"Ever dreamt of being king? Civilization II lets you do just that. Become the leader of one from over twenty civilizations. Build some cities. Explore your world. Discover amazing technologies. Conquer rival nations. Negotiate with friendly nations. Then if you survive all of that, you can take your country to the outer limits. In Civilization II, the possibilities are endless. "
Ever dreamt of being king? Civilization II lets you do just that. Become the leader of one from over twenty civilizations. Build some cities. Explore your world. Discover amazing technologies. Conquer rival nations. Negotiate with friendly nations. Then if you survive all of that, you can take your country to the outer limits. In Civilization II, the possibilities are endless.
The gameplay graphics in Civilization II are certainly below average. They look as if they could have been done on Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. The world map consists of hundreds of little squares. If anyone has played strategy games such as Panzer General, this “square format” should be familiar. For those who are totally confused, I’ll cover the “square format” in the Gameplay section. Anyway, back to the graphics. Each unit, or military troop, looks like a small cartoon. When two units go into battle, there are no special graphics that come up. The two units just collide, and one unit will be destroyed while the other remains.
There is one good thing that I found with the graphics though. Throughout the game, you will be able to watch many short video clips. Each time your nation builds a “Wonder of the World,” such as the Great Pyramids or the Statue of Liberty, you are shown a minute-long video clip of that wonder. You also get to watch little video clips each time you consult your High Counsel. When you talk to a certain advisor, such as the Military Advisor, he or she will tell you your status in their area of expertise. All that is done through short video clips. Unfortunately, those are the only good points I could find with the graphics in Civilization II. But believe me, the bad graphics are overshadowed by the game’s magnificence in its other areas.
The sound in Civilization II are done quite well. Every time you engage in a battle, you get a small taste of the battle might sound like. Fight with some samurai warriors and you’ll hear the noise of swords clashing. Go to battle with bomber airplanes and you’ll hear the whistle of bombs falling to through the air. You can also hear some sound effects after one of your cities builds a city improvement. When this occurs, you hear an sound associated with the city improvement. Build a bank and you will hear a ka-CHING, you know, the sound a cash register makes. Build an aqueduct, and you'll hear the sound of rushing water. All of these sound effects, though, can get very repetitive and tedious, especially if you’re building your fifth or sixth civilization. But that’s only after a long time. A very long time.
The music, though, is about average. The music somehow gets you into an “explorer” kind of mode. It really can’t be categorized. I would say it’s a mix between soft techno and instrumental music. The down part is that there are only four soundtracks you can listen to, so they can also become tedious. But like I said earlier, it takes a long time before that happens. Overall, the sound in Civilization II is above average. It won’t blow you away, but you certainly will not be left unsatisfied.
The best part about the game’s storyline is, (Drum roll) you get to create your own storyline! (Applause and cheering) You start in the year 4000 BC, but after that, it’s all up to you. You could choose to be a peace-loving nation and make peaceful negotiations with all other nations, or you could be a militaristic nation and conquer any nation that stands in your way. Or you could be a mixture of both, conquering some while showing mercy toward others. The choice is yours to make. The possibilities are limitless.
You could also choose how to end your glorious civilization. Some may try to take over the entire world, leaving themselves as the sole nation. Others may choose to end the game with their technological advancements. Be the first nation to travel throughout outer space, and you’ll be rewarded marvelously. The weak may end their game by simply being conquered. But who would want to do that?
The control in this game is actually pretty standard. When moving around your units, all you do is rotate an arrow in the direction desired, press X, and your unit magically moves in that direction. At times, though, the arrow can be blocked from your view by various menus. This results in frustrating moments where you struggle to move in the right direction. Luckily, these moments are rare. Moving around in the menus is also standard. You move around with the directional pad, pressing X to confirm choices and triangle to cancel. Oh, and there also is no analog support in Civilization II, which isn’t that disappointing anyway, since all you’re doing is moving through menus or moving your units. Well, I feel there’s nothing more that can be said, except for my rating.
Well, I honestly don’t know where to start. I guess I’ll start with the negatives of the gameplay. There are some very long load times. And I mean very long load times. I'm talking in the neighborhood of 3-5 minutes on average. But you could easily pass the time by reading a book, watching some TV, etc. As for other negatives, there aren't any.
So now onto the positives. First, I’ll explain that “square format” that I mentioned earlier. The world map consists of numerous squares. Each square represents a different type of terrain. Some of these include swamps, grasslands, mountains, deserts, and oceans. You start out the game knowing very little of your surroundings. Most of the world map is covered with black squares. The only way to uncover more of the world map is to go exploring with your units. Most of this may sound confusing right now, but luckily the game includes a Tutorial mode, which helps out extremely.
Well, what else should I explain. There’s the political aspect of the game. Negotiating with other countries can be frustrating at times, but also rewarding at other times. You can negotiate about exchanging units, money, or even technologies. The militaristic portion of this game is my personal favorite. Take your large armies and just pound on your opponent. What can be more satisfying that that?
I think I said this in the Storyline section, but this game has endless possibilities. With numerous ways to end your game and even more ways to get there, you’ll be playing this game for a long time. A very, very long time. In fact, I still enjoy playing this game, and I’ve owned it for over two years. Enough said.
Overall, this game is the best strategy game for the Sony Playstation. The replay value, gameplay, and its customizable storyline prove that fact. Well, I believe nothing else can be said. Now go out there and conquer the world!
Community review by cdbavg400 (November 15, 2004)
A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.
If you enjoyed this Civilization II review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!