I purchased Colonization through a deal with the devil (direct2drive), lured by that all-too-easy ‘just click me and you can play’ thing that D2D has going for it. Bastards get me every time!
At first I was really put off with the purchase too. I mean you pay $25 for what at first looks like nothing but a scenario in Civilization 4. Splash screens are the same, main menu is the same, all the options, everything. Even setting up a game is identical.
The graphics have been bumped up a bit, but nothing really amazing, just some nicer textures for the ground/water. The music is appropriately themed, and I’m enjoying it. Same goes for the new sound effects. Controls are unchanged from Civ 4, but that’s a good thing in my book.
All fluff aside, the really question is whether Colonization is worth buying, right? To me it’s a simple question. If you like Civilization, think playing in a set time period is a good thing, and like the focus to be more on the economy/building rather than combat, then you will like Colonization. It’s not going to shatter your perception of turn based strategy games, and everything has that ‘I’ve seen this before’ feel to it, but the overall package works well, and the challenge the game presents is different enough over Civ to make it worthwhile.
It’s not perfect, as it gets a bit wonky if you do really well, and combat is unbalanced considering you only have 3 units, but that might be balanced out in future patches. The economy/trade/building aspects are a lot of fun, and different enough from Civ to make for some interesting decisions. If you like Civ-style games, the price is good enough to warrant a purchase. I’d recommend it.