Strategy fans are no strangers to the Sid Meier masterpiece and flagship series Civilization. The series has been known for years in the genre as providing an addictive strategy platform that can be as deep or as user-friendly as the player wants. The basic premise of the game is simple: lead your people to victory. But the various paths leading to victory can be very different. You can dominate your opponents with military force, create a global alliance and achieve world peace, advance science further than your rivals to be the first to reach the moon, or achieve a cultural victory by researching the Utopia project. Whatever way you choose, you will face heavy resistance from both rival civilizations and city-states, which are a new feature of Civilization V. The game manages to keep the replay value high and its addictive nature intact, while updating the gameplay and giving gamers an experience like no other.
As mentioned earlier, you have the ability to interact with new mini-civilizations called city-states. These territories work just like regular civilizations but lack the diplomatic options you find with fully featured civilizations. The city-states are an interesting and fun addition because they act independently, but then in times of stress they will band together and give you a run for your money. If you manage to stay friendly with city-states, they can be a strong ally. When their trust is earned, they will give you units, gold and military support for your campaigns, so there is a tremendous benefit to maintaining good relations.
The movement grid has also been updated for this game. Players now move on a hexagonal grid as opposed to the old square grid, and although this might not sound like much of a change, it actually gives the player a lot more mobility and angles of attack. It really improves the look and movement system, and although it’s not a huge change, it benefits the game more than one would expect.
Some elements from the previous game, including religion and espionage, have been removed, although since they weren’t big aspects anyway, chances are you won’t miss them. Espionage wasn’t an effective use of production since influence was limited to one city at a time. The only useful action was stealing gold, but you were never guaranteed success, and whatever you would get away with could have just as easily been earned through other means. Religion never really seemed to fit into the Civilization series and didn’t seem to have a lot of influence. Either way, these elements didn’t help or hurt the series, so their absence won’t leave much of a void.
What makes Civilization V a great game is its ability to both expand and contract the user experience. If you are a seasoned strategy gamer, Civilization V will allow you to build every road and farm by hand, manage all the cities in your empire and wage war against your rivals. If you are new to the series, there are automated routines programmed into the game that allow you to manage as much or as little as you want. No matter what level of management you are comfortable with, the menu system is very user-friendly and all the information you need to make decisions as a ruler is always in front of you. If you decide to automate, the AI is very good at making the right moves to expand your empire. If you ever get stuck, your advisers always give you a few options which allow you to decide how you want to proceed.
Overall, Civilization V is one of the best strategy games out there. The ability to just pick it up and play makes it a great game for just about anyone. This game is addictive, fun, and easy to play, and anyone curious about strategy games should give it a shot. You should be forewarned that the AI does tend to get aggressive against players, and for that reason the game may be a little on the difficult side, so make sure to play it on “Chieftain” first before diving into a harder difficulty level. All in all, Civilization V is great and is highly recommend to any gamer out there.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Steam version of Civilization V by 2k Games