Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword review

  • New wonders and buildings
  • New espionage and corporate features
  • Extra mods to play
  • Lack of balance in the last
  • Nothing radically new here
  • Mods aren't as good as originals

New national wonder the Moai Statues (those Easter Island heads) gives a production bonus to every water tile, giving watery civilizations a real boost. Similarly, new naval units and rules may at last give naval powers a chance. Privateers are basically pirate ships that let you attack without being identified, while the Ship of the Line is a frigate beater. Modern vessels, the Attack Submarine, Missile Cruiser and Stealth Destroyer, perpetuate the sea battles; the new blockade rules allow all ships to seriously affect a rival’s trade and cut off strategic resources.

Espionage has been completely overhauled and adds potential for the ancient spymaster. Whereas before, Spy units could only be built after learning Communism, now they can be up and running after developing Writing. What’s more, their missions don’t spend your hard earned gold any more, instead drawing on your stock of espionage points. These accumulate every turn and are initially split equally among every civilization you’ve encountered, but can be spread any way you like, enabling you to focus on a particular civilization at a crucial time - before starting a war, say.

While the new espionage system puts Spy units into the action much earlier than before, so the new Corporation feature extends, or more accurately mirrors, the function that religion plays in Civ. Once you discover the Corporation technology, you can - given the right conditions - found a corporation and spread its custom in much the same way as religions spread, with Corporate Executives adopting the missionary position. Those conditions are the limiting factor, though, demanding an additional tech, a Great Person and at least one resource to found it.

More Info

Release date: Jul 24 2007 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Strategy
Published by: 2K Games
Developed by: Firaxis
Franchise: Civilization
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending


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