Civilization IV Review

Civilization IV adds an entirely new dynamic to the gameplay by introducing religion. Certain technological advances trigger the founding of a great religion, and if your civilization makes the discovery then you have the option of adopting the religion. Adopting a religion allows you to build religion-specific temples which produce more culture and happiness in the cities in which they are located. Another benefit of adopting a religion is that the religion can spread to cities in neighboring civilizations, making them more susceptible to your influence. Also, it is easier to manage your diplomatic relations with civilizations of the same religion. The religion component of the game does not upset the balance of play and you can easily play a game without paying much attention to it – there is no religion-based victory option in the game. However, it does add an interesting aspect to the gameplay if you want to try and exploit it.

There are plenty of new improvements to build.
As in Civilization III, culture is important in the game as it drives the expansion of your borders and can even persuade foreign cities to join your empire without the need for you to sling an arrow or fire a shot. New in Civilization IV is the ability of civilizations with strong cultures to produce great people. These great people can emerge as artists, prophets, scientists, or military leaders that can be expended to produce a bonus for your civilization. For example, you can use the artist to create a masterpiece that dramatically increases the culture of the city in which it is created and as a result pushes your borders out farther.

Civilization IV has made your worker units even smarter. Not only can you specify starting and ending points for a road and leave them to connect all the squares in between, you can automate their actions to focus on a particular type of improvement such as fully exploiting the special resources that lie within your borders. There are plenty of new improvements from which to choose, including cottages that can grow into villages and towns and farms that can specialize in animal husbandry. If you liked building your empire before, you’re really going to love doing it now.

Civilization IV includes a multiplayer component that lets you put your civilization building skills to the test against other human opponents. Now games of Civilization can easily span multiple days and multiplayer games are no exception. To get around this kind of time commitment, multiplayer games have a persistent nature in which you can join and leave when you’d like. Computer players pick up for missing humans, or the entire game can be saved and picked up later when human opponents and friends are more readily available to play. Multiplayer can be fun, especially on small maps, but overall I still find the single player game to feel more epic.