Between its entertaining and engaging scenarios, the improvements and enhancements to the regular epic game, and the functional multiplayer, it's an excellent expansion pack.
It's almost hard to believe that Civilization III is already two years old. When it debuted in 2001, the third game in what's arguably the greatest strategy series of all time for the most part lived up to fans' high expectations. However, the franchise stumbled badly with the subsequent expansion pack, Civilization III: Play the World, because its biggest and most anticipated feature, a multiplayer component, was broken, bug-ridden, and virtually unplayable out of the box. A slow succession of patches over the past year addressed most of the problems, though the damage was done and Play the World remains a forgettable afterthought in the otherwise glorious annals of Civ. You've got to hand it to Firaxis, though, because the company took its lumps, went back to the drawing board, and came up with Civilization III: Conquests, a great expansion pack that reinvigorates a gaming classic while finally delivering on the multiplayer promised long ago.
Conquests derives its name from the fact that the centerpieces of this expansion are nine meticulously crafted scenarios built around important moments in history, from the dawn of civilization in Mesopotamia all the way up to the Pacific theater of operations in World War II. In essence, the designers chopped up the epic game, which takes you from the Stone Age to Alpha Centauri, into nine distinct eras, then expanded upon them so we get nine mini-Civilization games that aren't so "mini" at all.
The designers did a great job of selecting scenarios that present distinctly different challenges and approaches and that also inject some much-needed diversification in the strategy genre. There are the obligatory European-based scenarios, but there's also an engaging Mesoamerican campaign, as well as a challenging Age of Discovery scenario set in the New World that, in a nice twist, also lets you play as the indigenous civilizations trying to stave off European colonization. Some scenarios, like the Japanese-based Sengoku campaign, will feel familiar because you have to build an empire from scratch. Others, like Napoleonic Europe, begin with all the major players having already been established and the map fully revealed, so instead of empire building, it's all about making (and breaking) alliances and engaging in grand military campaigns. Since each scenario has specific victory goals and turn limits, they force you to play a much more aggressive game than you might normally play in a regular Civ game.
Each scenario packs an impressive amount of historical detail, along with a clever tailoring of the rules, technology trees, units, and artwork. For example, during the Mesoamerican campaign you'll battle it out as the Inca, Aztecs, or Mayans for control of Central and South America. Since ritual human sacrifice was a critical part of those societies, your warriors can capture units in battle, and you can sacrifice those units at one of your cities to boost your culture points and expand your empire's boundaries and influence! And since these civilizations thrived in the jungles and mountains, the rules have been rewritten to allow you to build cities on mountaintops, like the legendary lost cities of South America, as well as treat jungle squares as grassland in terms of productivity. It's a treat when you realize that, for once, jungles are your friend instead of a tedious obstacle. The tech tree has also been reworked and features numerous Mesoamerican-specific technologies, and there are a whole slew of strategic and luxury resources associated with South America that you must seize if your empire is to thrive, including exotic birds, tobacco, and even llamas! The level of detail is so amazing, and the material is so new and fresh, that you'll often find yourself actually reading the entries in the Civolopedia to learn more about these ancient societies.
- Player Reviews: 18
- Game Universe:
- Sid Meier's Civilization III (PC, MOBILE, MAC),
- Civilization: Call to Power (PC, MAC, UNIX),
- Civilization II (PC, PS, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (PS3, X360, WII, DS, IP),
- Sid Meier's Civilization IV (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization V (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization V: Game of the Year Edition (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword (PC, MAC)
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented