Customer Reviews: Sid Meier's Civilization V Game of the Year - PC
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Platform: PC|Change
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on December 24, 2011
What there is to like:
-Combat is much more interesting than previous Civilization games, and it has completely alleviated the problem from previous games where you would simply build a massive stack of one unit and click on the enemy units until they died.
-Units have much more clear and differentiated roles. The ranged unit updates bring the game in line with the traditional role of cavalry, infantry, and missile weapons in warfare.
-Civilizations are very different and can create a whole different game on different plays, especially if you prefer epic length so that you can get a proper war in each era.
-Landscapes and borders look more natural.
-The City-State system keeps you active in the early game, even when playing a cultural or scientific strategy.

What I do not like:
-I can see the reasoning behind separating the science from income with the increased importance of gold, but the change makes a focus on science less integrated into your top level strategy and more incidental. I don't feel like you have as many non-wonder options to excel at science.
-Overall the AI is pretty terrible at combat and only succeeds at higher difficulties because of numerical advantages built into the system.
-Balance between the civilizations is terrible across the board.
-Diplomacy with other civilizations is meaningless, they will betray you for no reason whatsoever if it looks like you might obtain a victory condition.
-Lag tends to bog down multiplayer games on maps larger than standard at the end.

Overall I think they're onto something, and I hope that they can polish the game out the same way Civilization 4 was polished out by its expansions.
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on January 8, 2013
The working relationship between a game designer and his publisher is never a simple one. So I would not know where exactly to place the blame, Sid Meyer or 2K GAMES. But in the end, it does not matter. Because it is simply sad to see a great gaming franchise came to this.

A great number of major features of this beloved series have been simply removed. A fellow gamer called this Civilization V, "Civilization For Dummies" and he is absolutely right.
There is no trading maps or technologies. There is no claiming resources outside your borders by building a colony. There is no need for transport ships as, apparently, units are now all..amphibious (and they need 15-20 turns to cross an ocean!). There are no city-growth milestone requirements (granary, aqueduct, refrigeration). There is no culturally conquering an enemy city (detonating a "culture bomb" by consuming a Great Artist will only get you extra territory tiles but no cities). There are no spies nor health/pollution balance. And there are no armies (please read on).

Someone please tell me what was so wrong with armies that had to be yanked out? Napoleon almost conquered Europe with one army. Germany almost conquered the eastern hemisphere with three and the US still holds a two-and-a-half armies doctrine. How can a turn-based game be called Civilization unless one can emulate, well, a real civilization? Building an army, seasoning it on minor conflicts and then going for the enemy's capital was one of the most fun parts of any Civilization game. Why, Sid?

Movement should be hindered by rough terrain. Units that have 3 or 4 moves on the plains should not be expected to do more than 1 or 2 on a mountain, right? Well, no. Mountains seem to be those magical places no unit can climb or pass through (not even ...helicopters of jet fighters!). And I cannot see how this makes for more complicated strategic decisions than timing your movements, claiming the high ground and having a bonus for elevated artillery?

A major issue for me, this was what really ruined the game. For some unfathomable reason units cannot be stacked. A worker can coexist with a military unit but that's it. Artillery and shock-cavalry are very vulnerable to attacks and (with the new hexagon layout) one would need ...six defensive units to protect a single artillery battery.
As a result, units keep getting on each other's way (especially when ordered to move for distances that require more than a turn), they refuse to even pass through friendly units (!) and the "tactical" considerations that result from this are trivial. And whenever besieging an enemy city, one has to endlessly maneuver his units around it (while exposed to its bombardment) whereas wounded units are never easy to withdraw.
You cannot even garrison more than a single unit within a city. Not that it would make a difference, since the garrisoned unit is not automatically awaken to fight back when the city is under attack(!), the city is left to defend itself.

The economy is nose-diving into the red and you want to reduce the percentage going into research for a while to avoid having units of yours deleted one by one? The fickle people of your civilization are unhappy and you want to placate them by increasing their entertainment allocation? You have discovered conscription and you want to upgrade all your musketeers into recruits? Well, tough luck! There is not central command screen to do so. Only advisers that you have to thank for annoying you.
You have very little control of your cities resource distribution and zero control of your national economy. And units have to be hunted down and upgraded one by one.
Speaking of the economy, when are we going to see a Civilization game where one can run and manage a national debt?

The game does look new and polished and the units are well designed but not cutting edge and not without a steep hardware price. If you expect anything comparable to STARCRAFT II crispiness you will be disappointed - at my 1280x1024 resolution it is not easy to discern roads from railroads.
The system I am running my copy consists of a P7 920 on a MSI Eclipse with 3GB of RAM and an ASUS nVIDIA GTX-260. Even with a couple years old PC in a WinXP environment (I refuse to forgo my game collection for the latest Windows OS), apparently I cannot even try the highest DX9 settings (the game crashes at launch) but I managed to optimize them with a mix of high and medium. Even then, whenever I scroll to a different location of the map, I can see the image fleshing out, just like zooming in a Google-Earth map.
So one can only wonder: why should one need a Cray to run a Civilization game at full?

In slices. DLC slices, that is. So far there have been over a dozen DLCs (of which only 9 are included in this GOTY edition of the game). All are sold separately and each one contains a small portion of what was supposed to be an essential part of the game. Were there any Civilization games in the past that did not include the Babylonians or the Persians? No. And when was it that a Civilization game cost over $150 complete? Never.

The game requires OnLine Activation (and perpetual reactivation every few days) and has to be tied to a STEAM account. Effectively this means that the game is a piece of rentware the buyer never really owns and yet it is sold at full price. I realize that to some people this may not be a serious issue so, in case you are wondering, I deducted a single star from my overall rating of the game because of its DRM scheme. To every other gamer however, you can now make an informed decision.

This was a major disappointment. I never though I'd say this but I while playing the latest Civilization game I caught myself wondering if they would ever make...CALL TO POWER III.

New gamers, steer clear of this mess, this is NOT what a Civilization game plays like.
Seasoned gamers, we know better than to call this a Civilization game.

Sorry Sid, EPIC FAIL.
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on June 10, 2014
I'd love to review this game, but that would require playing it. Instead, I've spent about three hours over the last two days downloading and re-downloading Steam. It doesn't matter how you purchase this game, (download or disc), you are required to log in to Steam to play it. Get used to seeing a "The Steam Servers are Too Busy to Process Your Request Right Now" error. Running Windows 7 on an intel i7 processor with 32 Mb of Ram. The reviews on the Steam boards are either terrible, or glowing, ("Anytime I had a problem, I realized that it was user error or my computer settings were incorrect"); NOBODY says that in a review. It might as well say, "Steam is Awesome, and problems can only be caused by stupidity of users like me!!"

The point is, I don't have enough hours to screw around with this POS, so I'm going to try to send it back. This is the same crap that XBOX was going to try, but later realized was a huge nightmare. I understand that they have to protect their work, but if they can't do it without interfering with the entertainment that I've paid them for, then it's just trash.
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VINE VOICEon January 18, 2012
Platform: PC|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Update: 24 NOV 2012.

If you didn't know it from previous reviews, you know now that Brian Ranzoni has played *Civilization* from the first game, in the MS-DOS days on a POS 386. Once I joined the Windows 95 revolution, I bought Sid Meier's Civilization II at the San Diego "dry side" Navy Exchange, and ruled the waves over every title in the main PC series since. Even pursued the Call to Power for a while (though no facebook, mobile, console, or Alpha Centauri, sorry to say).

Of all I've played, Civilization V is the best in the series in several respects. Yet isn't enough of an advance over number IV to make it a must-have for every fan. The GOTY edition collects all of the download content into one package--though there are expansion, performance and DRM issues to consider.

---Web Alert---

On the back of the box, in bold italic type, glares the Steam internet activation notice. For concerned gamers, here are some salient points:

> Once Civ 5 is activated and up to date, neither net nor disc is needed for single player. Steam has an off-line mode that, yes, can be activated off-line.
> Steam saves your game to local disk by default, so don't worry about cloud access unless you've set the game to save there.
> Civ 5 can launch from the desktop game icon to bypass the Steam browser.
> You can also set the game to not update automatically.
> Once activated, users may uninstall and reinstall the game as often as you wish, and even lose the disc and the code and Steam will still have a copy of the game for you.

Note that there are general catches to Steam. Also, some developers can force their own DRM on top (such as in Command & Conquer 4). That isn't the case here, yet you cannot resell or return the download version, and the same also applies to this DVD-ROM once you have activated the game.


Civ V is hardware intensive even in the low-end DX9 mode with graphic features turned off. I played it for months on an Intel dual core system, with a GTX 9600 graphics card, and 4 gigs of RAM. Then my brother played the game for several weeks on an AMD Athlon quad-core, with an ATI HD card, and also 4 gigs of RAM.

Both the regular and the GOTY editions of the game cause our GPU fans to accelerate up to 100% at all times, a problem known, yet with no known resolution. Especially in late game or on large maps, texture-popping and loading problems persist; sometimes accompanied by frame or unit stutter. Dialing down the video options will postpone but not prevent these issues. Otherwise, Civ V has not suffered from the memory leak problems of Civ IV, allowing me to play every campaign to its conclusion without a turn-limit crash. It does take some time to boot from a SATA II drive, while saved games take an even longer time.

Since then, I run the game on a custom Intel quad core with 8 GBs Corsair RAM, the Radeon HD 6850, and a WD Caviar Black drive. The first time up, I had to let the opening video play all the way through. Once I got in, futzed with the options, and rebooted it a few times for the cache: the game now runs beautifully, boots swiftly, and loads faster on DX 11. While I still got the GPU fan racing when the card was installed in the old machine, there is no problem when running the Radeon off an Intel DZ68BC mobo.

---The Main Event---

Check out my original Amazon review to learn about the core game. This section is a follow up, because both single and multiplayer have been patched in all areas from interface to engine to gameplay.

Diplomacy is one pumped example. Patches restored the ability to read each point of behavior that pleased or PO'd your rivals, and have also bumped up trade options. Each civ has the ability to denounce rivals and enter into or break various secret agreements; they can even choose to postpone their participation in a military coalition, and then renege on the deal when the deadline comes. The execution gets to be a bit nonsensical as the game progresses, with computer civs becoming so entangled in obligations that close friends become worst enemies in the course of four turns. To that end, patched games even include a "Backstabbing" feature, in which your own suddenly ex-allies will taunt you with their betrayal.

With updates and DLC, the game still retains fundamental gaps. Including the lack of wonder movies; the void of religions, corporations, espionage, vassalage; and the absence of sickness and corruption that made Civilization IV so delightful. V went further to nix the end game charts and replays (since returned by patch), and also to replace era-specific soundtrack with motifs for each civilization.

Some missing pieces are balanced by new things: such as Natural Wonder tiles and Great People tile improvements, the ability to build more than two National Wonders in a city, boosting the civilization cap from 18 to 20, boosted city defenses and offenses, the addition of influence wars over city-states, and the ability to reduce the cost of expansion by turning captured cities into puppets.


The greatest strength lies not in these moderations, but in modder nation--Civ 5 has a full suite of game-bending tools. Such as the in-game utility to browse, download, and manage almost 900 free mods as of this writing, many of them made by CivFanatic veterans and developers. Once installed, each file can be activated or deactivated with a click, and includes tooltip warnings to let you know when a mod is mutually exclusive with others.

Outside the main game, load up the most complete development kit in the series so far. Civs III and IV required a lot of tedious tinkering with text files. Civ V gathers the map, scenario, and civilization editing tools under a single interface.

---What You See is What You Get---

Now we gather to decide the singular money question. For the GOTY edition, you get the core plus all of the official downloadable content. Including the digital soundtrack from the original Deluxe edition. This does not count the Gods and Kings expansion pack. You can read my review on that pack; the salient point here is that G&K significantly improves the game in some areas, but some may balk at paying for features that should have been present in the core game to begin with.

Getting back to GOTY, I wouldn't call the existing DLCs essential. Especially compared to the Beyond the Sword mega-expansion for Civ IV, none of them push the abilities of the game engine, taking players into science fiction or fantasy scenarios to boot. However, if you've played out the original civs, scenarios, and maps, these DLC packs will give you fresh faces.

Wargamers and modders will get the best use of this edition because of the powerful tools and major military changes at their disposal. Historical scenarios ought to appeal to counterfactual gamers as well. On the other hand, the complete *Civilization IV* set with BTS is a plenty diverse outing--mixing old-school gameplay with the most content, backed by a robust library of mods from an active community. If more casual gamers have stayed by this previous title, either wait for the price to drop, or for a bundle deal with *Gods and Kings* before you make the upgrade to Civ V.

---This is the End---

I concluded my first review by saying "With years of fan mods and official DLC down the road, it is too early to say how this edition will turn out." After about two years, *Sid Meier's Civilization V* has turned out an entertaining tactical experience. The best of the franchise in graphics and wargaming. Yet fraught with the kind of quirks that come with odd-numbered entries in the series.

The GOTY edition does its part by collecting the official titles into one convenient package. No bonus content. And like a lot of games-of-the-year, it requires internet activation followed by a convoy of patches. This edition will work best for those who initially resisted the jump--and for wargamers, modders, and historical players--because the collection does not pose a complete advancement over Civ IV + BTS. With Gods and Kings coming this summer to restore some missed elements, customers may wish to wait even longer and see if another bundle comes out in 2013. Nevetheless, Civ 5 continues to be a compelling inclusion in the franchise.
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on June 4, 2014
Description of item was incomplete and innacurate. Could not use it at all. Have played Civilization since its inception, and needed an updated, working version. This did not meet requirements. Very disappointed.
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on March 27, 2013
I started with Civ II, and have played through every version since. Civ V is a teriffic game, but it's association with Steam ruins it. I always considered Steam to be merely annoying, but that was when it worked. It doesn't work anymore, so I naively thought I could fix the problem by uninstalling it and reinstalling it on my pc. I quickly learned that the entire game is now permanently disabled. Steam will not allow me to reinatall, nor will Steam respond to my inquiries. Apparently, the only way to get the game back is to buy it again and hope that Steam will allow me to install it. And if I'm lucky, I can look forward to another year or so of being annoyed with Steam. I will never purchase anything associated with Steam again.
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on July 30, 2014
Don't buy this game!!! You will need to download it from a server who does not work. The server company is Steam. Steam makes impossible to finish the game installation. As many of you, I went to the Steam website to look for an answer to the problem in their Support page. The suggestions were daunting and at the end nothing solved the problem: "Steam is temporary unavailable". They will ask you to close firewalls, antivirus, erase files, move files, reinstall, open new ports, close other, use wires, work with permission on your antivirus and firewall, and work with your router. Come on!!!! This guys didn't know about Blizzard. Blizzard use its own browser to play the "Diablo III" online (in order to avoid piracy), and it works flawless, like a diamond, and I didn't need to close my firewall and antivirus during the installation. I don do it for updates or when I play it. I can't say that you just need to do one click because you do nothing. Blizzard do it all for you. That's the reason you are paying and love the product. Steam makes the game useless. I didn't play it because Steam didn't let me to install it. I wrote to them in order to get help and they sent me to the same support page. Steam is a crap service, and Sid Meiers lost me as his customer. I don't care about the fantastic descriptions other people says about the game. Save your money. Don't buy it!!!!
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on February 19, 2013
I am so annoyed I ignored other reviews and bought this game. It REQUIRES Steam (an online access point) to play. They tell you it is not required, only to register, but it is required. Took all night to download the game, basically you might as well buy the download because that is what you are doing anyway even though they give you a box and a disc. They seem more worried about getting you on a STEAM account so they can show you ads than they are about the game working properly. Run away and don't look back.
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on November 6, 2014
Horrible, the steam system is crap!!! Cannot even play the game!! All I want to do is install civilization and play the game. The steam system installs all of these useless items on to your computer, then when you try to play the game it says that it is connecting to steam. Then it says connection not available and closes. A complete waste of money!!!!
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on March 22, 2014
Bad item. It is worst product that we have dealt with from Sid Meier's. Download took two days to finish. We will not be purchasing anymore of these steam formated games.
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