Caesar IV - hands-on

The last reign of a Caesar city-builder franchise was a full eight years ago, and in the time between the Caesar team produced the charming builder, Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile. The pharaoh-themed Nile pushed the development team from a 2D palate into the 3D world, and the fourth Caesar game takes an even further graphical leap.

Caesar IV takes full advantage of nearly every visual bell and whistle that you might think of - quashing the notion that this level of detail is reserved for top-drawer shooters and RPGs. Light bloom, soft shadowing, weather effects and a full sunrise/sunset cycle are just some of the unexpected graphical delights.

You are the governor of this luscious Roman city, and the game focuses on three people groups: the plebeians, the equites and the patricians. Plebeians are the unskilled labor pool that are required in large numbers to serve farms and "factories."

Equites are the artisan classes, who serve in lower levels of government, operate the markets and the service industry. Equites have a higher standard of living, are more dependent on luxury goods and require nicer housing.

Patricians, on the other hand, do not work at all, but bring in the most taxes due to their opulent lifestyle and expansive villas. Taxing the hell out of patricians becomes a key concern - as long as you can keep them happy with entertainment and services.