For those who haven't played the series before Civilization is a historical turn-based strategy game. Upon starting the game you will get to choose to lead various civilizations throughout the course of history. Then the game will give you a choice of map types, climate conditions, world size, world age ect. and will then randomly generate resources onto the chosen map type. It's this random generation of maps that is one of the things that gives the game such great replay value. Resources play a big role in the game and you can only see where they are once you have the technology to use them which means that more often than not you will have to trade with other countries to get something not found within your borders, or take it by force the choice is yours. Which brings me to the many different ways the game can be played. Having high culture points is just about as powerful as having a strong military and can be used to expand your borders by other cities liking your culture so much they want to join you. Military might is also certainly still an option and your units will gain experience from combat to become more powerful. However war is never looked on kindly by your citizens and you may have riots on your hands if it goes on too long and you started it in the first place. The way you act in matters of both peace and war determines how much other cultures trust you. If you are known for breaking treaties and raising cities other cultures will be very cautious of you and sometimes just plain angry when they negotiate with you. Your reputation with other cultures plays a role in all your negotiations whether it be for trade or rallying other countries to join in a military alliance with you against an enemy. There is a lot involved in almost every aspect of Civ 3 and city building and unit creation is very intense but considering how much is going on they handled the interface quite well and it never overwhelms you. This is also another aspect of the game that adds to its addictiveness, there is simply always something going on and new plans to be hatched or revised with each turn. There are five different ways to achieve victory in the game (Domination, Diplomatic, Cultural, Space and Military) but i have found my most enjoyable games have been those where i just focused on building a really great civilization to live in. I found it very rewarding and kept on playing after i had won the game. On the easiest difficulty the game is... well very easy but on the hardest difficulty it is almost impossible and you will be spending a lot of playtime trying to beat it in all 5 ways on even the second hardest difficulty. The game just oozes re-playability and challenge. The graphics in Civ 3 are good for it's genre and everything looks very nice. Being a TBS there isn't much room for really flashy or fast graphics so it isn't exact the game you would show your new graphics card off with :) but like i said it all looks very nice and is functional. The sound is also pretty solid and each age has music which defines the age and adds some atmosphere to the game. Despite the game not having state of the art graphical effects you would be surprised how easily you get drawn into the game world. The graphics have also aged well because they are designed from a functional/artistic perspective rather than showing off the latest effects of the time. If you can't tell by now i really love this game and consider it to be a classic. It's the kind of game that will stand the test of time and you will still be playing years from now.
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