by William Thompson
previewed on PC
Apart from keeping the citizens happy, you must make Rome happy. To do this you must build up the city, but you also need to make profit. This is where taxes and budgeting is needed. OK, I know that the accountants among our readers are thinking “Woohoo!” and everyone else has just dozed off, but it isn’t that bad. Really. Getting the money rolling is another aspect of the game that requires some thinking. Placing roads in a position to help the distribution of goods, for example, whilst trading resources with other civilisations is another option.
All hail, mighty Caesar
Of course, if you do all this well, you will get rewarded. When your town becomes a thriving community, Rome will look to you for bigger and better things. As you advance up the political ladder, you get to travel to the ends of the known world and visit places such as Spain, Germany, Britain and even Egypt. And then, if you are good enough, you yourself can become the next Caesar.
The jump to the 3d engine works well in Caesar IV. The graphics are clear and crisp, and townspeople walk the streets going about their business, further enhancing the feel of an active society in addition to the above-mentioned smoke billowing from the chimneys and the trees moving in the wind. Having said that, the trees and even the buildings in the city appear a little “utopian”. The houses and streets always seem to be clean and the trees perfectly trimmed. This is only a small gripe, and is probably just my own personal opinion. Others can judge it for themselves.
Another thing that will appeal to the varying tastes of gamers is the fact that there are a number of gameplay modes. These include the career mode in which you can rise to become Caesar (if you are good enough), a scenario mode in which you can play one mission without needing to go through the career mode, and lastly, a sandbox mode, which basically lets you build the town at your own speed.
Competition to beat
This game has a number of things going for it at present, but the team over at Tilted Mill and Sierra will have plenty to prove. Especially since the recent news that the gaming legend Sid Meier and his team at Firaxis are developing a new game titled CivCity; Rome in conjunction with Firefly Studios (the team behind the castle-building Stronghold series). With Sid Meier's game released in the summer and Caesar IV in the fall, we foresee a great battle between these titles. Caesar will have old fans and the developer's experience on its side, but it will also have to impress new players enough to come out on top from this duel.