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Caesar 4 Review
developer: Tilted Mill Entertainment
PIV 1600, 512MB RAM, 2GB HDD, 64MB video card
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Sep 26, 06
|» All About Caesar 4 on ActionTrip|
Life is a mystery. It is such a mystery that it boggles the mind on an almost daily basis. For example, why in God's name are there different languages in the world? How am I to communicate with a German if he only speaks German? I've tried. Sign language doesn't work very well, so I immediately assumed he was saying bad things about my family. Long story short, I started WWII. Does that make any sense? Well that's just another mystery then; how does a guy like me get to rant about idiotic things in what is supposed to be a game review.
I hear that women are pretty hot in Cyrenaica.
Welcome to my prosperous settlement, peasant.
So before you stone me with large rocks and toss my bruised body onto a bonfire, I shall just remind you that life's mysteries extend to the gaming world as well. For instance, why do three different publishers decide to release games with the exact same theme and gameplay mechanics in such a short period of time: Glory of the Roman Empire, CivCity: Rome, and now Caesar IV. Was there some sort of secret pact signed between these companies, or better yet, did they get tips on what's going to be hot in the gaming industry from the same analyst? That guy who's been on vacation in Cancun, Mexico since last March?
Do they simply act like random molecules bumping off of each other in a pool of rehashed ideas? Are my literary escapades making your stomach turn? Good; serves you right for reading this far. The point is that all three of these titles are similar enough to make me sort of question their existence. Maybe if we had some sort of battle to the death in the Coliseum and the last game standing gets a wooden sword and a free gift certificate for any Best Buy store, but as it is, these three games largely cancel each other out.
Having said that, Caesar IV at least has a legacy to speak of; it is a direct descendant of a game I played many moons ago, called Caesar III. Now forgive my hazy World of WarCraft-infected mind, but I seem to recall that Caesar III successfully blended real-time strategy combat with management elements. I seem to recall that I predominantly enjoyed the real-time combat bit, with each of my commanders having their battle shout ability and just enjoying the dynamics of a well designed military portion of the game.
Now you can go ahead and correct me if I'm wrong (providing you've actually played the game, silly), but Caesar IV seems but a pale shadow of the classic third game in that sense. For some strange reason, the bulk of the player's attention is centered on performing the managerial tasks of running a city. In fact, the entire 'Republic' campaign, which is sort of the intermediate stage of the main campaign ('Kingdom' campaign can be considered as a lengthy tutorial of sorts) is comprised solely of managing your city, making sure everyone's healthy, there are enough workers and jobs available and that Gods have enough shrines not to get pissed off and blast one of your buildings. The 'Republic' campaign seemed to take ages for me, ages! Every single mission seemed the same as well, with varying terrain and an odd inclusion of a new building. A couple of minor raids proved somewhat troublesome at certain stages, but they were quickly dealt with, either with my diplomatic skill or by my garrisoned troops. Bottom line is, I couldn't wait for the 'Republic' campaign to end, hoping that at the 'Empire' stage I would actually get to experience some of that old Caesar III fun.
Sadly, two missions into the 'Empire' campaign, and much to my dismay, things stayed largely the same. I gave up at that point. Sure, the Roman Empire spread across a larger terrain, but who cares really? Fun was 404 - not found. End of discussion.
Technically, Caesar IV is very solid. The game looks nice. The lighting in the scenery looks natural and the real-time day and night cycles, as well as the climate changes add a lot of atmosphere to each map. The sound effects are good though largely unnoticeable, which I'm not sure is a good thing. The citizens go about their daily routines quite efficiently, so I can't object too much about the AI either. It's what you'd expect to see in a management game. Generally speaking though, Caesar IV seemed like the prettiest of all the three 'Rome' games. This, however, came at the expense of performance, as the game is a real hog (even on high-end systems) when played with the graphical details maxed out.
Boy, Jupiter's pissed!
Equites are the bread and butter of your city. Though you can't eat them.
I did get used to the interface after a while, though I found it to be slightly less intuitive and somehow sluggish as compared to the other two games.
Caesar IV offers a lot of content. The main campaign is pretty huge, with three different stages that depict three different eras of Ancient Rome. The developers have also included an in-engine editor with tools and an online feature for those wanting to get into some geek on geek action. In my opinion, however, the game is simply not fun enough and it gets very repetitive after a while. The challenges rarely diverge enough to keep things interesting, so Caesar IV just gets stale after a while.
If this game was a Roman and it was giving a speech in the Senate, I'm afraid it would likely get stabbed 18 times in the back by a bunch of conspirators just because it was boring all the Senators to death.
6.9 Above Average
Technically very sound, pretty, plenty of content;
Main campaign too repetitive, performance issues, minor interface issues; simply gets boring after a while.
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