I recently picked up a copy of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. I’ve always been a Civ addict — you can find me after a week locked up in a dark room with only the light of the monitor illuminating my stubble-covered face, sweating in my boxers and mumbling, “I’ve got to fortify the northern rim!”
Anyway, for those who are wondering, yes, Civilization IV, the, um, fourth Civilization game, is a big step up from Civ 3. Although most of you are going to need a patch for it, as it considers my 2 GHz, 1024k RAM system “low-end”. The 1.52 patch at the Civilization website fixes that. Anyway, the interface now looks more like a RTS (real-time strategy — like Command & Conquer) than the old plain vanilla Civ interface. You can now zoom way in, zoom way out, the units are animated…and so on. It’s a little bit clunky, though.
As for gameplay, it’s mostly the same, although, mark this, I have not played the game for that long. New additions include religions and a much more complex political system. One feature they took away, which is unfortunate, is the ol’ aerial view of the city, where you could view the wonders you had built in your city and get a general idea of how big it was.
On the whole, yes, the new Civilization is a big step up in looks, and is much more complex (like it NEEDED to be more complex, though). I have not tried online gaming yet, as most of the time if I play a game online without pwning the computer AI, I get destroyed by legions of pimply-faced teenagers, and that’s not good for my UC Berkeley-educated ego.
Should you buy it? If you have the money and you love Civilization games, the answer is yes. Just make sure your computer can RUN the damn thing, first.