As Activision, Inc.'s follow up to Civilization: Call to Power, Call to Power II carries on the tradition of empire building from civilization's primitive roots to the 24th century. Drawing on more than 6300 years worth of history, every aspect of human warfare including political stances, exploration, cultural evolution, weapons, tactics and strategy are available as tools to mold and shape empires into world-dominating forces.
Call to Power II expands, enhances, redefines and re-balances many of the aspects of gameplay seen in the original. To name just a few of the changes, borders are more clearly defined between nations, city influences grow exponentially over surrounding terrain as populations grow and diplomacy increases as a factor in decisions regarding nations' political and military posturing. Trade considerations are expanded and a historical timeline regarding a chosen civilization provides perspective of long-range achievement or failure.
Unit graphics are enhanced over the original game with new animations added. The AI is designed to recognize more fully the differences between diverse military units and their capabilities, thus creating a higher degree of realism when they meet. Strategic warfare is more encompassing, allowing for unconventional approaches, with the combat engine tweaked to ensure outcomes based on both numbers and capability.
The non-combative player can still concentrate on building an empire rich in law, technology, science and the pursuit of building great wonders of the world. Military might is a by-product of this type of civilization and will be developed as necessary to protect the population, defend the homeland and expand territories.
In response to consumer feedback, Activision's Call to Power II features an improved (simplified) interface and menu system and puts emphasis on gameplay. Administration of day-to-day operations can be turned over to automated mayors of the cities with the overall design of the "behind-the-scenes" infrastructure and building menus enhanced and expanded for ease of play.
Whether interested in building an empire based on military might or approaching civilization supremacy through the auspices of non-aggressive tactics, Call to Power II provides a vast array of options for those craving world domination. Do you have the staying power to hold on for 6000 years?
Activision's Civilization: Call to Power was considered by most critics as a complete failure to make a sequel worthy to Sid Meier's famed Civilization iseries. Call to Power to was said to have poor AI, an uninspiring diplomatic system, and the ridiculously powerful 'stealth units'. Taking all of the criticisms on the first Call to Power to heart, Activision became much more successful with its sequel, Call to Power II.
Like the Civilization iseries and its predecessor, Call to Power II is a turned based strategy game and is in many ways similar to the classic Sid Meier's Civilization series. Players will start off during the era of 4000 BC, as you initially must develop an empire by building up its economy, researching technological advances, and expand its boundaries either by developing more cities or through military conquest.
Call to Power II has a plethora of technologies and units. Since there are so many technologies to research, you may end up not even having nuclear technology until the year 2100 AD! Of course, it all depends upon the size of your empire. But no matter how big your empire is and how much emphasis you put into science, you can still be way behind as compared to modern technology in the real world. The units are unique and several have their own special bonuses especially the notorious 'stealth units'.
What's weird about the game concerning the units is that units don't become obsolete over time. You can still build Bronze Age hoplites in the futuristic age, which makes very little sense. The 'stealth' units are the most powerful and the most annoying units in the whole game. They include spies, infectors (bio-terrorist-like units), and even lawyers and corporate branches. The Lawyer and the Corporate Branch may sound dumb, but they're actually one of the most powerful units since they can perform annoying 'attacks' like filing injunctions (cities can build anything for a while), suing (destroys corporate branch), or establishing franchises (leaches money out of city income).
Since Lawyers and Corporate Branches can't fight battles, I've always gotten a good rise out of bombarding and killing them mercilessly with my Stealth Bombers (not that I'm totally anti-lawyer or anything). Sometimes units can be far too powerful, especially eco-terrorist units who can totally reduce cities to absolutely nothing and televangelists who can completely convert cities to their side. Fortunately, technologies for stealth units are some of the later technologies to research and since the game ends at 2300 AD, they come into play much later in the game thus making it not too easy.
The combat system is quite good as compared to the system used in the original Sid Meier's Civilization iseries, but it is still flawed. Units can be combined in stacks of twelve rather than having only one unit attack another unit. In the combat system, units are arranged in three ranks if there are a whole bunch of units in a single stack. Each unit is either a flanking, offensive, or defensive unit. The problem with the combat system is that you still have no direct control over your units and thus the outcomes of battles depend upon terrain bonuses, city fortifications (if the battle is fought in a city), and unit strength. But if your army strength is equal to that of the enemy army, then the battle outcomes are random, which can get quite annoying since you have a chance of losing a lot of valuable units or all of them.
Since Call to Power II is a game all about building empires, diplomacy, of course, is one of the most important aspects of the game. Diplomatic proposals can be simple or quite complex. Various proposals that could be made include peace treaties, military pacts, alliances, research pacts, etc. When another empire makes a proposal to you, you can also make counter-proposals or even threaten the enemy. Diplomacy is a key factor to both success and survival in Call to Power II because not only is it necessary for the diplomatic victory, good relations could also decrease the likelihood of rival nations attacking. You would especially want to suck up to a nation that has a stockpile of nukes or eco-terrorists. Though complex and unique, the response you receive from rivals is always a simple, monotone, and wooden 'Your proposal has been rejected' or 'Your proposal has been accepted'. No matter how complex you make your proposal, you still end up with the same dull responses.
There are several paths to victory in Call to Power II. The paths to victory include total world conquest, a scientific victory, a survival victory, or the new diplomatic victory. In the scientific victory you have to research a specific technology and build a specific wonder. The easiest victory to obtain is the survival victory since its requirement is that your civilization survives up to the year 2300 AD. The diplomatic victory occurs only when you forge an alliance with every nation in the world.
Although there are a whole variety of nationalities to chose from, the nationalities are basically all the same. There's not much individuality in each of the nationalities. The only thing that would set one nationality apart from all others are leader names, flags, and city names, and that's basically all that's different. There is a lot of depth in the empire-building aspects in Call to Power II but virtually nothing in the cultural aspects for each nation.
Call to Power II was what the original Call to Power was meant to be. The sequel still has several flaws, but its gameplay value makes up for most, if not all, of them. Call to Power II made up for the failure of its predecessor and runs second only to the critically acclaimed and innovative Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Call to Power II is an excellent choice for die-hard fans of the Civilization iseries and is definitely worth a try for fans of turn-based strategy games. Though it can't compare to Alpha Centauri, it's still number two and ain't bad.
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