Civilization IV is out.
I thought Civilization III was a very poor addition to the series, with a lot of half-baked ideas, bad balancing and inexcusable bugs, as well as an AI that cut corners and depended a lot on cheating. (There is nothing more aggravating in Civ III than exploring and finding that somehow the computer players are building cities at a rate that it would be literally impossible for you to reproduce under any strategy.)
Having now played a bit of Civilization IV, I have bad news: it’s pretty damn great. All the bad implementations in Civilization III have been cleaned up, there’s lots of new good ideas and features, the AI is good and doesn’t (obviously) cheat. They even brought back the wonder movies! Much much time is going to be going down into this particular black hole, I can see.
This weekend is going to be tough, since I also need to dream up a bunch of names for supervillains as City of Villains goes live. I’ll post ’em later if I lock down my top names before anyone else does.
Update: Man, supervillain names are much more fun than superhero names. Why is that?
More Update: Civilization IV is the best in the series, hands-down. Pure silicon crack.
Still More Update: I got most of my names, so now Cardinal Cruel, Boomstick, Cannibal, and a bunch of other bad guys are ready to get to work. The only three names I got beaten to on my server were “Mommy Dearest” (so I subbed “Lizzie Borden” for roughly the same visual design), “redrum” (I kinda expected someone would beat me to that) and “Bluebeard” (plenty of remaining pirate names, so no problem).