Civilization IV rises

Sid Meier's latest strategy sim takes the series into full 3D for the first time; adds new ways to manage a society.

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2K Games today announced that it is bringing Civilization IV to the unwashed masses--and to the washed masses, too. Starting tomorrow, masses of all manner will be able to buy the latest strategy sim from Sid Meier, as it is at this moment on its way to North American retailers (a European release is planned for November 4).

Where previous installments of the series won acclaim for letting players take a civilization from the cradle to the grave (or world domination) through ugly warfare or uglier politics, Civilization IV looks to add some more wrinkles to the formula. First of all, developer Firaxis gussied up the game with the series' first fully 3D engine and made adjustments to the interface and gameplay.

Also new to the series is the introduction of religion and civic options. Research will let players customize their government, combining freedom of speech, slavery, hereditary rule, open elections, and more as meets their needs. On top of that, players can research and unlock seven religions that will help keep their populations happy, extract gold from them, and create Great Prophets, one type of the new civilization-enriching Great People.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV is rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older and retails for $49.99. Check back later this week for GameSpot's full review.

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