For the three (3) of you who haven’t heard of Civilization before, let me explain. It’s all about guiding a nation through history in an intuitive turn based fashion. You’ll start from the stone Age, research yourself to literacy and the Bronze Age and keep expanding, building and fighting until your civilization reaches the stars or global domination (or, of course, until you get pulverized). On your way you’ll build wonders of the world like the Pyramids, you’ll explore and tame the land and maybe even lead a workers’ revolution. By the time you reach Civ greatness though, you will be nothing more than an empty shell of a human being. You’ll be thousands of hours closer to your death. This game is the greatest and most addictive time sink ever created.
Beside the three (3) aforementioned weirdos, the rest of the world should be happy to know that moving on to Civ 4 is definitely worth it. This seems to be the best Civ ever, even though no one can be absolutely sure unless two or three more years pass. Civ 4 sports a brand new 3d engine that can run decently on almost any modern PC or Notebook. It also features a new simpler but more tactical combat system, a never seen before government system, new religions that actually play a role (monasteries, prophets and missionaries are included), a faster game engine, decent (playable) multiplayer, new Wonders, Great People (something like wonders… but… ahem… in the guise of people), a richer tech tree, a beautiful soundtrack and an amazing attention to detail. Mr. Meier has also included the necessary modding tools that guarantee a torrent of interesting mods and free expansions.
A great game all in all. Great but obviously not groundbreaking. Civilization 4 is an excellent Civ, but even a moderately experienced player wont need to open the manual (the printed and not pdf manual that is). Civ is still an absolutely brilliant game. Just don’t expect to be surprised.