Review by The Reichman
Just.... one.... more.... turn....
For anyone who remembers playing the original Civ I, this review is for you. I played Civ I years ago, and have loyally followed the franchise to Civ II (Gold Edition, and Test of Time), Civ III (Play the World, and Conquests), as well as picked up Colonization and Alpha Centauri. So let me assure you, if you liked any of those games. The latest edition of Civ won't disappoint you.
The new features are great. Religion adds another interesting variable into the mix. The AI is vastly improved over Civ III's they go to war, send one stack, and that's it.
Unit combat is a bit more complex, though you may still find a spearman beating a tank, in the corner of the screen before you attack it will calculate the mod strength of both units and you can see WHY you're losing. I found the defensive bonuses to be a bit too strong, but it just means you have to put more thought into attacking. Don't expect 1 tank to take over an entire civ. War is not to be taken lightly in this game.
The little features though is what really get you involved. There are more resources, more variations in units. Gone is the 1 off / 2 def spearman. Now there is the 4 strength spearman with a 100% defensive bonus vs. mounted units. Diplomacy is now deeper. Your choice of improvements is deeper then road, railroad, irrigation, and mining. You can now build cottages (which become small towns that increase income), You can build mines, farms, roads, railroads, quarries on stone and marble, mines on copper, gold, silver, and iron, camps on fur sites, wineries on grapes, herding sites on sheep and horses. The game removes the tedious micromanagement requires in previous games and gives a more fun way to specialize what you want your civ to do. Want to make a load of money, build cottages everywhere. Want a lot of food for fast growth, build farms every where. You can focus one city on production and another on culture. That may sound complex, but it's really not.
The new civic option is also a great feature. Instead of just having a government with its plusses and minuses. You can mix and match. Want state owned property with a representative theocratic government and slavery? Then go for it! Some Civics let you focus your civ on war, others on peace and research.
Music 10/10 - Too bad I can't give it something higher. The music is just incredible. I don't normally gush about music in games either. But some of the tracks you can just hear the traces of the original Civilization song that played on the Menu screen. You get chills just hearing it.
Sound Effects 10/10 - The Russian units, speak Russian. The German units, speak German. The Spanish troops, speak Spanish... you get the hint. The detail on sound effects is amazing. Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) also lends his voice to the game reading a little blurb every time you discover a new tech.
Graphics 9/10 - The game is beautiful, the graphics are great. Though some people have posted that they are causing slow downs, I didn't have a problem on my 2gig Pentium 4, 1gig of Ram, 128mb radeon 9600. But keep that in mind. The wonder videos are okay looking, though not really great. At least they are in this version though (unlike Civ III).
Replayability - 10/10 - So many choices of civs, leaders, victory types, and over 26 different kinds of worlds to play on. As any civ player knows, no two games are ever the same. Civ IV delivers on the same promise.
Overall, 9/10. a 10/10 is perfect, and nothing is perfect, though Civ IV comes close. Anyone who's enjoyed the other Sid Meier games will feel right at home with Civ IV. New players need not be intimidated; the game is easy to dive into whether you're a Deity or a Chieftain.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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