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114 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sink your teeth into this hearty expansion!
Beyond the sword offers so much more than the previous one. Here is what I believe to be the best aspects:

Espionage is now a much larger part of the game. You may use funding to increase and decrease the amount you would like to concentrate on it. Just like science and culture.

Next war mod- This will add about thirty more techs to your tree in the...
Published on August 13, 2007 by The Patriarch

versus
51 of 69 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Now With AI Cheating Built In!
This is like going back to Civ III. The combat system will have you pulling your hair out in much the same way as III. The espionage system will quickly grow uninteresting. I just turn it off at this point. So, here's the main problem. You basically need 99% odds in your favor to win a fight. 50% odds means a 100% chance you will lose. Anything below 80% (allegedly in...
Published on October 6, 2007 by Chess Buddhist


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114 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sink your teeth into this hearty expansion!, August 13, 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
Beyond the sword offers so much more than the previous one. Here is what I believe to be the best aspects:

Espionage is now a much larger part of the game. You may use funding to increase and decrease the amount you would like to concentrate on it. Just like science and culture.

Next war mod- This will add about thirty more techs to your tree in the end-game. Clones, mechs, and mind control centers are just a few examples. The only thing I don't like about this is you have to load the mod in order for it too work. Also, it is a tad annoying that the end-game music plays throughout the entire game if you choose this.

A bunch more leaders and few more civs- this is always a bonus. Holy Roman Empire and Byzantium are great choices. Being a fan of ancient Mesopotamian culture I appreciate the Babylonians and Sumerian civs being added as well. Native Americans are also a fun addition.

There is a new random event concept that actually adds a lot of fun to the game. Something good or bad happens at random and you make choices that either make things better or worse.

When it comes to the scenarios, it looks like they were going for a bit of experimentation instead of the usual. Still if you're anything like me you play these once and never look at them again.

There is one that is like a cyber-punk scifi where you fight zombies. Interesting idea but there isn't much to it. Just walk around in dark buildings while you are assaulted by wave after wave of zombies.

Perhaps the best one is an outer space scenario where you colonize planets. About ten new space civs to choose from and a brand new tech tree .

The Charlemagne scenario as you may have guessed involves the many countries vying for power during the dark ages.

Broken star is a russian campaign that involves a fractured russia. Choose a faction and attempt to find nukes.

I believe the animations have been improved and the units of different civs have been changed so they have more personality. ie. an asian civ will look asian while a native american civ looks native american, instead of the units of every civ looking the same.

Unlike the last installment I believe your getting your moneys worth this time around.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Expansion, July 26, 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
I have enjoyed Civilization since my discovery of this wonderful game in the mid-90's. Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword is a nice addition if your a "builder", Warlords the last expansion added some great features, but Beyond the Sword has hit the ball out of the park with new spy unites early in the game, more complicated game dynamics including corporations, religion, spy related point system, and new wonders. Another big plus, is the advanced technology tree, I always wanted to continue past the "Future Techs"-- now I can. PS -- to play civ on linux see [...].
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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Problems solved., July 29, 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
As I understood it, the "Beyond the Sword" in the title referred to making the game more interesting in the period after most of the world's territory has already been staked out and all religions founded; previously there was little to do in the late-game apart from declaring war out of meandering ambition and/or boredom (which may yet have been some pretty spectacular social commentary though it didn't make the game any more fun to play). This expansion pack adds espionage, missing from Civ 4 until now, although (as I understand it) a popular feature in previous installments. I've so far heard mixed feedback about how much weight it actually carries - and will admit that I didn't bother really trying it until my second or third game of Beyond the Sword - but I can confirm that it most certainly gives you something to do.

Beyond that, the game runs a bit better than it did previously, and the addition of neat little cause-effect events (i.e. "A dispute has arisen over a marriage between your citizen and a neighboring civilization's; offer money to boost foreign relations or decline and receive a boost in your cultural output") add a lot more than you'd think.

Meanwhile -- as is always the case with expansions like this -- the only way to react to any of the new tangible content (the requisite Civs, leaders, mods, etc.) is to be glad of the fact that it's there, though that's no reason for complaint. Beyond the Sword makes Civilization IV a better game.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CIV- Still interesting after all these years!, August 31, 2007
By 
P. A. Evans "Pedro" (Haverford, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
Almost every new wrinkle introduced in this expansion is a welcome one. I enjoy having lots of civs from which to choose and to try to beat. Some people play the same 2 or 3 civs each time & prefer to be highly expert in that very narrow range & they might not appreciate the broad variety of civs in the Beyond the Sword expansion. I have still not gotten DeGaulle to be anything but a doormat, but will keep trying him from time to time.

Corporations are a cool idea, but they don't gain any traction or have any great advantage at first, maybe deep into the game they get better. Of course, the dimension that matters the most is spying, which begins as soon as you acquire the alphabet technology. Money, units, city improvements, use of specialists, and long-terms strategy all have an impact on your spying prowess during a game. I have played scores of hours, and feel as if I have only scratched the surface on learning how to exercise all of the options available in this one part of the game.

Similarly, getting up in the air when you acquire the physics technology is a bonus. Airships are the best new unit IMHO, but there are many to keep old players working on inventing new strategies in familiar situations. For those looking to get into CIV for the first time, I need to share several items of caution:
1. You will consume huge amounts of time. The game is as addictive as a Tom Clancy thriller and even tho' you know it is time to put it down, you can't at times.
2. The game is complex. Civ III or Civ IV will provide you just as much entertainment as starting off with this expansion pack, and will not be as daunting to learn. Use the expansion packs to enhance your experience once the basic games have lost some interest.
3. The game works best with a strong graphics card and lots of RAM. It is possible to dumb it down and still play without crashing, but the experience is much better with enhanced graphics.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost like playing a whole new game, but still familiar, August 23, 2007
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= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
I preordered "Civ IV - Beyond the Sword" almost on a whim. I had also purchased the previous expansion, "Civ IV - Warlords" and had been very happy with it. I am very happy that I followed that whim. In my opinion, Civ IV is the best of the Civ series (which is saying a lot), and "Beyond the Sword" adds some very cool new features which increase the replayability (something very important to me).

The first thing that caught my eye was the new civilizations and new leaders for existing civilizations. I had liked the civilizations and leaders added with Warlords, and these are just as good (my favorite from Warlords was the Vikings). I've tried the Dutch twice now and like them a lot! I can't wait to try a game as the Americans, led by Abraham Lincoln.

As with Warlords, they also added new civ-specific units and some new units usable by all civs. The airship is a neat little air unit, usable by all, that you get around the same time you are getting Cavalry and Ironclads. It is supposed to be good at spotting Subs, but I wouldn't know since my opponent (the Celts led by Boudica) was using them against me while I still had wooden ships! The East Indiaman, a Dutch specific unit, is a vast improvement over the standard Galleon (2 more strength, 1 more carrying capacity), especially in games where control of the seas is a must. It can also be used in place of the Caravel since it can travel through enemy territory and neutrals without provoking war or requiring open borders. No wonder the Dutch became a trading empire!

And of course, there are new buildings and some new wonders including the very frustrating (but also very powerful) Apostolic Palace (a medieval version of the UN). A word of advice on the Apostolic Palace: you must spread your state religion to at least one city in every civilization in order to make use of the voting feature! I had to research a lot of forum threads to figure this out. The Dutch (can you tell I like these guys?) get the Dike, an improved version of the Levee (new building). The Levee gives you an extra hammer on all river tiles, the Dike gives you an extra hammer on all river AND ocean tiles. Both can be built about the time you discover Coal.

But the best feature in my opinion are the random world events. This truly makes every game a unique experience. Some events are good, some are bad, and some are competitive. There are a number of quests amongst these random events that you can attempt to complete for nice rewards (examples include build X number of Y unit type, build X number of buildings in your cities, or found/conquer at least 1 city on X number of continents). A bad event for your opponent is almost as nice as a good event for you. Many of the events seem to be tied to certain time periods, but some can reoccur over and over (surplus food, famous artist/musician, floods, fires, earthquakes). In one game I was invaded by the Goths (Axemen), and in another game by the Huns (Horse Archers)! I repelled both invasions, but it was challenging.

Finally, they added more scenarios and more mods to "Beyond the Sword". I have not tried these yet, but I did play 2 of the scenarios from Warlords and enjoyed both so I am sure when I finish my current game I'll give some of these a try. I don't remember Mods from Warlords, so I'll throw in this explanation. A scenario is completely self-contained game, while a mod can be incorporated into a standard game at startup. Also, "Beyond the Sword" allows you to begin a game in a later epoch, using a point-buy feature to start with multiple cities, buildings, units and terrain improvements. This allows you to start in the medieval era, gunpowder era, and even modern era.

If I had to find a complaint about "Beyond the Sword", it would be that not all the new features were fully explained in the Civilopedia. Or at least the interface wasn't fully explained. I had to discover some things through trial and error (like the later epoch start feature, or the Apostolic Palace). However, there are some great websites that can get you through this little difficulty (I recommend Civ Fanatics).

I strongly recommend this expansion for anyone who enjoyed Civ IV and/or the Civ IV Warlords expansion. For 1/2 the price of most new computer games, this little expansion will get you to dust off a familiar game engine and at the same time give you the experience of a whole new game. If you are like me, you'll play it more than once to try all the new features! And I still haven't told you about all of them....

WARNING: Be prepared to get drawn back into your little Civ world and lose track of many, many, many hours! Just like when you first got Civ IV, Civ III, Civ:CTP, or any of the other Civ products and expansions. You will not be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of New Details and Eye Candy. Little gain in playability. Still Good, August 1, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
`Beyond the Sword' is the second upgrade to Firaxis' Games' title, `Sid Meier's Civilization IV', easily one of the top two or three most popular games, let alone strategy games, of all time on the PC. My impression is that the popular reaction to this upgrade is far more positive than to the first upgrade, named `Warriors'. And, it is quite true that this upgrade has much more to offer than `Warriors', but true to an upgrade rather than a `Civilization V', everything stays within the basic framework of the original game. But, Since `Civilization IV' was such a great advance over `Civilization III', this upgrade doesn't have to do a lot to sustain our interest. Should you have any doubts up to this point, I must assure you I am an avid `Civilization' fan, and it is virtually the only PC game I play, and I have been playing it since the release of `Civilization II'.
The first change one sees is in the graphics which make up the world, its buildings, and the actors in this world. The art in general and the color and animation in particular are all notably richer. For ancient units, the same unit from different civilizations will be dressed differently, and this is not limited to the civilization specific units. Egyptian workers have the typical ancient Egyptian headgear, apron, and bare chest, while the northern Europeans are appropriately bundled up for the cooler weather. The landscape art is also seems much richer, especially when you zoom in.
The biggest change to game play is the addition of corporations, which are developed and expanded with almost exactly the same mechanics as the game's religions. In fact, I'm sure they used the same code, but changed the names and the art. I have a sense that this addition, especially at lower difficulties, is not a great improvement. Creating a corporation requires the generation of an appropriate great person, and by the time you earn the Corporation advance, great people require so many points they are few and far between, not like the salad days of the ancient era. One `made up' objective I often try to accomplish is to found all the game's religions. And, with a little luck in finding an early settler in a village, this is quite doable at lower difficulties. On the other hand, I have yet to be able to create more than two out of the eight corporations. Another problem of their showing up late in the game is that they contribute only a small amount to money or culture toward winning objectives. I also miss the great graphics associated with building the world's religious centers. Why not add a feature to build corporate headquarters.
Another major change to game play is the enhanced espionage mechanics. Spies arrive much earlier and opportunities for using them are greater. And yet, I don't see them doing what I would have expected to be their greatest virtue, turning cities over to your civilization by revolt. This goes together with the fact that it is far harder to turn a city than it was in `Civ III'. There, one could conquer a good quarter to a third of an enemy's cities with culture alone, even before firing a shot. `Civ IV' may be more realistic, but not as much fun in this area.
The most welcome addition may be one of the least impressive. This is the addition of mobile artillery and blimps. One of the most dreadfully dull parts of combat between the catapult and aviation was the slow speed of siege weapons. Didn't the developers ever hear of the 19th century mobile artillery, dating back at least to Napoleon. The other side of the coin is the more realistic limitation on siege weapons. They can no longer capture cities or destroy units without assistance from infantry or cavalry.
On addition I find to be great fun are the incidents which pop up randomly now and then. They rarely add a lot to gameplay, but they certainly make the experience more enjoyable. This is a feature which could stand much enhancement to good effect.
My very favorite feature of this upgrade is the improved World Builder feature. On the one hand, this feature is literally an open opportunity to cheat until the cows come home. But, I am generally quite realistic in understanding that by custom terraforming the map and giving myself lots of free units in the beginning, I am simply not playing the game as Sid Meier intended. I am constructing my own starting and endpoints, and I simply do not always win according to my own conditions.
Most of the other additions are `more of the same'. More civilizations and more leaders in familiar civilizations, and yet, none of the new additions have made me give up my trusty Indians under Ghandi, with their souped up workers.
If you are any kind of fan of `Civilization XXX', get this upgrade and skip the `Warriors' upgrade. This has everything available in `Warriors'. If you are not a `Civilization' fan, this upgrade will not change your mind.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must have', August 23, 2007
By 
G. MacEachern (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
This expansion changes and improves almost every aspect of the vanilla product. It takes what you already love about the game and improves upon it by giving it additional breadth and playability. I particularly like the random events that insert themselves into the game. (However, if you don't like them, no problem, turn them off before the game starts.) If you were the type of player who enjoyed the floods, tornadoes, and Godzillas that would show up in Sim City, you will love them here.

Much has been said about the 'Mods' that are included with the expansion both good and bad. Frankly some are clever, and others, not so much. They are a nice break from starting at the dawn of time and do allow you to have a life since they are faster to complete.

A number of the new units and technologies will be familiar to those of you who have been playing earlier versions of the game. For instance, paratroopers are back! Also, those of us who fell in love with Alpha Centauri so many years ago are glad to see it have a place in the game.

What is wrong with the expansion? My only real caveat is that if you are fairly new to the Civ universe and you found Civ IV too complex, you should skip this expansion. You always had to juggle a lot of competing interests and the expansion gives you a lot more to do. Also, and this is very picky, the end-of-game establishment of outposts in space was done in an expansion of Civ II. Grrrr. When the worst criticisms I can come up with are this minor, you know that this reviewer loved the product.

Open up the wallet.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE Civ IV...HATE long, protracted battle, August 3, 2008
By 
Echo "Echo" (Western Hemisphere) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
In terms of $$$ per hour of play, this has got to be the best deal in an expansion pack since Ultima VII!

Did you ever load up Civ IV, then cringe when you up against a violence-prone leader like Salidin or Boudica? Groan, not more fighting to get in the way of my culture-based Civilization!

"Beyond The Sword" can help make Civ IV fun again.

This expansion pack adds lots of new AI personalities (example: Pericles the Greek, Sitting Bull the Native American (about time, too) and William of Orange of the Netherlands. You also get the "Great General" great person from Warlords, and lots of layered ways to win the game.

"Diplomacy" can be a tricky way to win the game, but with BtS you can create Vassal states out of almost-vanquished opponents...leave a remnant of your enemy standing, and they become a puppet state that will vote your will.

"Space Race" is much, much more complex

"Corporations" are founded and spread in the same fashion as religions, if you don't care to form a Civilization based on Fundamentalist Taoism.

Lots, and LOTS of special buildings and units. And I didn't even bother with the scenarios (the "Holy Roman Empire" one is a fav of mine.)

Really fun, and strongly recommended!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Civ 4 and Beyond the Sword on Vista, August 10, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
If you initially install Civ 4 and then update it through the advanced settings within the game then the expansion pack "Beyond The Sword" with install just fine with Vista. I hope this helps with those who have install issues with Vista and the expansion pack.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, May 24, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC (Video Game)
This expansion pack definitely adds to the game. Note that you don't need to buy the Warlords expansion as this includes the stuff that was in Warlords, except for the scenarios.

If you enjoyed Civ4, you will enjoy it more with this expansion. It adds whole new strategies beyond what's in the plain vanilla Civ4.

There are some downsides. I feel this expansion was never really completed. It feels more like a beta than a final product. There are some play balance issues with spies, and with corporations, that were never addressed in the patches. Even the final released patch, 3.13 is full of bugs. After you install it, you need to visit a Civ4 forum site where some guy has posted a fix to the official patch. You need to download and install that unofficial patch to the patch otherwise the game is unplayably buggy. I think it's pretty pathetic that a fan had to fix the game instead of the actual programmers working for Firaxis.

But you still should buy it and enjoy it (after patching it as described above) despite the bad stuff. It's just a shame that it's merely a really good addition to Civ4 instead of what it might have been, the ultimate greatest strategy game ever.
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Sid Meiers Civilization IV Beyond the Sword - PC
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