115 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2006
Wow, don't go by the recommended requirements at all on the box with this. I have a 2.1ghz Imac with a gig of ram, and I have to run the game on the lowest graphic setting. The music is very choppy, but even on the lowest setting, the graphics are gorgeous. Gameplay is typical Civilization style. It's crashed on me numerous times, mostly when windowed, fullscreen made the game drag to a crawl (but no crashes), and I was wishing for a 'Civ3 view' under the options. I wouldn't recommend playing this on anything other than one of the newer machines with a ton of ram, or a quad style machine. If and when Aspyr updates with a patch that hopefully removes much of the resource hogging, I can easily give this 4 stars, but in it's current condition, I can only give it a 3, but I really feel it's more of a 2 right now.
After applying the beta patch, I can easily give Civ 4 the 4 stars it deserves. Great game and Aspyr really shows how to make games on the Mac work.
91 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2006
I'm a huge fan of the various incarnations of Civilization. The other reviewers are correct -- ignore the system requirements at your peril and get as much RAM as you can! Speed is fine on a brand new Core Duo iMac. I experienced my first Mac OS X crash since Mac OS X Beta years ago when I increased the graphics settings. I backed them down a bit and things have been fine since.
Other than that one (serious) glitch, the game is great and I am losing whole blocks of time to Civ IV the way I did to previous versions of the game.
UPDATE: The new patch (1.62a) seems to have addressed the crash problem, although I have noticed minor problems with some graphics and audio. It is an improvement, but there are still some things that need to be addressed.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2011
Some games are just fun to play, regardless of whether they have the "bleeding edge" graphics that strain almost every PC or Mac. In short: Civilization IV is a fantastic turn-based strategy game.
In a traditional game, you begin as a fledgling civilization just abandoning your nomadic ways and eventually go from a small colony to a world power. Are you going to be a despot wielding a huge military power? Will you be the cultural center of your world? Will you rush to develop new technologies faster than your competitors? Will you become an economic powerhouse or will you forge alliances with the various other tribes and come to a place of prominence in international politics? It's your choice in Civ IV.
Regardless of the path you choose, Civ. IV requires you to use your wits to ensure that your foothold in the new world is secure. In additional to the traditional game, you have a wide variety of options. Want to start in the space age with modern technology and weaponry? You can do that. Want to play through some historical campaigns? There are a number of preloaded scenarios. Can you take over the helm of the American revolution and beat back the British? Why not give it a shot, you budding Washington you.
True quality stands the test of time. Yes, the graphics are from the mid 2000's, but what does that matter if the game is fun to play? I appreciate the new games with their incredible graphics and sound, but my point is you won't notice that the graphics aren't bleeding edge in games with quality gameplay and replay-ability. That's what Civ. IV is. It's well-worth the price.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2006
This *is* the best civilization game to date, Fraxis did a good job in making it both more realistic and playable. It's a great deal of fun!
However, Aspyr did a very *poor* port of the game. While the windows version runs on machines 2+ years old, the mac version only runs on the *latest* hardware. Performance is slow and painful on an iMac G5 and worse on G4 machines. Aspyr needs to release a patch soon to fix this game.
Seems that there has been an update to version beta 1.61 Rev A. This does fix a lot of the speed issues on powerpc. Could be faster, but still appreciated since now the game is playable. However, there still are quite a few bugs in this release, and seeing that this is a beta release, Aspyr still has a way to go.
56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2006
Ignore the system requirements at your own risk, because this thing runs like a fat sow on any machine more than a few months old. On my iMac G5 bought just a year ago, it's effectively unplayable at even the lowest graphics settings -- and that's at only 2000 BC! I won't even attempt to see what it's like with a full, modern world. Very disappointing.
UPDATE: Performance is massively improved by the 1.61 patch (released on 31 July 2006), but it still slows down quite a bit after a few thousand years. As before, ignore the system requirements at your own risk.
102 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2006
In late 2002, I took a second job at a major electronics retailer and decided to use my employee discount on what looked like a cool game: Civilization III. That game changed my life... in the gaming sense. It was everything I ever thought a computer game should be: turn-based strategy with multiple avenues to test my ego and self-promoted genius. Above all features of Civ3, however, my most favorite was the customization of the game through the map editor and the wonderful online resources of the Civ community. (I've downloaded more Civ3 files than MP3s.) This allowed me to express my self-proclaimed genius with new rules, technologies, and units (and all the accompanying chronologies and requisites) at my discretion. Nothing could get any better, I had thought.
When Civ4 was being talked about, however, I couldn't imagine on what grounds they could improve - except perhaps making the game even more customizable and thorough. Well, you've already read about the differing features of the game: less micro-management, more diplomatic and trade features, new technology trees, enhancing popular mechanics found in previous Civ titles, and of course, going 3D with it all.
When playing Civilization IV, you sense an overwhelming POTENTIAL to be a really great game. In my mind, that potential has not been fulfilled, and I hereby advise you to purchase Civ3 Complete instead and forego Civ4 if you haven't chosen so already. If you have already purchased Civ4, let's send a message to Firaxis Games that they need to do better - let's stop purchasing Civ products until they are actually without so many bugs, that aren't rushed to be released for the holidays, and that don't insult our intelligence by requiring expensive "expansion packs" which merely add content that should already have been included in the original release.
Here is a list of comparative reasons to only own Civ3 and not Civ4 and boycott future Civ titles until something changes for the better:
1. There is no map editor in Civ4. Instead, they included a "World Builder" which is so awkward and strange. It is not like Civ3's map editor where you can set starting positions, resources, civilizations, and terrain BEFORE you play the map. The "World Builder" of Civ4 only allows you to alter scenarios from the installation or randomly generated maps. You cannot create maps from scratch - you can only change what has already been created within predefined parameters.
2. Who needs 3D graphics for a turn-based strategy game? Civ4 is not fully 3D; it merely allows a tilting view from ground level to overhead. That can be cool, but consider the offset: it is unnecessary for this genre, it diverts computer resources from other cool and more thorough features, and it makes the game extremely difficult to modify. For Civ3, there are well over 1,000 things you can either download or make yourself and put right into the game. You don't have to know XTML or Python programming languages as you would in Civ4. Civ4 requires advanced education (like a graphics design or computer science degree) to simply alter things like governments, units, buildings, and game rules. Waiting for others to design them (like the amateur online community or the professional expansion packs) isn't so fun anymore.
3. Expanding content for more money? This was a problem with Civ3, as well - its first expansion pack was a total waste of money because everything was later put on the second expansion pack. People bought the first expansion pack because they loved Civ3 so much and didn't know it was a waste. (Many video game makers are taking advantage of gamers in this way, not just the Civilization makers.) My point here is to fight back. We already know what they are going to pull: Civ4 has an expansion pack out there titled Warlords. It basically includes elements intentionally left out so as to somehow formulate a "new" product. In the base version of Civ4, you have the Great People: artists, scientists, merchants, and prophets. Hmmm... now we get the warlords, eh? Oh, and a few other civilizations and buildings left out from before. Nice try... Boycott this type of marketing out of sheer principle. Play Civ3 Complete until Civ5 comes out if you have to. Maybe Civ will be less of a cheap shot then.
4. The last reason why you should be content with Civilization III and completely forget that Civilization IV was ever made is the most simple. Purchasing Civ3 Complete right now (1) will cost you less than half of Civ4; (2) is fully expanded while Civ4 is still looking to make more money off of us; and (3) Civ3 has the very same level of addictive game play as any other Civilization title. If you have already dropped the cash for Civ4, simply do not support Civ4 any longer. In fact, uninstall it and put it in your drawer as a sad chapter of shameless marketing. Yes, Civ4 is fun, but it is does not live up to its potential in most ways. Playing Civ3 will take up your time quite nicely until they release a REAL title that doesn't take advantage of us so blatantly.
To conclude, my overall point to stick with Civ3 and forego Civ4 is this: without an easy, efficient, and overwhelmingly powerful customizing interface (like an awesome map editor that allows FULL customization), we are simply asking for "re-tread" products. The fact that Firaxis did not include a kick-butt map editor proves in my mind that they expect us to wait for their "expansions" to come out and spend at least $150 each before they move onto Civ5. Hold out with Civ3 Complete and wait until Civ4 goes away.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2006
Been a Civ fan since the original.. Best civ yet. I've been playing for 3 months straight now. Almost didn't get the game based on the reviews of it being slow.
Not a problem!
I have one of the new Intel Dual Core IMacs with the standard RAM and the game runs smooth all the way to the end. I downloaded the patch before starting the game and have very few problems. If I play for a long time (as we all do as civ addicts), the map (lower left) starts to degrade. Easily solved by closing and reopening.. Not an issue for me after playing 6 hours straight...
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2006
Sid Meier is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest game designers of all time, and is well-known for the creation of what many would say is the greatest strategy game series of all time. I refer of course, to Civilization. Civilization I was a revolutionary game, and created a new genre of strategy gaming, spawning many imitators, but none that could rival it. Civilization II built on Civilization's success, blowing away all competition in the field of turn-based strategy. Civilization III built further on Civilization II, leaving many asking the inevitable question. "Can Civilization get any better?"
The answer, as proven by this, the latest installment, the fourth in the inimitable series, is "Yes". If you had a major gripe about Civilizations one through three, it's probably gone. The core game mechanic is the same, and yet so vastly improved in almost every area, so as to make the game a treat from the introductory video which is incredible, through the menu music (that can bring tears to your eyes), through the setup of a new game. But the real improvements are to the game itself, which is a visual feast, even at the lowest graphics setting.
Make no mistake, this game is graphics intensive. I am running it on an iMac G5 with a 2.0 Ghz processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, and 128 MB VRAM, and there are still some points where the game is choppy. However, I am capable of overlooking that, because the game is so incredible, that I still find my jaw dropping every now and then. Also know that I have seen the game run on one of the latest MacBooks (not MacBook Pros), with the Pentium Core Processors. (2.0 GHz, 1 GB Ram, 128 MB VRAM, etc.) The game runs literally without a hitch. So if you have a Pentium Core Machine that meets all the specifications, what are you waiting for? Go out and buy it. If you meet all the specifications without a Pentium Core machine, you can be prepared for the occasional frustration, as there will be some choppy animations and video.
Enough with the processor requirements. Those are important, but it's the gameplay that is the most important thing about the game, and Sid Meier has once again outdone himself in this glorious game.
For New Players: Experienced Players can skip this bit if they feel like it. If you've never played a Civilization game before, you've picked a great point to jump on the bandwagon. Civilization is well-established by now as perhaps the greatest strategy series of all time (my apologies, Age of Empires fans) and for three straight reincarnations, has only gotten better. The goal of the game is simple. You start with one settler, who founds your capital city in the year 4000 B.C. Your goal is to create an Empire that stands the tests of time, and win the game in one of many different ways by the year 2050 A.D. If you enjoy the smell of cities burning in the morning, perhaps the Conquest route will pique your interest. If you prefer the bloody battles at the Diplomacy Tables, then getting yourself elected ruler of the world by the U.N. member nations should be just fine. If it's a cultural juggernaut you wish to create, you can win that way too. Scientific and Territory victories are also possible. You develop technology, and upgrade your cities from tiny things that can barely be called villages into sprawling metropoli. Your army goes from club wielding warriors to machine-gun toting marines, with every step in between. Join the craze, and get ready to lose some sleep.
For Experienced Players: New Players can read this too. Fear not, your game is still intact. It's still the same turn-based game it was. Well, it's still turn-based, and nearly every aspect has been improved. There is a lot more customization to the governments, as the governments themselves are gone. Instead, you have "Civics", with five categories, from Economy to Religion. Do you prefer to break the backs of the serfs, as they bend to your whim? Or perhaps you are a more enligtened leader, preferring to let your people choose their paths? Each civic has a time when it is good to use, advantages and disadvantages. Don't worry, aspects of your favorite governments are still intact, from Despotism through Democracy, throwing Fascism (for those of you who, like me, felt it was missing from earlier incarnations of the game) into the mix as well.
The military system has recieved a complete overhaul. There are still units, but gone are the seperate defense and attack scores. Each unit has a "Strength" score. (For example, Cavalry has a strength of 15.) That doesn't mean that all units are used equally for attack and defense. Archers are better for defense than for attack, recieving a bonus when defending hills, and/or cities. (Hilltop cities are impossibly difficult to breach if you've got a couple of archers there, especially if it has a wall. Well, until you develop gunpowder of course.) Now instead of the "Conscript, Regular, Veteran, Elite" unit types, units earn "Experience", and get "Promotions". You can key them to whatever you like. For example, one promotion will increase the military unit's ability to attack cities, while another will improve the unit's combat in forested terrain. Others will allow the unit to heal itself and others even in enemy territory. A highly experienced unit may even be able to heal itself while moving through enemy territory. Additional units exist (macemen for example) and have their own special abilities. As far as upgrading, the units need only be in your territory. There is no longer a requirement for them to be in a city with a barracks. They cost a substantial amount of gold, but all their promotions and experience carry over, so there's no longer any reason to hold onto that really experienced Warrior unit.
Science has also been a bit overhauled. It's no longer a requirement to research all or nearly all the technologies in one age before going onto the next. Many technologies can be entirely bypassed, though you will find yourself eventually going back and getting the techonologies you dropped on your way upwards towards your original goal. Many scientific improvements have an impact on the game just through discovery. For example, the first person to discover Music recieves a free "Great Artist" (see below).
As far as Empires go, there are now 18 empires, and 26 leaders. Yes, some empires have more than one posible leader. (For example, the Americans have George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt.) The Spanish Empire is back, for those of you (who also, like me) felt they were missing from Civilization III. Every leader has their own personality. Where Louis XIV may bow graciously to you as he proposes a trade of spice for wine, Napoleon may sneer at you as he demands tribute to keep his armies out of your territory. Some leaders are absolutely serious when they demand tribute of one kind or another. Others' barks are worse than their bites.
That brings me to the subject of Diplomacy. It is much more open this time, but also, options open up slowly. While "Alphabet" is the only technology required to trade technologies, map trading requires "Paper". (I'm putting them in quotation marks because that's the technology name. It's not like I think it's some mystical fictional item.) As I said before, each leader will have their own personality. Catherine the Great will flirt with you if you are friendly to her, and when at war, she refuses to back down, even if you are marching through her territory, burning cities as you go. Not all leaders are as stubborn. Some will quail before your threats, while others will laugh in your face. Of course, even the most stubbourn of leaders can be crushed through military action, or through economic sanctions if you have a lot of friends. Speaking of friends, some of your friends may give you free things if you ask. Never underestimate the power of a few friends willing to lend you a strategic resource, as opposed to having to pay extortive prices (or conquer them) like in Civ III.
Great People are perhaps the most notable addition to the game. These people are born from time to time in your larger and more wonder-filled cities. Each of the five types (Prophet, Artist, Scientist, Engineer, and Merchants) have special abilities that make them immensly valuable. For example, a great Scientist can establish a special institution to increase scientific output of any one city, or he can use his "one shot" ability to instantly discover a technology for you. Each one can also become "Super Specialists", much like the specialists from the older games (that are still present in this game) but super-enhanced. For example, a Scientist "Super Specialist" will produce 6 Science and 1 Hammer (Production).
Religion is the other really notable addition. Each of the seven religions (Taoism, Confuscianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Chirstianity, Islam, Hinduism) is exactly identical, but they can be important. If you have fallen under the sway of a "Heathen Religion" some cultures will be less inclined to deal with you, whereas, if you have the same religion as someone, they will be more inclined to be kind to you.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go Capture Moscow. Enjoy yourselves. Order this game if you haven't already.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2006
Well, I've been playing Civ since 1.0 and this is indeed the best version yet, but there are a few quality and performance problems. Starting with the latter, the performance is horrid, though admittedly I am using a machine below the standard. That said, the Windows team managed to create a game which runs on machines which haven't been made in years, the Mac version only runs on G5's or machines made in the last two months. With an already tiny audience, I can't see how they're gonna make any money.
As to the quality, it's pretty obvious that they were in a rush to ship. On the cover of the "Quick Start Guide" is a note "Note: Full Manual Located On Game Disk", only it isn't. What's on the disk is the pdf of the Quick Start Guide - but with the printer's crop marks still in and the date it was exported - May 25, 2006. Looking through the diagrams on the Game Play and Spec Chart, you can find multiple editing problems which make it somewhat hard to determine what things mean. Hey, I was in the QA department of a major software corporation for 5 years, what can I say?
On the whole though, I really look forward to getting a new machine and losing months to this game - as I did with Civ 3, Civ 2 and Civ (which also cost me a significant part of my GPA). They have done a stupendous job of improving and flushing out the game play and concepts, I just wish they hadn't tried to force ship it in the second quarter, taken the financial hit and spent some time QA-ing and improving performance. A must buy when and if you have a new machine.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2007
There are a couple of bells and whistles with IV that are nice. The little wonder movies are cool. The overall look of the game is more fantasy like - softer. I prefer the look of III. The real downfall is the AI, which has far more advantages in IV. I play CIV for fun. That means I want to enjoy myself. I enjoy the exploration and building more than anything else. In IV, you are immediately inundated by wild animals who kill off your scouts. Shortly after this, the barbarians descend. They know exactly where your weak points are and they never stop attacking. In III there were five settings for barbarians. In IV there are three: Off, raging or insane. If you start to get ahead of other civs in the game, don't worry, the AI is set up to inundate you with barbarians and keep you in check. And just try to win through war. Good luck. I attacked a city of three spearmen with ten horse archers and a bunch of catapults and lost every single battle. Then, another civ, my ally in the war, rode up with three horsemen and took the city - no sweat. In short, this game will only infuriate you with its gross unfairness, its limited playability, and it crappy custom game controls. Let's put it this way, I unloaded this game from my computer and tossed the discs into a file drawer. Then, I reloaded Civ III. Now I'm happy.