Each of the four playable European powers (England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands) has a unique advantage that affects your strategies, and each has two leaders with an additional bonus. The Dutch, for instance, have a more stable economy, and depending on which leader you choose, you also get either increased production or fewer tax hikes from the King. And in place of research, Col lets you recruit founding fathers to your Continental Congress for added bonuses. With a different set of bonuses each time on random maps, there’s more than a little replayability potential here.
Civ IV’s rock-solid engine has gotten an impressive graphical update, with lush green environments and reflective water. The world looks almost too good for this kind of game, since you can’t tell just by looking at a tile exactly what kinds of resources you’ll get by building a colony there, but that’s a problem easily solved by enabling the resource display view. Recognizing that nothing kills an extended play session like bad or repetitive music, Firaxis included a wide selection of excellent-quality tunes in both American Revolutionary War–era and Native American styles for your listening pleasure.
If you and up to three friends have some serious time on your hands, you can kill it with a round of online multiplayer (Internet, LAN, or by email) or in hotseat mode - though you shouldn’t expect to finish a game unless the lot of you are extremely dedicated to the cause. If you missed Col the first time around (and most of you probably did), now is an excellent chance to pick it up and dive into the colonial era. Even with a single path to independence and the balance issues, there are so many different factors that go into achieving victory that it will take many, many replays before it becomes monotonous.
PC Gamer scores games on a percentage scale, which is rounded to the closest whole number to determine the GamesRadar score.
PCG Final Verdict: 84% (excellent)
Sep 19, 2008