Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Game (P)Review: Colonization II (2007)

This is a review of a game which doesn't exist, but if there is any justice in this Universe (and occaisionally there is), then I'll be able to get this game for Father's Day in 2007. The sequel to the hugely popular "Colonization", a spin-off from Sid Meier's record-shattering Civilization series, this game expands upon the solid gameplay the first installment offered.

Colonization was a place for Sid Meier to experiment with different formats, like his other popular spin-off, "Alpha Centauri". Without risking the Civilization franchise, he was able to play around with different methods of combat, government, and city management in both of these games, coming up with some truly innovative and brilliant ideas. Colonization II uses everything he's learned in his many games to bring you the ultimate empire-building experience.

With a frontier government type similar to the Alpha Centauri "Social Engineering" system, players will be able to mix and match how their empire is run from a variety of choices in a variety of fields, from Economy, to Personal Freedoms, to Military. Although Colonization II takes place in a very narrow timeframe and it does not include the "Technology Tree" feature, there will be ways to advance the technological skill of your empire. A dozen "Milestones" can be reached, each one adding slightly to the abilities and properties of your units, and cities. You can also still elect members of your Continental Congress, each one bringing considerable power to the table. Furthermore, some of these Congressmembers are playable units! They can lead your armies, inspire your population in person, or act as diplomats between you and the other foreign powers, or the potent force of the Natives.

The Natives have also been revamped and improved in Colonization II. Whereas in the first game they were merely obstacles and never a real threat, the indigenous nations of America are now forces to be reckoned with. They take as well as give, and can make or break your bid to win self-determination for your immigrants. The French still deal with them better, and the Spanish still deal with them... in their own manner, but both will find the Natives will now no longer acept six dollars for a boatload of cotton... at least, after the first time they get ripped off.

Borders, religious uprisings, slavery and emancipation, diseases, harsh winters and the allmighty Declaration and War of Independence all combine to create a rich, deep gameplay to rival any of the Civilization franchine. You listening, Sid? I want this game.

9.75 out of 10.


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