The fourth game in the turn-based strategy series by Firaxis
Windows XP / Windows 2000
Civilization IV is a strategy game that empowers game players to build societies over an elongated period of time. It is one part Sim City and one part Age Of Empires. The result is an amazing game that will captivate players across all demographics. Anyone who enjoys creating things, developing and incorporating strategy and exercising pseudo power will love this game. Thankfully, it has improved over its previous versions. There are very few frustrating artificial intelligence issues that are found in the the original three Civilizations. The game is vastly improved in all aspects and the results are spectacular.
While most Civilization players will enjoy the game for is actual game play elements that involve developing strategies to keep a thriving populace operating at peak efficiency, the game also succeeds in the graphics department. There is a totally new graphics engine that offers a different twist to the game's visuals in comparison to the previous Civilizations. This time around, the game actually feels real. It seems like the society that is being built is actually alive and spontaneous.
Players build societies with new interfacing elements that are simple to use. The user experience design of Civilization IV is second to none and this is a critical piece to a successful video game. Too many games have poorly designed interfaces with frustrating controls that negatively impact gameplay. Civilization IV is nearly a perfect game in all aspects. There's a number of unexpected surprises like the captivating voice overs from Leonard Nimoy. Players can even scroll over a part of the map's terrain to see numerous details like resource yields and defense bonuses. Fans of the series expected a good game this time around but some will be surprised at just how detailed and finely tuned this game really is.
One new twist for this version of the popular series is that the player's city's happiness and health ratings have been modified. When the city's pollution and population increase, the overall health rating drops. Players must devote resources to construct facilities that will improve the populace's health. These include buildings like hospitals and aqueducts. Or, they can devote food surpluses to boost health ratings. When citizens become too happy, the city won't just shut down like it did in previous versions. People will stop working but the city will still function, albeit in a limited manner. Players will love this change.
Civilization IV is so perfectly crafted that it is difficult to come up with any criticisms. It would be nice if the game made it loud and clear when opponents find a new religion or complete a wonder. Instead, these announcements are made on the side of the screen in very tiny text. The game needs more updates as to what rivals are doing. If this means a few annoying pop up notices, then so be it. Yet these are minor
(< ul >Civilization IV has superior graphics that will keep players entranced for hours on end. There's a wealth of gameplay options that allow players to focus on building different aspects of a society and empire. The non-linear "choose your own adventure" style of gameplay has nearly unlimited replay value. < li >)
(< ul > Game announcements regarding opponent achievements need to be more prominently featured. The game is so detail intensive that it has the potential to turn off some novice game players.< li >)