Reviewed: August 11, 2006
Released: July 24, 2006
How can you make a great game even better? Add more gameplay, tweak the existing game features and make sure you donít mess with what works. 2K Games and Firaxis has done exactly that with the new expansion packCivilization IV: Warlords. Warlords adds not only better graphics, game engine tweaks and all the updates to the core game but you get several new features including new scenarios and leaders.
Civilization IV: Warlords adds these new features:
Some of the great things about the Civilization series are its ease of use and in depth gameplay at the same time. The expansion pack Warlords adds many great features but the same great game is there at the core. Civilization IV has the world as your play toy and you get to try out new things like great leaders of history and some great new scenarios with new types of gameplay.
One thing that I think has been at the heart of this series is the overall things they have added to the game to make it a complete enjoyable game. The little graphics like your men running across the countryside as they explore or the fighting add to your enjoyment of the game. Yes this does not really make much difference to the actual gameplay and whether you win or lose the battles but it sure looks cool to have some graphics and visuals added to a turn based simulation game. After all a game with just little tags representing groups of men donít add a special feel to the game.
Civilization IV has done a great job with all these things and the expansion Warlords takes this game even further. The scenarios and new features meld seamlessly with the core game and add even more things for you to do and have fun with. New scenarios add a whole new flavor to the original game types with ones like the Vikings push onto the Isle of England in their search for gold or the British General George Washingtonís assignment to keep an eye on the French in the Ohio Valley.
Not only do they have new types of game play they have added new wonders, units and leaders. The new wonders are The Temple of Artemis, The University of Sankore and the Great Wall that encompasses the first civilization to get that far in the game for added protection and security for their lands. New leaders include men of history like Augustus Caesar, Genghis Khan, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington.
They have also added some new units like the Trebuche which is more powerful than the catapult, the Trireme naval vessel which has an advantage over standard galleys or the Omens which are messengers of divine power that evaluate your progress in the Omens scenario and decides whether you are progressing properly.
The new leader class is a bit different than the great person of the core game. The Great General is a military leader and increases military aspects of units in combat. He can also create a military academy and teach his war prowess to others to train military units with a production bonus.
They have added diplomatic options as well in Vassal states, which are an allegiance of one state to another. This allegiance is usually between one strong nation and a weaker one with the benefits of the larger nation being able to have free reign in the smaller one and the smaller nation getting protection. Both nations benefit in different ways and the agreement is broken after ten turns or if the smaller nation grows larger.
There are several new civilizations to play as like Carthage, Celts and Vikings along with new leaders, units and some unique buildings added to each civilization. These buildings are unique to each civilization and only that civilization has it, such as the shopping mall for - you guessed it, the American Empire. They have added other new people to the original civilizations to add some different characters and fun to the core game as well as new civilizations.
The Pit Boss feature is an addition that was created after Civ IV was first released. In it you join a multiplayer game and play as usual with other players over the Internet with one large difference. If you or other players log off the turns of players moving units around will only commence after the next person logs back in and makes his moves. You take your turns when you log on and play only commences in order when someone logs on. You can change technologies, research or do other internal things to your cities but not move units that would have any affect on others of the game. This way a game can be played out over time with your move being taken in turn with others in a fair game of multiplayer Civilization IV.
Civilization IV: Warlords plays pretty much the same as the core game but when something works well you donít mess with it. They have added things to create more value and gameplay but have not changed things so drastically that you would notice. You still have to deal with building your towns into cities and the tactics of fighting unless youíre in one of the new scenarios where the goals are a bit different. The same great civilization game is there at the heart of Warlords and this expansion only makes the game that much better.
Civilization IV: Warlords comes complete with all the tweaks, patches and updates for the core game which add to the fun of the game like the graphics of the little things happening to your units. The game starts off with some great movies of an ancient war then moves on with screens and between game scenes that are as much a treat as the regular gameplay.
Fighting between units and especially the new ones like Omens are carried out for your enjoyment and you can zoom in on the fun to watch them duke it out. The graphics are pretty good and are a great addition to the turn based game even if they are not necessary to the concept of this game type.
The interface and core game play has not changed but some of the games graphs and helper pages have been tweaked to make them easier to read and understand. The game overall is a great one and the graphics and visuals like in game cut scenes for important events and the little battles between units adds to a fantastic game.
I donít think much has been done to the sound from the original game but how can you improve on what is already this good. The really well done voice narration and in game helps that they have done continue to be of the same caliber as the original.
During gameplay you have the usual, or for this series excellent background music with appropriate background sounds for events that occur. All your people from a particular culture have the appropriate dialect when you hear them and it all adds to a rich sounding addition to the game.
With a game so easy to play and with such great variety in how you can play you would think it would be easy to add more value. Yet to keep the original games core values and quality and not take away from the games overall appeal was something that had to be done for any game good enough to be added to the Sid Meirís line of Civilization games. New scenarios, the Great General, other added units and features were very well done and in keeping with the quality of Civilization IV.
In many of my reviews I talk about an overall feel and complete gaming experience and this is definitely one game that has not only kept the standard of quality for their game but also improved upon it with the Warlord expansion. The expansion has included several different types of turn based gaming scenarios with different objectives than the original ones for even more hours of gameplay. Some of these objectives are to dominate new lands or obtain a certain amount of gold or as simple as destroying everything else on the globe.
You get all the original Civilization IV gaming experiences and fun plus more game types in the new scenarios and the added units, people and features of the original game. Warlords adds even more to a game that started out great and only continues to be an excellent turn based strategy game.
Original fans of the Civilization series have new grounds to conquer using new people and units with the expansion pack Civilization IV: Warlords. The game adds all kinds of new things to the original game and increases the total gaming experience with new gameplay types in scenarios and new added features.
If you have not started in on your gaming experience with Civilizations this just adds to the reasons to try your hand at conquering the world, or at least the world on your computer.