Is Sid Meier’s Civilization IV (2005), Worth Playing?
While Sid Meier’s Civilization IV represents the franchise’s first teetering steps into modern gaming and remains an important part of PC gaming history, it has been well and truly surpassed in every single way by new titles in the series.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: 4X Strategy
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 4 November 2005
Supported Modes:

It Has Aged Poorly.

As someone who has a lot of fond memories of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV,  I will be the first to admit that it has not aged as well as other entries in the franchise, and much of that is due to its role as a transitionary title, and its attempts to bring a franchise that had remained essentially the same since 1991 into a new era.

While it ultimately succeeded, it did so in a way that feels awkward for a multitude of reasons, much of which was due to the limitations of mid-2000s hardware, which meant that many aspects of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV felt constricted and, at times, far less impressive than those found in earlier titles.

While there were some advances in usability, such as the ability to move multiple units at once, a game changer for a franchise that had up until this moment required players to juggle dozens of units during the mid-to-late game, this is no real replacement for the army feature from Sid Meier’s Civilization III, nor the systems which would follow it in Sid Meier’s Civilization V and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, that in mechanically different ways allowed players to control a smaller amount of vastly more powerful units, instead of overwhelming the enemy (and occasionally their CPU), with a flood of units whose solitary purpose was to throw themselves against city walls until either the walls fell or the attacking army was destroyed/forced to withdraw.

In short, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV was groundbreaking at the time, but 18 years later, there is very little reason to play Sid Meier’s Civilization IV over newer or even older titles in the franchise.



While Sid Meier’s Civilization IV may not have been genre-defining in the way Sid Meier’s Civilization II or Sid Meier’s Civilization V were, that does not mean it failed to bring anything to the table. The addition of an enhanced espionage system and the first true introduction of religious mechanics help to set it apart from older titles, even if the systems appear primitive in retrospect when compared to their current incarnation in the complete versions of Sid Meier’s Civilization V and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, despite Sid Meier’s Civilization V dropping both systems from its initial launch, a controversy that we covered in our review of Sid Meier’s Civilization V.

Regional Pricing Issue.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV Complete edition retails for around $29.99 in the United States, roughly 64% higher than in the United Kingdom. This region traditionally suffers from higher prices due to regional taxation.


Complete Edtion.

The Sid Meier’s Civilization IV Complete edition contains not only the base game + both expansion packs but also the standalone release of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization, a title which, in all honesty, holds up very well in 2023 and is considerably more fun than Sid Meier’s Civilization IV, due to it not having been superseded and frankly shown up by later releases, in the way that Sid Meier’s Civilization V and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, highlight the shortcomings of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV.


Pictured: Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization.

Visuals and Performance.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV is starting to show its age. While the map textures are very clean and aesthetically pleasing, the unit models are clearly from the early 2000s and do not look very good upon closer inspection.

In addition, the performance hit of swapping to poorly optimized 3D models from highly optimized 2D sprites will be noticeable to those who played older titles in the series, especially those forced to use very old or low-end hardware.


User Interface.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV’s interface is surprisingly good for the time and, in many ways, is far superior to the overly colourful and bloated UI of Sid Meier’s Civilization V, though it is admittedly inferior to Sid Meier’s Civilization VI user interface, which is in my honest opinion the best looking and most user-friendly user interface in the history of the franchise.

Sid Meier's Civilization IV FAQ

Sid Meier's Civilization IV is a 4x strategy video game developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K, it was released on 4 November 2005 and retails for $19.99.

Platform Availability.

Sid Meier's Civilization IV is available exclusively on PC.

Are The Developers Active?

Sid Meier's Civilization IV is no longer in active development, and the developers have moved on to other projects.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Final Verdict.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV is an excellent title, and for those who purchase the complete package, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization is undoubtedly the best thing about Sid Meier’s Civilization IV in a post-Sid Meier’s Civilization VI world.

Is Sid Meier's Civilization IV Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Sid Meier's Civilization IV" a rating of 7/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

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