is the closest thing to Video Game Netflix I've ever encountered: Itís quick and simple to get into, you've got countless different genreís to enjoy, and its as addictive as crack cocaine mixed with heroin. I managed to pick up Civ 5, originally released in 2010, over the Steam Holiday Sale, and it seems more than a few other people did as well. Reviews and Let's Plays have been flying about. As such, a retreview seems in order!
First and foremost, I have to say that purchasing the expansion, Gods and Kings, with the core game is a MUST. Gods and Kings not only gives you even more civilizations to choose from, but also introduces the idea of religion, which is superbly executed (and touched on later!). It also adds in an absolutely fantastic scenario and numerous beautiful cut scenes conversations with all of the NPC Civilization leaders.
One major point I feel the need to give to Civ V is how much they care about making each civilization feel unique. Too often in RTS games I find that your choice of civilization makes little to no difference. You may have access to one different troop choice, but other than that, a Greek is no different than an Egyptian. Not so in Civ V. Your choice of civilization can vastly change how you play the game. One of my favorite civilizations in Carthage, led by the semi-mythic Queen Dido. Playing as Carthage all of your cities automatically have a Harbor, and (in homage to he great general Hannibal Barca) your able to cross mountain tiles, something no other civilization can do. This means your automatically going to be looking to base your cities on the coast, and preferably next to mountains in order to control the surrounding landscape. The Maya are another favorite, and those choosing to play as this civilization will get the bonus of having a great person born every 394 years. Your starting civilization choice actively changes the way you'll approach the game, and that weighty choice is welcomed.
In every game you have a variety of ways to win. The most straight forward is brute force. Building an army is fun, and combat is tactical and engaging thanks to the hex system every Civ V map is built on. Each military unit takes up one hex, so you can get involved in some serious games of cat and mouse, and every move feels like it counts. Different types of troops are also VASTLY more powerful against others. Donít send your Calvary in to attack a city (theyíll get slaughtered), but they will rip through that infantry unit. It really is a game of balance.
Cultural and Economic/Diplomatic (Diplomacy is really about the money, lets be honest...) victory are less balanced. The idea here is to just put your head down and bull rush. Devote everything toward your goal, putting only as many resources as you need to have a sufficient defense into your military . Religion also factors into this form of victory. The ways in which religions work between civilizations is incredibly varied, and its always fun to convert a city-state to the worship of the Flying Hamster (Note: you can, and really should, customize religion names. Sure there's a good mix of world religions and religious traits, but the allure of converting people to Whovianism is just too good...)
Multiplayer works surprisingly well, though I have heard of other people experiencing issues in the past. Your playtime and experience will vary wildly from turn to turn and game to game, so its hard to give a firm review of this particular feature. More or less, if you play with fun people you should have a good time, but make sure something else is going on, be it a movie, drinks, or just good conversations. Some turns can feel like they take ages when all you did was build a road and your ally is waging a war of three fronts. A coordinated team of humans can easily wipe the floor with the computer AI, so Iíd encourage you to go the route of a versus match for a real challenge.
My review wouldn't be complete without mentioning Empires of the Smoky Skies. This Scenario drops you into the middle of an entirely different game as far as I am concerned. First you choose a Steampunk Leader of one of Five Steampunk Societies. Then, your plopped down in the world with a few settlers, scouts, and (I kid you not) frickení Land Ironclads. Things only get more insane from there. There are different tech trees, different things to research (including Subterranean Settlements...), Airship, Land Leviathans, and machine gun wielding Luddites replacing the standard barbarians. The Victory conditions are also different, and are incredibly tough to fulfill though youíll become so over-powered by the end of things they aren't actually as difficult as I may make them sound. Its an amazing addition if only for its depth and how much time has gone into making new units, artwork and mechanics. Its a must play for even a passing fan of Steampunk, and frankly worthy of its own expansion/standalone game.
Damn, I love this game.
If there is one complaint I have to make against Civ V, it is the obvious one. Game length is the only major thing holding this game back from being more accessible and loved on a greater scale. Granted, the game length of 7 or so hours to finish a single game (depending on how you play and the settings of that particular game. it could easily take much longer if playing on a big map) is part of what makes Civ V...Civ V, and canít really be avoided, but its the imperfection of the game. If anything though, it is a fault that you will love Civ V because of.
No review of Civ V can ever truly capture the vast scope and incredible depth of Civ V. Its dynamic, varied and incredibly flexible. This is game that only get better the more you put into it. Of course, this might lead to 12 hour long binges, but whose complaining when you just fought off Ghandiís army, established a trade agreement with Boadicea, and have constructed the leaning tower of Pisa in your capital of Tenochtitlan!