The First Thing is, you don't play Caesar. So this game isn't about randy carpet sex with Egyptians and rolling around in milk and filling his fiddle with horse piss. Which is what Emperors do, for your information. As the mayor of a small town, you'll instead be overseeing the construction of your buildings, receiving messages from Rome saying, "We want grain, we're really hungry", and dealing with Jupiter getting narky and burning down your apothecary. This was 5O-odd years before the Christian god done a Jesus, and those old-time deities are really making the most of it...
9:25 The Plebs Are Revolting
It looks like Caesar has given me a free road to start off my town. On autopilot a little, I try to build a town hall. There isn't one, so I build a few small houses for some plebs. That's apparently the proper name for them, ( and they don't mind it at all. When the game tells me the area isn't desirable enough for plebs, I put on a glove puppet and say, in a posh voice, "Picky swine, these plebs". As my wrist swings from the monitor to my face, Reverend Bojangles looks around and replies in a cruel sneer "Crush them all, Mr Blyth, they are disposable nothings from ill stock."
9.36 That Ol' Time Religion
With refreshingly little direction from the game, I start building everything I possibly can. I reason that a mayor's town will fail or thrive not on whether its buildings have adequate resources within their spheres of influence. I reckon, as long as I can bluff it when you get a visiting dignitary, I'll be OK. I can imagine it now: "As you can see, Caesar, I've built loads of temples and there's a couple of ace wells too." And Caesar would say: "That's well holy, is that. Temples are wicked as."
9:45 Libraries Gave Us Power
I'm a bit worried now. I've built the library between the amphitheatre and the plebs' homes. This is possibly a mistake - the rowdy crowds will go screaming past the library on match I days, causing all the librarians to furrow their brows. As it turns out, the pleb classes couldn't give a toss about books, and are too ill to be bothered with the amphitheatre. I think I may well have A been jumping ahead of myself here. I turn my attention, grudgingly, to basic health and water supply.
10:00 I'm Only Happy When It's Grain
After fannying about for some minutes with equal gusto and aplomb, word comes from Rome. They want grain, and plenty of it Now, I curse the freedom I was given earlier. I took that time to fill my fields with adorable cows, to see if you can hear them moo when you zoom in really close. And now Rome wants grain. I check my goals and find that sure enough, cows have nothing to do with it. I find more fertile land and quickly grow some grain. Rome seems perky, and tells me: "You are no longer failing. Carry on like this and you may reach mediocrity." Ruddy cheek!
10:15 Dusky Springfield
They want grain? I'll give them grain. I'll build more grain fields than could be strategically useful. I'm so keen to show Rome who the new grain-growing daddy in the Empire is, that I build grain fields well into the night. Stupid Caesar. If this petulant approach to town planning seems unprofessional, you haven't seen my blueprints for a massive statue of Caesar going cross-eyed with his arse hanging out.
11:20 Doctor, Doctor...
After leaving the computer for a while to attend to myself in the toilets, cafeterias and hot tubs of our luxurious office complex, I return to find that Jupiter has vented some considerable wrath on a couple of my Wildings. I check my row of temples, and the daft tart's only gone and ightning-ed his own chapel. Also, people are sneezing everywhere, so I build a doctor's office and look for a Fitness First in the big menus.
11:40 Fickle God Shocker!
Inspecting the rest of my buildings, it B seems that Jupiter went proper crazy- B berserk on my town. I mean, honestly. If it's not one thing, it's another. Caesar in one ear, going on about grain. "Ooh, I'm Julius Caesar, and I'm hungry. Can I have a bit of grain please? I am Caesar after all, and my tummy really aches." Then Jupiter gets the arse, about quite literally god-knows-what It's enough to drive a loyal subject to rebellion. But how do you get revenge on a god? What would grab the attention of those . whimsical dice-rolling bastards?
11:55 Take That, Jupiter
Yeah? Take that. That's you, that is, Jupiter. That's you on the weekend. That's you on your best behaviour, because you've got a job interview. And that woman on the left? That's your interviewer. She just asked you whether you worked well as part of a team, and you went "I LIKE BOOBIES" and chased her around the desk. Meanwhile, thanks to a catalogue of catastrophic decisions, unemployment and illness are running amok in my townsfolk. Apparently Rome thinks I'm rubbish. Well, good. I never liked them anyway. I'm going to get my lunch.
Download Caesar 4
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Fans Of Roman city-building games must feel like they've been invaded by a procession of near-simultaneous Christmases. Or, perhaps, like they've opened a high cupboard, and a couple of precariously stacked Christmases have fallen onto their face. Its been eight years since Caesar III - that's 2,922 days of desolate, featureless savannah in the world of Roman town management All of a sudden, we've got the Sid-smothered CivCity: Rome, and now the big-trumpets return of the Caesar franchise. Were privileged to be living through the golden year of post-Republic village development.
Tilted Mill seem like a relatively new company to be taking the Caesar development reigns from the long heritage of Impressions - until you consider that Tilted Mill was founded by ex-members of the Impressionsteam. Incidentally,the founder of Impressions is now at Firefly studios - the team behind CivCity: Rome. Its like a Mississippi family tree, with less girls and sex, and considerably more town sims.
So, is the excited mountain of froth that weve all produced justified? What have four versions of DirectX added to the mechanics of well-placing and the manufacture of pottery? Well, it all looks pretty, and it's all in proper 3D, like. As weve come to expect, you can get feedback from your townsfolk and follow them around like a needy god.
Their chirpy in-character responses are along the lines of "Cutting wood for the Empire is my passion!" and "Oh my god, I just farmed a vegetable. All this loveliness comes at a price, though; when you're fully zoomed out on a budding megalopolis, the frame-rate can drop like a randy clowns trousers. And it has to be said, the sguareness of the overlay maps look a little brutal and clumsy next to CivCity's spheres of influence.
The Kingdom tutorial levels introduce you gently enough to the game's five measures of success; population, culture, favour with Rome, cash money and security. It's pretty much the same as in Caesar III, but then I suppose the needs of Roman towns haven't changed much in the last eight years. Sitting through the tutorials is a worthwhile chore to newcomers. If nothing else, theyll drill into you the basics of starting up a town that wont fall down, as thats what youll do, five times.
So. you've got your basic three classes of people. The plebs are your basic workforce, who mine clay and are relatively unfussy. even if they don't like living next-door to a pottery factory. The equites provide services, such as tax collection and civil service -they're too posh for wells, and require fountains and bathhouses. Then patricians, wholl pay hefty taxes if you give them a villa and a nice patio, and won't be happy unless you throw posh plazas and theatres at them.
Every town starts the same way; build for the plebs, get some farms down, send people off to get clay, wood, metals, build production units out of town and markets near homes. Once buildings are catered for, they grow, allowing you to pack in more people. Then build houses for the middleclasses, give them jobs and get in the rich people to stop you running out of money. Your missions are completed by meeting targets in those five areas we talked about earlier.
Apart from your usual (struggle-free) class system, youve got to prepare for military action. The Civilization series taught us that barbarians roamed the countryside picking on anything that looks like a city, and Caesar is no different. Combat was lalways a feeble part of the Caesar games, and it remains so here; but at least its less of a I bother now. Simply despatch your chaps to the enemy, and one terribly animated skirmish later, someones won.
Form & Function
Town-building games - being docile creatures - should be judged on their intuition, functionality and the sense of satisfaction they bring. Caesar IV will feel natural to anyone who's played this sort of thing before. Click on a building, the relevant options click up. As for functionality, it can be difficult to figure out a building's radius of influence, as the overlay maps sometimes dont show this but the information's available in text form from your advisors panel. As for satisfaction, the town-buildings fine, but the combat pnains unbloody and unconvincing - the imork's in the preparation, not the fighting.
Caesar IV is a worthy successor to the Caesar family of titles. But chances are, you already know if this is going to be your cup of tea - follow your heart young governor.