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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.3    CPU: G5 @ 1800 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 3500 MB    DVD-ROM    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

Civilization IV
August 23, 2006 | Ian Beck

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Beyond the bots
The true value in Civilization IV lies in its almost infinite replayability. With 18 civilizations, nine difficulty levels, and more possible map types than you can shake a stick at, the single player game alone makes it well worth the ticket price. (Then there's the healthy modding community, which just opens things up even further.)

But it doesn't stop there, because Civilization IV also brings an array of multiplayer options with it. Offering LAN, direct IP, hotseat, and play-by-email (along with GameRanger), Civ IV has a number of ways to connect up for some multiplayer madness. Thankfully it is Mac<->Windows compatible, but not through an easy browser (since the Windows version uses GameSpy). Multiplayer games are just as customizable as single player ones, but introduce a number of ways to make the game work (since obviously a five hour marathon to complete a normal speed game isn't really in the cards for most people). The quick gameplay speed offers a nice way to get through a game without wasting time on too many extraneous turns, for one thing, and another interesting thing is that people can pop in and out, letting the AI take over their civilization if they need to run. Additionally, it's possible to play with simultaneous turns instead of sequential turns.

What this all adds up to is a game that not only offers a ridiculous amount of variety and replayability in the single player game, but that also offers a pretty incredible turn-based multiplayer experience to broaden your Civilization addiction even more.

The final word
Civilization IV is huge, addictive, and oh-so-much fun. I really can't recommend this game enough. Although there is something of a learning curve, the game is still easy enough to dive into and learn the hard way. What makes Civ IV such a great game is the incredible gameplay and massive replayability. Although there are some downsides (mainly the inability to play the game on systems with lower specs), this game is well worth owning for anyone who enjoys strategy gaming.

Although Civ IV suffered from a number of technical issues immediately after its release, the recent 1.61 Rev A patch fixed all of the issues for me. The only problem that I ran across, and it didn't happen all that often, was that every once in a long while the graphics would hit an odd glitch where the lighting got thrown off and all the cities and occasionally the landscape showed up as black splotches with little definition. Restarting the game fixed it every time, however, and it was infrequent enough that it is barely worth mention. I never had any kernel panics or sound issues, which some other people have reported.

As far as I can tell, there really isn't any compelling reason not to own Civilization IV. It is a worthy sequel in the Civilization series that should bring a lot of enjoyment to strategy veterans and newbies alike.

• Incredible, addictive gameplay
• Almost infinite replayability
• Excellent graphics and sound
• Worthy continuation of the Civilization series
• Learning curve isn't too harsh, but simultaneously offers lots of depth
• Well-implemented multiplayer

• High system requirements
• Learning curve and all-strategy-all-the-time focus may not appeal to all
• Far too much fun

Civilization IV
Publisher: Aspyr Media
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