Pros Graphics are greatly improved but could be better. Civics are a lot smarter to work with than government types.
Cons Civilopedia should have more links to other articles. Poor game navigation.
Summary I have been a huge Civilization fan since the original. I am extremely disappointed with the fourth game in the series and Firaxis. I paid 50 bucks for a BETA. It is the buggiest commercial software I have ever experienced. It also feels very incomplete. Almost all of the advisors are useless. [Couldn't the City Advisor at least let you open a city from the list?] With the exception of the Science Advisor (which is essentially unchanged from Civ3) none of the advisor screens made much sense. The manual offers no help in explaining how to use them. The are a lot of buttons to click on that don't do anything. [Why is there a Spaceship screen with a drawing that never changes as you make progress on your spaceship build?]
No matter what type of game I played in Single Player mode, after about 5 turns or so, the game would crash -- sometimes even locking up my Windows XP operating system. I haven't had to reboot from a "game crash" since Windows 98!! If I were Sid Meier, I would be embarrassed.Updated
After the few patches that have come out and the expansion I am changing my opinion of the game. It has now become a powerful player in the Civ series. I am seriously looking forward to the next expansion due out soon. I give this game a 9.5.Updated
Pros Historically a great line of games
Cons Many people can't get it to run correctly...including me
Summary One look at the technical support forum at http://forums.civfanatics.com/forumdisplay.php?f=159 should give you a clue as to what you're in for.
I'm one of the many in this forum that have complained of crashes, BSOD's, choppy video, the "cheshire cat" (explained later).
If you own a laptop with an NVIDIA or ATI graphics card, you will be most at risk. There are numerous references to 3rd party video drivers you can attempt on your system. I've spent about 12 hours trying to get this to work.
Once you encounter these problems, you've obviously opened up the CD's, therefore you're going to have trouble when you go to ask for your money back.
People at the forums are screaming for an immediate service pack. The word I heard is that a beta of the service pack was submitted on Monday 11/21 and will be out "soon".
I'm a big Civilization fan. I waited so long for this release only to be disappointed. I love the originals so much, I was willing to try for 12 hours to get it to work.
I'm not giving up on the game until the service pack comes out. Then I'll cross my fingers. Chances are, I'll have to find another computer to play the game on.
Issues specific to my system are:
1) Cheshire Cat: The pictures of the leaders only show their teeth, eyebrows, hat, and tie....no face.
2) Midnight map: The main map is totally black so you can't view terrain..you can see resources and cities, but no terrain.
3) Game frequently freezes when starting it up.
4) Experimenting with display drivers result in BSOD's (blue screens of death).
5) Game will start up, look like it's about to run, then shut down with no error message.
I'd wait until the service pack comes out, and monitor the board reference above to see if people are any happier.
After installing service pack 1.09, everything seems to be in order...at least for me.
The tech board seems to have calmed down a bit, but you can still see that many people continue to have problems with the software.
The process of waiting for the service pack was a fun one. Firaxis briefly released, then recalled, version 1.08. Those of us who couldn't play version 1.00 at all, were able to find bootleg copies of 1.08, which helped us begin playing. 1.09 came out within the next day or two though.
My game still crashes, but only after hours of play. The game autosaves frequently, so I don't lose much if it crashes. The times I DO play now are even more addicting than previous versions.
Pros Automated workers "just get it done" without a lot of management
Cons Startup time is long, Nimoy voiceovers are tedious, graphics are choppy and slow, game crashes regularly on XP
Summary This game needs a service pack--fast. Game play on a new PC is not good: it's slow to start up, the interface and rules are just dissimilar enough to be annoying to loyal Civ 3 fans looking for an extension of that lovely game, and the graphics are choppy and slow to repaint at 1024x768 even on a new PC (XP Home SP2, Athlon 64-bit 3000+, 1GB PC3200 RAM, GeForce PCX 5300 video). The kicker? Repeated crashes to the desktop without warning. I loved Civ 3 and played it for many hours at a go. I've played Civ 4 for two hours and I'm regretting the $60 CDN I spent. A dark day for Firaxis. Are you listening? As for Andrew Park's review, I don't think he actually installed or played it for any time -- or knows anything about what came before Civ 4. Please, Andrew, write about what you know, not about what you glean from a corporate media package.Updated
I put this piece of trash on eBay and managed to get $45 for it. I lost a bit of money, but at least I don't have three Civ IV coasters sitting around my home. Seriously: if you're a fan of earlier Civ games, give Civ IV a wide bearth until you see a real effort from Firaxis with regard to the bugs. If you're looking to jump in and play using your Civ III knowledge, fugetaboutit. It's very different, and not for the better.
Pros none - the game doesnot run on my system that meets min req
Cons $50 down the drain
Summary The Civilization series of computer games are the only games I have bought for my PC over the past 5-6years. I was very anxious to try the latest version when I saw at Circuit City and read the great reviews online. Unfortunately, despite having more than the min requirements was not good enough to run this game on my laptop.
I have been unable to play. Initially I had a game screen that was black.
I did not realize that there were so many issues with the game until I went online to seek help. To my horror it appeared as though I had wasted my money. I downloaded a patch from the developers website (v1.52). Now when I try to run the software I get a notice "System Does Not Meet Minimum System Requirements" despite me having 1.8ghz processor(1.2ghz min), 512mb ram (256mb min) etc.
If I had read the horror stories online before I would not have bought the game as yet. I am sure the game is great when it does run but unfortunately not for me. I am such a civ fanatic I will probably purchase a new computer just so that I can play this game. But if you haven't purchased it as yet, hold of until they have worked out all the bugs.
Pros Looks & feels great until last 100 turns
Cons Crash & reboot - fest
Summary Seems like they couldn't get the bugs out of the game before it had to be shipped. With a PC well beyond the recommended specs, it constantly crashes and reboots the mashine. I can get one turn in - reboot - load - one more turn - reboot...PAINFUL!!
I did get my initial game through with the easiest settings, but with higher difficulty i.e. more activity among the AI players, it is just about the most frustrating thing I've ever seen.
Like most other people, I'm shelving this one until the patch comes out...Updated
They released a patch (v1.52) a couple of days before Christmas, and it takes care of absolutely every problem I had. No more crashes, no slow-downs. I didn't change any setting on the computer, just loaded the update from inside the game, and now it works great. The patch is huge: ~45M. I played through a game with 12 AI players at Noble setting and the performance remained the same from beginning to end.
I'd give the game a rating of ~9 now.