. Following three other classics in the series
it has a great pedigree and manages to uphold the
tradition of great gaming set forth by its predecessors.