Publisher: 2K Games–Price: $29.99–Civilization IV is a turn based simulation game where you create a colony, stage a revolution, and develop your new country (it’s modeled after the timeframe of the English Colonies). You start out with just a ship and a few colonists, and your initial goal is to explore the land around you. There are many tribes of natives already set up, and it is up to you whether you want to maintain friendly relations with them in order to trade or make a defensive pact, or declare war on them. As time goes by, you make new settlements, pick up colonists in Europe and expand your population, and ultimately prepare to rebel. The king of the motherland begins to ask for a hefty amount of taxes, and you’ve got to be ready to stage a revolution when the “rebel sentiment” in your colony reaches the 50% mark.
As I fired up this game, I didn’t realize how complex it would be. The screen seems to be plagued with buttons all over the sides, and to successfully play the game, you must know the usage of each one. The interface and the overall game concepts require quite the learning curve, though I for one understood the concepts as the game went on, thanks to Civilopedia (the game manual). I really liked Civilopedia, as it was easy to use, and provided simple and concise instructions on what to do in most situations of the game.
The realism of the game is quite amazing. Historically, nothing is fictional: from the rulers to founding fathers to all of the other famous figures in this game, everything is precise and true. People like Pocahontas and Adam Smith have a role in this game: which makes Colonization an educational experience. The graphics are superior: once I tweaked the settings to HD display and high quality graphics, it looked like I was part of the colony! I also enjoyed the portrayal of the King of France when I was in discussions with him, as well as some of the natives, but I was disappointed that lots of the icons and the people on the sides of the screen looked somewhat pixellated.
The gameplay of this game is complex, but very addicting as well. No matter where at what point in time you are, there’s always something interesting to do. Despite being able to choose “game speed” before starting, the game’s pace is still very slow, though, as it is turn based. This means that you have to push enter every time you want someone to do something. This makes sense if you’re playing online with other people, as it makes for a more organized game, but when I’m playing in antisocial mode (by myself) it seems redundant.
As you begin, there are many ways to customize your game: you can pick your country, your person, and the region your colony is in. This all makes for a good replay value. My reason to keep playing is that I’d like to win one of my revolutions against the king one of these days.
Overall, this game is pretty sweet. The concept is interesting, the graphics are narly, and the replay value is pretty good too. Some suggestions I have for the developers are to improve the graphics on the little things (like the faces of leaders when you speak to them), and to streamline the interface around the game (all of those buttons lining the edges of my screen made me claustrophobic). Other than that, the price for this game is agreeable, so I would definitely pick up this title is your like simulation games. 9 out of 10.