A Game for the Ages
Unless you've recently crawled out from under a rock, you've likely heard of Sid Meier's games, even if you're just a casual gamer. Sid's games, namely the Civilization series, have been noted as being the most complex and detailed turn based strategy games in the industry. Perhaps more amazing than the extreme historical accuracy, addictive gameplay, and exceptional balance is the fact that since the years of Civilization, no developer has managed to even marginally clone the series (save for Civilization: A Call to Power, but that still counts as the Civ series in a rather warped way.)
Until the announcement of Civ3 was made, many Sid fans thought that Alpha Centauri was Civ3. While Alpha Centauri was a rather interesting game in its own right, it lacked quite a bit of what made Civilization what it was. Still, though, the interface was certainly an improvement over the "OS overlay" feeling of the core Civ games, and the new concepts introduced certainly made for an excellent gaming experience; moreover, the addition of multiplayer featuring player vs. player as well as co-op modes really took the game genre to new heights. Unfortunately, the simplicity of the gameplay and the AI led to the game's forgotten herritage, and a few more rounds of Civilization II.
Before I get too deep into this review, I'll make one thing perfectly clear: It is darn near impossible to review a Sid Meier game. These games are so deep, so expansive, so incredibly complex that there is no way to cover every detail, every new feature since the last game, and everything that is good or bad about the game. In fact, it's difficult to even begin to scratch the surface of its depth. That being said, I'll only be covering generalizations about the game, if you want more information on speciffics, a fan site would be your best bet.
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