Civilization V (PC) Review

Must-Play Strategy

Civilization V (PC) Review
Civilization V (PC) Review 2

Civilization V

Brutalist Review Style (Version 2)

Civilization, from the mind of Sid Meier, has been with us since the early days of PC gaming. Released in 1991, it was a critical and commercial success. Few other games at the time could consume countless hours and reward players for such immersion. Every move you made helped your empire grow and expand, and the game could change every time you played it. Now, almost twenty years later, Sid Meier has done it again with Civilization V. It is the must-have game of the year, period.

For anyone new to the series, Civilization V is all about leading a nation of your choice through the eons of history to ultimately triumph in one of many ways. To achieve your goal, you must first start with a single city and a leader of your choice, each of whom has selected bonuses and advantages. From this point, you scout for resources, manage your economy and build up your military to attack or defend as needed.

There are four main ways to win a game of Civilization, some easier than others. Dominating the world through the military can often be the easiest; here you need to conquer every capital city of every enemy nation. You can ally with nations and city-states around the world and win through diplomacy, or you can win through culture if you have a large number of government policies and research ‘The Utopia Project.’ Of course, you can play over and over again, each time finding a different way to win.

Civilization V (Pc) Review

New and experienced players will appreciate the more streamlined interface that Civilization V has been given. The interface indicates what needs to be done quickly without interfering with gameplay. Everything is easily accessible, and with a few mouse clicks, any aspect of the game is at your fingertip. This means more playing and less fumbling with menus and odd interface choices that take away from the fun of the game.

Civilization V does a great job of displaying important information on-screen and making it easily accessible at the click of a button. If new research options are available, the interface will tell you, and within a few clicks, you will be well on your way to your next technological breakthrough. All in all, the interface has been improved in many ways, and there are few, if any, problems to be found with the improvements. All of these improvements make this the most accessible title in the series, and new players should not worry about being overwhelmed; within an hour or so, you will feel at home behind the helm of Civilization.

If you have played previous games in the series, you will notice that some features have been removed this time around. The most notable of these is the removal of religion and espionage, if you were a player like me who used to exploit these features, it is sad to see them go, but the overall additions more than makeup for these exclusions, besides many aspects of the series have returned and been improved in the process.

Civilization V (Pc) Review

The advisors are back in Civilization V, now with their advice permeating throughout the build and research choices in the nature of little icons. These will not lead you to victory just by following what they say, but if there are many icons on a choice, it may be a good thing to look into. The Civilopedia is also back and is only ever a click away. It offers a vast amount of information that can be looked into at any time to help with planning strategies and gameplay decisions. The wonders make a triumphant return in Civ V, yielding tangible benefits for the expansion of your civilization.

The most notable change, however, is the change from squares to a hexagonal map. With this change comes a complete change in military strategy. In past Civilization games, you were able to stack many units on a single tile and move them all at the same time. This allows for one extremely powerful single space military force. With the Hexagonal change comes the requirement that only one military unit can occupy one space at one time.

Military plans need to be made with this in mind, and once you have launched an attack, you need to know that other units may take more than one turn to come to the rescue. Terrain bonuses also come into play much more in this title, as some units have strengths and weaknesses based on the terrain they are on or moving through. The strength and ability of the unit also changes as the unit levels up, this can turn the tide of battle, if you have a few very strong levelled units, they can sometimes take on a much more powerful opponent and still emerge victorious.

Civilization V (Pc) Review

When a unit levels up, you can choose from a number of upgrade options, such as unit healing, attack bonus on flat terrain, etc. As the unit levels up, these options continue to expand. This system layers risk and reward options into the tactical decisions of battle. If the research path allows, you can also spend gold to upgrade a unit to a more powerful iteration, ensuring that no unit is wasted on the map.

In this reviewer’s opinion, the most groundbreaking change is the addition of small, single-city civilizations called city-states. These cities can be very useful in a civilization game. As with any civilization, you can conquer them and take everything they have, but if you learn to use them and exploit their resources, they can be a powerful ally. They will attack enemies and defend their borders but can also be a strong ally against an enemy.

You can leave them neutral and ignore them, but if you want to take advantage of this aspect of the game, it can be rewarding and an interesting change of pace. You can gain standing with these city states in a number of ways, the simplest of which is to simply spend money on them and accumulate interest in the process.

The city-states will also offer quests which, once completed, will help your faction’s standing. These quests can be anything from gathering a rare resource to destroying a barbarian camp near a border. These states can also be a thorn in your side; if you try to take over too many of them, other city-states may try to unite to defeat you, and can prove dangerous if enough of them attack together.

Civilization V (Pc) Review

The visuals of Civilization V have been vastly improved. Every aspect of the game shows motion and movement. The units move as a group but can be zoomed in on to see all the beautiful individual details as you command them with your order Even the background and water contain exquisite animation. If you have the hardware, you will be amazed at just how great Civilization can look.

With all this comes a price though, if you have an older computer Civilization will not run well and you will find it nearly unplayable. That being said if you have a desktop with a good graphics card built in the last five years you should be able to play this game no problem. Many high-end laptops will not have any problems with it either.

However, if you are playing on a computer with an integrated graphics card, please be aware that you will not have the best experience and you may want to look at one of the previous Civilization titles. Civilization V is an excellent title, and if you are an experienced strategy player or someone who wants to get into the style of the game, it is a must.

The Civilization series has always proven to be at the forefront of the genre, and this game is no different. The changes made to the experience show just how solid the team is working on the game, and there are few titles that give you so many hours of gameplay for the price of admission. Prepare yourself for many enjoyable sleepless nights ahead, Civilization V is a must buy for anyone interested in gaming on the PC and you may even find that you can bring some new gamers to the table with this title.

Final Thoughts

Brendan Frye
Brendan Frye

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