Review: Civilization V

Albert Einstein commented once that civilization would not be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the earth would be killed. As I recall, only one-fifth of the planetary population died when I launched my nuclear ordinance into the heart of the Greek Empire. So much for Einstein.

My life-long love affair with Civilization has been documented on the site in the past. For the sake of those who don’t feel like reading through old articles, suffice it to say that I have lost more time to Civilization over the  years than legitimate social interaction, and that’s the way I like it. I have enjoyed every iteration of the Civilization series, and that hasn’t changed with Civilization V. It is definitely one of my favorite gaming series. Needless to say, you can probably tell that this will be a favorable review.

The graphics are, of course, improved over past entries. This is inevitable (unless, of course, a major change in visual style negatively affects the graphics, but that is not the case here); as technology progresses, graphics almost certainly improve. Truth be told, there is very little difference in terms of core mechanics and gameplay from previous entries. The point of the game is the same; take over the world, one way or another (or another, or another, or another, etc). Micromanagement of every city has been heavily cut back, with a more civlization-centric perspective being enforced. Game tiles have been reshaped from cubes to hexagons, providing more fluid borders and strategy. Units can no longer be stacked on the same tile, removing the importance of quantity over quality of units in combat. City-states are introduced as independent micro-nations that must be taken into strategic consideration. These changes are enough to keep the game fresh while still maintaining the core elements that made the game so successful in the first place. More than anything else, however, these changes make the game more accessible for new players, while creating a more enjoyable experience for seasoned players.

There are many differences between the classic PC games and Civilization: Revolution, the console game. Civilization: Revolution is a Cliff’s Notes of Civilization, but it is incredibly successful in its implementation. Civilization V takes some of the best features from Civilization: Revolution and uses them to bring the PC line back from the brink of over-complication by placing the focus of the game back where it belongs: turn-based strategy on a global level. While I love the classic PC line, and I loved Civilization: Revolution, I firmly believe that Civilization V is superior to both; it has the scale, depth, and comprehensive feel of the PC line while applying many innovations from the console line to create a game that is more immersive and addicting than any that came before. If you were frightened away from Civilization in the past due to its sheer complexity, but want more depth than Civilization: Revolution can offer you, do yourself a favor and play this game.

Just don’t forget to take breaks for eating, sleeping, and using the bathroom.

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