What more can one say about Sid Meier’s Civilization IV? Here’s an almost-four-year-old game
that manages to be every bit as addictive now as it was back then. This is turn-based conquer the world at its finest. That alone makes it worth a look today, but Civilization IV: Complete ups the ante by bundling both expansions, Civ IV: Warlords and Civ IV: Beyond the Sword
, for untold hours of gaming goodness. As a bit of icing on the cake, Complete also contains Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization, a remake of the classic given a Civ IV face lift. The only real question is: how many strategy fans haven’t picked up each of these titles already?
So what is offered in this compilation? First off, the original Civilization IV, which continues to gobble countless hours of my time. I’ve already reviewed this gem a few years back, so I won’t go into a great amount of detail here. Players take the helm of a newly-formed civilization and guide them from meager hunter-gatherer beginnings to the advanced space age. Through diplomacy, warfare, and technological advancement, players work to be the most successful Civ in the world. With a huge selection of randomly-generated world types, combined with oodles of leaders, civilizations, units, and technologies, this is a turn-based strategy fan’s dream. The base game alone could keep one occupied for years, either battling the formidable AI or (if one is lucky) finding worthy human opponents.
Next up is Civ IV: Warlords, which brings another heaping helping of goodness to the Civ IV table. More Civilizations and leaders, additional technologies and units, and a slew of extra scenarios are added to the mix. Warlords, as the name suggests, focuses on the combat side of things, making military conquests a bit more achievable. Warlords also adds the Great General unit, which can gather other units together in armies that can wreak havoc across the map.
Civ IV: Beyond the Sword, as I have attested to in my earlier review, focuses on the late-game aspect of Civ IV. Long after all the goody huts have been pilfered and most of the world’s terrain has been claimed, it’s time for the more subtle additions of espionage and mercantile might. Along with even more Civs, leaders, and units, Beyond the Sword gives the old technology tree a solid tweaking. In addition, Beyond the Sword introduces Corporations, late-game organizations that provide some interesting financial decisions in addition to allowing players to generate hard-to-get resources for a price. Along with all this comes even more extra scenarios for those times the sandbox game just isn’t enough.
Finally, Civ IV: Complete adds the classic remake, Colonization. Not a true expansion, this is a wholly different game with a Civ IV face. Players take control of fledgling New World colonies as they try to establish themselves and eventually rebel against their parent countries. Colonization differs from classic Civ IV in several ways: there’s no technology tree, there’s a limited unit selection, and much of the game is spent manufacturing goods to sell to Europe. Units are seldom built in the cities, but rather they are picked up and purchased from Europe itself. After a while, players must make the plunge to declare their independence, and then they must withstand the full wrath of their patron country. To make things more difficult, all this must happen before the other colonies uphold their own independence. Colonization isn’t as strong an offering as the rest of the titles in the Complete compilation, but it does add some nice variety.
Players that already have a few (or all) of these titles won’t find anything new here, so there’s no real reason for tried-and-true Civ IV fans to check this out. However, Civilization IV: Complete is a fantastic value for those who haven’t already taken the Civ IV plunge, as it offers gobs and gobs of awake-till-sunrise gameplay.