on November 29, 2007
The second and much more expanded expansion for Sid Meier's Civilization IV, Beyond the Sword, once again adds an incredible amount of depth to game play. It also includes all of the Warlords expansion, at the exception of the scenarios, making it the better expansion pack overall. As well as including the benefits of Warlords, Beyond the Sword (BtS) features new leaders, technologies, units, wonders, scenarios, mods (both player and programmer-made), civilizations and rules as well as much more extensive espionage options. Some of the most notable new features are the addition of random events, which though generally negative, can occasionally have important religious, diplomatic or economic implications. The addition of the Apolistic Palace also allows for earlier diplomatic victories, though the possibility only exists if other civs are adopting your religion. Corporations also deepen the economic aspects of the game and act as late game religions.
A few words of caution and perhaps a few quick criticisms. Obviously, the large number of add-ons steepen the learning curve, not only for players that were avid players of the earlier Civilization games, but also for players of Civilization IV and Civilization IV: Warlords. For this reason, playing a "cheated" first game might help you learn all the added features. Second, a video card is strongly recommended. I have not yet been able to play some of the mods and scenarios as a result of my not having one, but still found that BtS expanded and changed my strategies greatly. One thing that is sadly missing is a map of the World with all of the civilizations already in place, although one could undoubtedly find a download. Also, the voice over for new technologies like aesthetics is certainly no Nimoy and seems somewhat out of place. Finally, adding some differences or specializations between the religions would also have greatly affected game play, but again, BtS was already ambitious enough...
As a final word, I would highly recommend purchasing this game if you own Civilization IV. Buying this game could also potentially eliminate the need to purchase Warlords as most of the add-ons from Warlords are in BtS. All in all though, it adds a whole new depth to the game without being overbearing or ruining the real 'feel' of the game.
on August 18, 2007
I would highly suggest buying this game because it adds a lot of new features to the original game. It includes a whole bunch of new civilizations and leaders as well as all of the features (minus the scenarios) from the warlords expansion pack! It adds many features for use after the founding of gunpowder and it also includes many interestiing mods and scenarios. I would recommend this game for all fans of strategy. I would count this game among some of the best expansion packs ever, because of all of the new features added to it.
on July 13, 2007
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword is an expansion pack for Sid Meier's Civilization IV, a turn-based strategy game that received numerous Strategy Game of the Year awards, as well as GameSpy's Game of the Year award.
Beyond the Sword (BTS) takes Civ4 to the next level. The amount of content in this expansion is staggering - 10 civilizations, 16 leaders, 16 buildings, 6 technologies, 31 units, 14 Wonders and 11 scenarios. In addition to that you get an early age equivalent of United Nations, which opens up the path to diplomatic victory much earlier. There are also Corporations, which act in many ways as religions for the late game, and also provide ways to gain resources that one might be lacking. Espionage as well received a major boost and is now a prominent part of the game, including a slider and great spies. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you're a fan of Civilization 4 then Beyond the Sword is a must have expansion, and if you're new to the game then getting BTS with Civ4 give you a much more complete and polished gaming experience than Civ4 alone.
Just to wet your appetite even more check out these previews and tons of screenshots that come with them: