Review: Civilization IV

Despite the redemption Civ V’s first expansion brought to this game’s sequel, Civ IV is still currently considered by longtime fans of Sid Meier’s popular franchise to be the best of them all. You get a complete game to start but the game’s two expansions (Beyond the Sword and Warlords) just makes gameplay even nore interesting. In fact, the Colonization remake included with the Civ IV bundle uses the Civ IV engine.

Let’s start with the basics in this review of Civilization IV and its expansions Beyond the Sword and Warlords. Puttting it mildly, Civ IV introduced a plethora of new gameplay options. A few noteworthy additions and changes include:

  • Religion: Six Religions–Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Bhuddism and Hinduism–are introduced to the series in this game. Due to the controversy the announcement of Religion having a role to the game caused when it was announced, the Religions are generalized and offer no distinction from each other. All of them do offer a boost to Culture and can effect diplomatic relations with other Civs. Civs with the same religion are more likely to be on friendly terms while civs with different beliefs are more likely to be at odds with each other.
  • 18 Civs in the base game, 10 added in Beyond the Sword and 6 added in Warlords for a staggering 34 Civs total. This is the most civs ever in a Civ series to date.
  • Multiple Leaders per Civ. For example America has Washington, Roosevelt and Lincoln while Russia has Peter, Catherine and (wait for it) Stalin. Each leader provides a distinct bonus for their civ depending on your playstyle so trying different leaders in the same civ is encouraged.
  • Homebrew Friendly: In fact, after you’re patched the latest update you’ll get several custom games to cut your teeth on.
  • Barbarian Cities: No longer content with just scattered nests, Barbarians can now have cities of their own. Simply revealing the world map won’t be enough to get rid of them. From these cities of chaos they seek to expand their influence while they descend upon unsuspecting Civs like locusts. How do you stop an enemy that knows nothing of diplomacy? With the point of a sword, of course.
  • Vassal/Puppet States: Arguably the most stressful mechanic introduced due to the attention to detail it demands. Sometimes a weaker Civ will offer to become your Vassal State in exchange for your protection. There are obvious benefits to this including deciding what your vassals should research and having a guaranteed ally the next time you go to war with another Civ. This is a double-edged sword: If your vassal ends up going to war with a rival Civ, you’re automatically at war with the opposing Civ!
  • The Diplomacy Function has been steeamlined so that opposing civs remember every good or bad thing that has happened between you.
  • Fast learning curve: While this is no doubt a Civ game the gameplay was steamlined so even a beginner would be able to play it.

I could go on. The game’s a work of art  Sid Meier himself narrates the Tutorial. I bought the Civ IV Collection for $20 retail. Overall I give Civ IV including the expansions a 10/10. You can pick how you win and how you go about doing it.

Before I let you go here are some protips should you pick up this game or recently did:

  • Press CTRL + W to open Map Editor Mode (doesn’t work in Multiplayer, can be locked in Single Player if desired). From here you can do all kinds of game-breaking stuff such as place or remove resources, villager huts and units, delete or create cities and buildings, add or remove landmasses and watermasses  and other fun stuff. Not reccommended if you’re playing Civ IV for the very first time.
  • The Civ that founds a religion willhave the religion spread to nearby cities in their Civ unless they’ve researched the Priesthood Tech (Enables Missionaries), in whihc case they will get Missionary.
  • In Beyond the Sword, if most of the Civs have the same religion the founding Civ can unite them all akin to Crusades-Era Europe by building the Apostalic Palace (Parellel of The Vatican, World Headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church).
  • Be carful if you chose to raze an enemy Civ’s city: Sometimes enemy units will spawn on the spot after having seen their home destroyed!
  • As always: Building Walls prevents Culture Flips until Mass Media is researched by someone (hopefully you).
  • As in past Civ Games, keeping your cities well-guarded with military Units discourages war-happy neighbors from starting a war with you. The only time this isn’t true is if you’re on the verge of winning the game and they want to stop you (obviously).
  • Since the Capital City is whichever city has the Palace (only one city per civ can have this at a time), one can move their capital if they have cities spread out to help distant cities get a boost in Culture,  etc.
  • An Economic Victory is achieved by Building the World Bank after having raised over 500,000 Gold. Once it’s built you automatically win the game.
  • A Technological Victory is achieved by launching a spaceship to Alpha Centurai. You must still have control of your capital city by the time the ship arrives at its destination. The Space Elevator Wonder cuts the turn and resource cost of building Space Ship Parts in half.
  • A Diplomatic Victory is achieved by being voted U.N. Secretary General by Majority Vote after the the United Nations Wonder is built. You do not need to build the UN yourself. The Civ with the most resources has the most votes. Having Puppet/Vassal States on your side helps. Once you win the Election you automatically win the game.
  • A Domination Victory is achieved by capturing ALL opposing Civs’ Capital Cities. If you have Total Domination Checked, simply taking/destroying all opposing Civs’ cities won’t be the end of them. Any remaining military units will continue to fight on until they are destroyed.
  • A Time Victory is automatically achieved if you hold most of the world’s resources by 2050. I usually disable this one personally so that the game keeps going until one of the other four victories has been attained. I like my victories to be clean!

As of 11/10/2012 I now have Civilization V and its expansion Gods & Kings (bought via Steam). A First Impression Review is going to be coming soon don’t worry.

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