by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
You can also trade with the natives. Selling goods is a great way to increase your budget but their coffers are finite unless you buy goods that they produce. Buying them is not always worthwhile however, so eventually their usefulness for trade runs out. Savage settlements that are close to your ever expanding borders will dissolve under the pressure of civilization so getting their cash and expertise early can be a good strategy.
In many ways, it is the tax rate that forces you to progress as fast as you can. If you don’t keep up, the taxes will slowly smother your growth. While it is not impossible to survive without being able to sell goods ‘back home’, it is certainly not an easy task. Tax rates increase at such a high pace that I have yet to play a game in which I felt I was ready to deal with the independence. Similar to Civ, players can set the length of a game of Colonization but even at ‘Epic’, the Tax rate went up far too fast. Before long, you will be forced to declare independence. When you do, the King’s forces flood your shores. Defeating the King wins you your independence and the game.
The original combat system was seriously flawed. I won’t go into details here but suffice it to say that fighting a war was an incredibly frustrating experience. Civ IV: Colonization borrows much of Civ’s combat system and this works well, mostly. Even at the just above intermediate difficulty level (Explorer), the King’s forces are given so many bonuses that the game feels unbalanced. Pair that with the fact that you are often outnumbered 5 to 1 or worse and you will quickly perceive the game as somewhat unfair. I am hoping that a future patch will address this issue as I fear that most players will forever be stuck at the game’s Explorer level.
The AI seems to be rather docile. I have just completed my fourth game (lost three out of the four, mainly due to the combat balancing issues) and I have yet to see another nation grow to vast empires. Even when I leave them completely on their own, they don’t seem to grow beyond 5 or maybe 6 settlements. The AI isn’t particularly aggressive either and the Indian tribes are much easier to control by trading with them than they used to be. Granted, in the original the Indians were such pests that you were better of wiping them out completely.
Civ IV: Colonization brings some new elements to the table but none of these are Earth shattering. At its core, the game is the same as the original but with updated graphics, user interface and sound. Fans of the original will feel right at home, especially so if and when a balancing patch arrives. I wouldn’t have minded a hud that left more room for the actual map, but I’m nitpicking – Civ IV: Colonization is a solid strategy game with a unique trading twist that will keep you entertained for weeks, if not months, or even years.
I was one of those who waited for 14 years to see this remake and I am not disappointed. The original Colonization is the only game that has taken permanent residence on my hard drive. Civ IV: Colonization means an end to the 14 year old tradition of copying Colonization to newly installed hard drives. Maybe I will continue doing so, just for luck, but Civ IV: Colonization is a worthy predecessor to the original game and it may just be that both games shall have to live side by side.
No Pros and Cons at this time