Sid Meiers Civilization IV: The Complete Edition

Released in late 2005 by Firaxis Games, Civilization IV or “Civ4” has been one of the most complex and historical strategy computer games ever created. Based off the highly successful Civilization III which was released in 2001, Civilization IV and it’s two expansions Warlords and Beyond the Sword have sold over 3 millions copies worldwide. Recently released is “The Complete Edition” which features the original and the two expansions in one convenient game package. Here at Gamer Syndrome we are going to go in depth into what made the rise of this Civilization so great.

Civilization IV is a turn based strategy game or “TBS” which lets players esentially take turns moving units and managing thier empires. This alone makes for a vastly different gameplay experience than found in most strategy games on the market, and it takes some skill to master effectively. The player starts by picking a nation from a list of almost any historical nation imaginable, with each faction having specific advantages and disadvantages. These nations start with two traits that are very important to your play style, these traits are Agressive, Creative, Expansive, Financial,  Industrious, Organized, Philosophical, Spiritual,  Imperialistic, Protective, and  Charismatic. It seems like alot to learn, and at the start there honestly is a lot to learn, but as the game progresses you can’t help but appreciate the detail.


Once players choose a nation, you then pick a map to play on, there are many customization options available and players can choose anything from the terrain, climate, size, to the shape of landmass. You must also choose the victory conditions, which adds depth to the game, as you can choose to win by diplomacy or “cultural” victory, in which players must take over civilizations by converting them to their culture and religion. These options add a refreshing break from the standard military conquest gameplay mentality.  Nation, Victory condition and Map chosen, it’s time to play. You begin the game with a Settler unit and a Worker unit, the settler obviously lets you build whereaver you choose, and this is extremely important as the terrain is divided into squares which offer certain bonuses and also negative effects in some cases. Once established, the game grows increasingly complex as players must manage technological growth, population happiness, military strength, and a number of other factors to create a successful civilization. Managing all of these effectively is overwhelming at first, but once learned seems almost like an art of keeping balance and will make you feel like a great leader for doing so successfully.

The combat in the game is turn based, with certain units bieng able to move certain numbers of spaces and each with different hitpoints and bonuses. Some terrain advantages are obvious, as higher ground or defending getting combat bonuses and so on, others are not so obvious. Military growth is parallel with economic growth as certain resources are required to make stronger combat units, and gold is required to support those units. Population happiness is also key, as your nation will suffer economically if your people are unhappy, and as expected, nobody likes war, so although you can go on the offensive you are penalized for doing so for a longer period of time.

The multiplayer in Civilization IV and the expansions has been greatly improved since the choppy multiplayer of the previous Civilization games. Muliplayer feature allows players to create new games, and swap in and out of existing games, this is essential in Civilization IV, as games take a long time and players tend to leave from time to time. When a player leaves, the AI takes over and then waits for a new player to join, this adds an element of suprise as one minute your opponent is a predictable AI director, the next a skilled human player.


Civilization IV is a unique game and a fresh new experience for those new to the strategy gaming genre, or those familiiar with it. Sid Meiers Civilization IV: The Complete Edition allows players to have all the glorious expansions in one package, and the map and nation options seem almost endless. Although the game is not the newest on the market and there is a learning curve involved, the multiplayer is still extremely fun and can give you the gameplay mileage we all desire. Single player is a great experience and with such depth, you can replay the game over and over with different nations and have a new experience each time. If you are looking for a new game to fill in the edges, or just want to break into the strategy genre for the first time, Civilization IV is guranteed to be an awesome gaming experience.

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