The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
I have spent the last two days (and nights), racking my mind to think of a product to write an opinion on that will earn me a few pennies. I thought to myself that fifty-one opinions about this game would definitely not be enough, so I sat down to have my say on one of the all time great games for the PC. This is not a definitive review because there is a rather strict limit to the length of opinions, so I will write about bits and bobs that are quite important to the game.
I would guess that almost everyone has heard of Civilization. A turn based game, in which you take control of a band of wandering Nomads and proceed to build an empire from the ground up (literally).
As far as the minimum specification goes, You can run the game on Windows 95b/98/98se/ME. You need a Pentium 166Mhz or faster system with 32mb of Ram. A 4mb-video card is required and a soundcard is useful. You also need an 8 speed CD-ROM. As usual, the better you system, the faster the game will run.
I have never been fond of shoot-em-up games like Quake because I have the reflexes of a retarded sloth and rarely get past the first level without dying. For me, a turn-based game is essential, as I prefer to consider my course of action and plan for future turns. Civilization 2 has remained on my shelf of most played games because it is a rare turn-based game that encapsulates many of the things that are good about strategy games.
Following the simple installation process, you are presented with the menu screen that allows you to start a new game, load a saved game or edit the options. When you start a new game, you are presented with a plethora of set-up choices with which to customise the game to your personal taste. You choose a race to represent, from Scottish to Zulu. You then choose the type of icons that will denote you on the game screen. You also pick the type of world you will live on and set the number of opponents and the amount of barbarians that appear from time to time. You even get the chance to dabble with the rules of the game before you start.
Once you have gone through the set-up phase, you will be presented with the game screen. In the centre of the screen, you will find you nomads, surrounded by a vast swathe of undiscovered blackness. As the game progresses, you will need to send military units out into the great unknown to discover new places to settle and enemies to either trade with or defeat.
To the right hand side of the screen, there is a panel that contains a mini-map that shows how much of the world you have discovered. This map provides a convenient way to quickly jump to different parts of the world. The lower half of the panel contains information about the currently selected square and any city or unit that is occupying the space.
The panel is one of the parts of the game that I like a lot. It is useful while being unobtrusive. Other information on the panel includes how much cash you have, as well as an icon that displays the progress of you research projects.
When you build a city, your nomads settle down to cultivate the area around the city and build it up to be profitable and nice place to live. Of course, you will have to give the right instructions to ensure that you cities are profitable but you have a group of five advisors who are always on hand to point you in the right direction.
The five advisors are Military, Trade, Science, Diplomacy, and Public Relations. The way I play, the Military advisor is always demanding extra units, but I focus on building up my city to make lots of profit and science points. I aim my research towards trade objectives and things that allow me to do even more research per turn. The science advisor tells you how your scientific achievements compare with those of your opponents. The trade advisor spends most of his life begging for more caravans, while the diplomacy advisor is on a never-ending quest for diplomats. My public relations advisor ask for more taxes to go towards luxuries at the start of the game, but I ignore that and build up my treasury. When you get a different government like republic, later in the game, the citizens become happier and I can use some of my vast wealth to buy a coliseum if they riot.
That is the main drawback, as far as I can see. While the game is all about juggling resources, I find that if you push for profit, the other things can be sorted by throwing some excess money at the problem, be it a new military unit to put down a riot or to buy a building. Who says that money can’t solve everything. You can even use money to stop a stronger opponent from attacking you for long enough to shore up defences.
As well as buildings, you can build wonders of the world. These are very expensive and time consuming to construct, but they offer you various benefits. If you choose wisely, You can gain significant advantages over your opponents.
A little tip, build the great wall as soon as it becomes available. When you have this, all opponents have to offer peace in negotiations. I use this to my advantage and capture a city, then talk to them to get peace while I move on to my next target unopposed.
If you pursue a strategy that leaves you trailing in the technology race, then you should aim to build the Great Library. This wonder allows you to have any technology that is known to two other races at no expense. This is particularly useful if you are playing against a large number of rivals. You can afford to move money from science towards luxuries or to build up your military might.
Combat is a major downside in the game. I cannot stand the fact that my opponents can destroy my tank with their feeble looking archers. Of course, most people will say that this has been cured in newer releases of the game. I have tried playing Call to Power but have found it to be very complicated to play.
A point that will no doubt be in every other opinion is the fact that the graphics are decidedly average. No 3d rendering, just a standard 2d isometric world that would never win an award for artistic beauty. It has been said over and over again though, that Civilization is not about the graphics, it is the game-play that is important. I agree totally that the game-play for any game is of the utmost importance, but being the sequel, I would have expected substantial improvements to the graphics, even later versions have the same poor graphics. If more effort was put into the aesthetics of strategy games, there might be a greater following and therefore more sales.
Overall, this is an all time great game but with (albeit minor) flaws that if corrected in the future, could make Civilization the greatest game of all time, bar none. It's good value too, being a budget game.
So why am I giving only three stars to this great game??? Simply because everyone else seems to be giving it four or five stars and I wanted to be different. Not really, I am giving three stars because of the graphics and combat, but it is also coupled with the fact that Civilization 2 is getting older and it has more advanced siblings.
Dedicated to Angusreid (who was bored and wanted something new to read).