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Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords

Score: 97%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 / Various (Scenarios) / Up to 8 Online
Genre: Simulation/ God Games/ Turn-Based Strategy


Graphics & Sound:

[Civilization IV Warlords is an expansion pack that expands and expounds upon the amazing game that is Civilization IV. You will have to have Civilization IV installed before you can play Warlords. - ed.]

The graphics in Civilization IV: Warlords are, for the most part, the same as those in Civ IV, itself. The difference comes in the addition of some new civilizations with their own unique units and new leaders. The new civilizations include: Carthage, the Celts, Korea, the Ottomans, the Vikings and Zulu. Each of these new civilizations has a leader, of course, but additionally, there are four new leaders for some of the existing civilizations. Carthage has Hannibal, the Celts have Brennus, Korea has Wang Kon, the Ottomans have Mehmed II, the Vikings have Ragnar, the Zulu have Shaka, England has Winston Churchill, Rome has Augustus Caesar, Egypt has Ramesses II and Russia has Joseph Stalin. All of the added leaders are animated and exude a personality, much like the existing leaders in Civ IV.

Three new Wonders have been added in Civilization IV: Warlords: The Great Wall, The Temple of Artemis and the University of Sankore, but the most visually striking has got to be The Great Wall (as in, the Great Wall of China - but available to any civilization in game). This is a new Wonder of the World, and is limited to one civilization per game, but it stands as a very impressive fortification around the perimeter of your land (at the time of its construction) and helps to keep barbarians out. This is best constructed when you have enough territory to make The Great Wall worthwhile.

As for the sound effects and music, the sounds for existing things appear to be the same as in Civilization IV. The new sounds added for the additional civilizations are of the same caliber as the sound work in Civilization IV - the music is very high quality with a cinematic feel.


Gameplay:

Also introduced are three new leader traits - Imperialistic, Charismatic and Protective. Imperialistic gives a +100% Great General emergence and a 50% faster production of settlers. Charismatic gives a +1 adjustment to happiness in all cities and a +1 happiness from monuments and broadcast towers. Protective gives a free Drill 1 and City Garrison 1 promotion to archery and gunpowder units and doubles production speed for walls and castles. Even the traits for the existing civilizations have been changed a bit, so you'll want to determine how this change might affect your civilizations of choice.

Each of the new civilizations receives its own unique unit, all of which are war related. Carthage has the Numidian Cavalry, which replaces the Horse Archer, the Celts have the Gallic Warrior, which replaces the Swordsman, Korea has the Hwacha, which replaces the catapult, the Ottomans have the Janissary, which replaces the Musketman, the Vikings have the Beserker, which replaces the Axeman and the Zulu have the Impi, which replaces Spearman. Civ IV: Warlords also introduces two new military units that all civilizations can use: the Trebuchet and the Trireme. There are additional unique units that are specific to the Warlord scenarios, as they would introduce game-balance issues if made available for play outside of these scenarios.

One new concept introduced in Civilization IV: Warlords (which affects both the new and existing civilizations) is that of Unique Buildings. Now each civilization has a special building that only it may possess. These unique buildings replace existing buildings and typically give slight increases in stats for new units, much like a barracks. For example, Vikings have a new unique building, the Trading Post, which replaces the Lighthouse and grants a free "Navigation 1" promotion for naval units constructed in the same city and gives a +1 increase in food production from water tiles. Additionally, there are two new buildings that all civilizations can use: the Stable and the Monument.

Historical scenarios available in Civilization IV: Warlords include: 450 BC: Chinese Unification (1 to 7 Players), 444 BC: The Peloponnesian War (1 or 2 Players), 336 BC: Alexander the Great (1 Player), 300 BC: The Rise of Rome (1 to 5 Players), 800 AD: The Age of the Vikings (1 Player) and 1206 AD: Genghis Kahn (1 Player). Additionally, there are two Alternate History Scenarios: Barbarian Horde (1 Player) and Omens (1 or 2 Players). Each of these has a unique flavor and its own difficulties and goals. For example, in Chinese Unification the goal is to unify China under one rule. If you can get to a point where there is only one other ruler and concede to them, you win, since you've gotten China under one rule. The Vikings scenario is all about pillaging as much gold as you can - without regards to conquest, while the Alexander the Great scenario is all about conquest. You can choose a scenario based on what type of gameplay appeals to you the most.


Difficulty:

While Civilization IV is a great game with several different levels of difficulty and different modes, Civilization IV: Warlords offers additional scenarios - some of which are challenging, while others are downright ridiculous. A perfect example of a really difficult scenario is the Barbarians scenario. In this scenario, you don't play a civilization at all, but rather the pesky barbarians that have always been a thorn in your civilizations' side - now as a playable "civilization". The problem with this is that, as barbarians, you can't hold a city. And without a city, you don't get the advantage of the advancements that civilization brings. You get more units by purchasing them with gold and they appear at your camp - something much akin to the Settler unit, but without the ability to ever found a city. The trick here is that you don't have any way to produce a residual income. Rather than having cities that produce wealth for you, you have to get gold by pillaging other civilizations' developments for theirs. Barbarians puts you in a Don Quixotian battle against technology, where you're goal is not to achieve advancements, but rather to bring everyone down to your level. If you ever wanted to "Play a quick game of Civ IV", the Barbarians scenario would probably qualify - not to brag, but I've played a complete game in under 12 minutes - of course, I lost...


Game Mechanics:

Civilization IV's use of XML and Python makes the game very flexible, allowing for some of the scenarios in Civilization IV: Warlords to be very different from the standard game of Civ IV. If you feel comfortable with either of these technologies, you can actually view and edit some of the files to modify the game to suit your preferences. For example, I found the Barbarians Scenario to be nearly impossible until I played around with the variables some. However, after creating a easier difficulty level that started me off after only 25 turns (rather than 40) and started me with 50,000 gold, I was able to win in 20 minutes. About the same results were possible by dripping the gold down to around 20,000 but making Lions, Bears and Tanks available to me. Ridiculous? Perhaps, but very fun, indeed!

It's interesting to see just how different a mod (scenario) can be from the original game. In Barbarians, you have a completely new screen with which to select, purchase and promote your units and cannot hold any cities. You basically are playing "Anti-Civilization" when you play this scenario. The other scenarios have their own unique gameplay elements that set them apart from Civilization IV. The skills you learn playing Civilization IV will apply to some degree, but there will be additional aspects to consider, which are unique to each.

Civilization IV: Warlords, as the name would indicate, focuses on the military side of things, slightly redefining the way the game looks at leaders, adding new civilizations which were known for military might in some era and improved military considerations, with new specialized units and buildings. These upgrades help to differentiate the different civilizations a bit, so that a player's playing style might favor one over the other slightly.

If you play Civilization IV and you wish that the gameplay focused a bit more on the military aspects or if you're simply looking for some new scenarios and a new challenge, then Civilization IV: Warlords is for you. In fact, the only person I wouldn't recommend Warlords to would be someone who bought Civilization IV and didn't like it at all.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:



1.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon processor or equivalent, 256MB RAM, CD-ROM Drive, 64 MB Video Card w/ Hardware T&L (GeForce 2/ Radeon 2500 or better), DirectX7 compatible sound card, 1.7GB of free hard drive space, DirectX 9.0c (included)

Recommended:
1.8GHz Intel Pentium or AMD better Athlon processor or equivalent/better, 512 MB RAM, 128 MB Video Card w/ DirectX 8 support (pixel and vortex shaders), DirectX7 compatible sound card, CD-ROM Drive, 1.7GB of free hard drive space, DirectX 9.0c (Included)

 

Test System:



Intel Pentium 4E, 3.2 GHz (Intel Grantsdale i915), 1 GB RAM, AMI BIOS, Radeon X300 Series (128 MB), Realtek HD Audio, Floppy disk drive, 200 GB 7200 RPM, Serial-ATA/150 Maxtor HD (24760 MB free), DVD-ROM, Pioneer DVD-RW DVR-108, Sony SDM-HS73 Monitor, Cable Modem

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