Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization Reader Review

The original Colonization launched in 1994, that is right, 14 years ago.

When it launched its reception was mixed, people didn't know what to expect. It wasn't a civilization sequel but did look a lot like one.

The simple fact is that the game used similar gameplay to focus on empire building elements Civ never bothered with. Trade, production and transport was the name of the game. You had to build not an empire but an economy. It was closer related to The Settlers then Civ.

For some fans, this game was superior to Civ. It did offer a more direct feel.

But that was 1994. Games were more primitive back then. This was the days of DOS, the days of the original Doom and X-com. Classic games, that now have died out.

So, what about this 'sequel'? Is it a true sequel or a mod for Civ 4?

One thing to remember is that Civilization itself never truly had sequels. The games barely improved on each other, they were more re-releases then true sequels. In some genre's this is to be expected, flight-sims barely change, so do racing-sims. So why should empire-sims?

The problem however with a mod is that you are trying to get an engine designed for one game to perform in a new way. Can it?

At first, the answer seems yes. When you start the game you really feel immidiatly at home as if the clock was turned back 14 years but this time with 'modern' graphics.

It is exactly the same... 14 years. And NOTHING has changed. Is that what we want? Don't we want slightly more complex production? Complexer forms of trade?

Firaxis says NO. You don't. You want to play exactly the same game as you played 14 years ago.

So, do they deliver that? No. There is, for me, one fatal flaw in the game. Remember that Col far more then Civ is about cities. One essential aspect of the game is to start a colony and use the land around it by putting settlres on it to farm, chop wood, mine etc etc.

Each colony has a 3x3 square of plots, the center plot being the city itself. So you can put 8 colonist to work. Each city also needs some basic support, a stockade for defence, a church to grow etc etc.

Sooner or later your city will start to grow and on the map expand its borders. Yippie, finally I can put in more farmers to turn New Amsterdam in the food bowl of New Holland! Eh, no. Your borders might expand, but YOU cannot actually make use of this new land as the colony screen doesn't give you any way of doing so.

I say YOU because the AI can.

Building large cities then becomes impossible, you end up having to build lots of small towns that can't grow no matter how big they get because the interface doesn't allow for it.

This ain't what Col is about. You can't carefully cultivate a center of Fur production in Alaska, that transports it to the coast to a factory town, both areas fed from the inland where you got huge farms towns supplying your colonies with food.

The lack of anything new, and the missing of essential elements from the original make this full priced game essential a nice but limited user mod. Fine if you get it for free as countless other mods but not as a full game.

I can't justify it at as a purchase. Play the original instead or download freecol if you must. The graphics are of course going to seriously hurt your eyes, but it safes you a few bucks and you won't groan in frustration when you reliaze that your colonies are forever stuck as the small hamlets you started out on.

Oh, and if you are hoping for HUGE maps and EPIC gameplay. Sorry, the maps are tiny even on huge and EPIC means a couple hundred turns easily done in an evening.

Firaxis, please try again.

As a free mod 8/10, comes close but missing a few essential elements. As a full game 4/10, sorry, inferior stategy to a game FOURTEEN years old? That is inexusable. If I want a blast from the past I just replay the original.

5 / 10

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