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February 2nd, 2009, 01:13
Oof, Civ IV ate my soul, or something. It's nasty.

I've played a few games now; got past Warlord level, jumped to Prince level, got my ass royally handed to me a few times, so I notched it back down to Noble level. Meticulously destroyed the Egyptians, the Incas, the Romans, and the Mongols; was twice as strong as the next guy and repositioning my forces to attack the Spaniards when they attacked first. By the time I had gotten my counterattack rolling, America won a space victory. Meh.

IOW, it's pretty good, although not quite as good as I had hoped. Specifically:

(1) There's not much differentiation between cultures. Tech trees are mostly the same; there's not much more than one path to each critical tech level. It makes some slight difference in the early game, and not at all in the late one. They could've made it more interesting with a more tangled tech tree.

(2) Artillery is badly done. It should work like air units -- you don't attack and retreat with artillery, you call in strikes (and get destroyed if someone attacks you when you have nobody protecting you). As it is, it's basically disposable; useful in big stacks to wear down cities, and that's about it.

(3) The AI is… not bad, but still a bit weird. For example, what's with its mania of slapping down settlements around the edges of my civilization, when there's no way they can thrive there if I don't let them? They're not all that big on territorial contiguity or strategic borders either. I don't get it.

(4) There's not as much depth to it as I had hoped. The tech trees in Total War, for example, are much deeper, and of course there's way, way more unit variety. (OTOH the Total War strategic AI is on par with George W. Bush, but still.)

Overall, I'm very much hooked, but I can't say I enjoy it quite as much as Total War at its best. I really wish there was some way to combine the two -- the strategic AI and flexible city positioning and borders from Civ, the unit variety, depth of tech trees, and of course great real-time battles from TW.
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Prime Junta

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