Civilization IV Review
Rare is the game with a “IV” at the end of its name. There just aren’t that many game series with a design that stands the test of time and that can keep bringing players back for each new version. Well standing the test of time is something that is right up Civilization’s alley. What better game to do so than one that spans the entire history of mankind from the Stone Age to the Space Age and beyond? Now we find ourselves on the threshold of a new age with the dawn of Civilization IV. Will it join its predecessors in the annals of history as a new classic? The short answer is “yes”, for the long answer read on…
|A thriving civilization.|
On the whole Civilization IV is a lot slicker and faster playing than its predecessors. This is not to say that it is a shallower game – the opposite is probably true. Rather, the interface has been streamlined and the dead time spent waiting for the computer-controlled civilizations to make their moves has been reduced. The move to true 3D graphics has helped with empire management by making it possible to zoom in on your cities or pull the camera all the way back to view your empire from space – not even to mention how good everything looks on the colorful and animated world map. You can manage your cities’ production queues right from the world map, and icons on the map let you see the status of your cities at a glance. When an event occurs in one of your cities that is currently offscreen, an icon appears on the edge of the screen to let you where to quickly find the event if you need to respond to it. All of this means less time spent popping in and out of detail and graph screens and more time spent planning your strategies. The detail and graph screens are there if you need them, but you only have to visit them if you really want to do so.
The game’s combat system has been reworked to prevent the infamous “spearman defeats tank” scenario that could occur in earlier games in the series. In addition, as units win battles and gain experience they will receive upgrade awards. These upgrades give various bonuses to your unit such as greater strength while fighting in the mountains or the ability to heal other units away from your cities. Since you’ll be given a choice of upgrades when a unit levels up, you can customize them to fit your play style or suit your current needs. The battles themselves even look better in Civilization IV – the camera zooms in on the action and you can watch the animated fight as it is waged.