Sid Meier’s Civilization IV is the latest in the series of strategy games that lets you create and evolve a civilisation through the ages. It takes the already long and complex game to a whole new level. This version introduces new nations, such as the Arabians; new technology, such as paper; and new wonders of the world – try Hollywood on for size. It also brings new concepts, such as religion, into play.
The same functions from past games exist for each unit – move, sentry, skip turn, sleep, explore and automate. However there are some major changes.
The Civics screen is a more complex version of Civilization’s old government feature. Here you select the type of government, religion, and economic model practiced by your civilisation. Civics settings can simultaneously include Universal Sufferage, Nationhood, Emancipation, Free Market economy, and Judaism, for example.
Civilization IV also sports a new game engine with three-dimensional elements. When you engage in combat with an enemy unit, the normal birds-eye game screen zooms down to the action. During combat you’ll see the various motions, for example, the longbow-men will draw their arrows. However, there is no actual contact between units, and there is no combat sound, as there was in Civilization III.
Once your units have battled, new buttons let you upgrade them to give the units more experience points and other advantages. Another new addition to the game is an auto-save feature that saves the game at periodic points during gameplay.
Civilization IV is a complex game that has many different types of single-player and multiplayer options, including support for LAN, internet and Play-By-Email (PBEM) multiplayer capabilities. These options are cross-platform, so you can take on your PC-using friends. In addition, Civilization IV has scenarios (such as various World War II simulations) that can you can tackle should you want to try something a bit different from regular gameplay.
Even after having spent only a couple of hours with Civilization IV, we can already tell we’re going to like it even more than we did the previous three versions. It’ll take you dozens of hours before you’ve explored all the possible facets to this incredible game.