Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Let Us Sheathe Our Swords In The Beating Hearts Of Our Enemies

Civ IV

So I've had a few games of this now and I think I'm ready to make a judgment. With an indepth strategy game like this one it can often take a long time to really get to know all its ins and outs, so my opinion may change in time but for now I'm very happy with it.

Civ 2 is one of the best games ever made, no question. A completely open ended strategy game that allowed you to govern a nation from the dawn of history through to the modern era, its endlessly addictive gameplay has stolen many days, nay weeks, of my life over the years. Civ 3 was released a few years ago and while it updated the graphics very nicely, some of the new gameplay changes didn't work so well. With Civ 4 they seem to have used Civ 2 as a model and either rolled back the changes from Civ 3 or tweaked and updated them.

There are relatively few completely new features. The major one is religion, which affects the attitude of other nations towards yours. It doesn't actually come into play a lot, but it introduces a fun element by allowing you to send missionaries into neighbouring nations in order to convert them.

The 'great leader' concept from Civ 3 has been kept, but significantly changed. Rather than either being used to stack military units or finish wonders, the new ones are purely non-military and come in a range of roles, such as great merchants and great scientists.

The culture concept has been kept virtually unchanged from Civ 3, as it was easily the best innovation from that game. It's always been a hell of a lot of fun to watch an enemies cities flip over to your possession with no military effort required on your part, but it's still very hard to do on the higher difficulty settings.

Civ 4's similarity to Civ 2 has meant that the novelty has worn off quite fast for me. That doesn't mean it's a bad game at all, it is in every way an improvement on it's predecessors, and far better than the disappointing Civ 3. I'm sure I'll be playing it more in the future but for now I've moved onto my other pet obsession, overblown Japanese RPGs.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Handy trick with religion... If there are two neighbouring Civ's with a different religion they will eventually go to war with each other. It always happens (just like real life).

Make it your goal to make sure everyone is a different religion to bog your competitors down in a quagmire of endless religious wars :)