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2.8 out of 5 stars
Sid Meier's Civilization V [Online Game Code]
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102 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
First off try the game for yourself. The demo is free and you have nothing to lose. I almost believed the reviews I read here and I'm glad I didn't.

Much of the bashing on this game comes from the fact that there are fewer choices and "things to do" but that doesn't mean there is less strategy, thinking, or fun involved. For example if there are 10 options for something but only 2 or 3 are meaningful, then why not take out the others, then make those 2 or 3 really unique and different then allow people to concentrate on the strategic trade-offs between them and the big picture which is more fun. That premise sums up a lot of the streamlining civ 5 has done. For example:

*Health was a rather useless concept in civ 4. It only came into play once your city reached a certain size then simply reduced pop growth on a 1 to 1 bases with food. So in civ 5 they got rid of it and just replaced it with bonuses that simply grant more food, which is the same thing but simpler to deal with.

*Religion in civ 4 was fun at first but mainly a micro management heavy method to increase happiness and culture, and money if you founded it. Thus in civ 5 they got rid of it and instead have the religious buildings focus on some of these things.

*Sending units over water was a pain in the butt in civ 4. You had to manually load them all up, then unload them. It was a boring thing to do that deterred big naval assaults. In civ 5 all units can transform themselves into a water transport version so you just click where you want them to go and they will (in Oregon Trail terms) caulk the wagon and float across. Again same result achieved with less micromanagement.

*Unit and city numbers have also been scaled down and you effectively manage smaller armies and empires. Again having a zillion units or cities which only serve a few functions is more hassle and less fun than having say a fraction of a zillion things but with more purpose depth to each.

There are many more examples like this but overall civ 5 has replaced "high volume/high click things to do" with lower volume/less clicking but with more meaning. I really liked this change and it's a step forward for civ. Here are my take on some other controversial changes:

*Unit stacking: You can't stack units in civ 5. This sounds bad but works out fine. One of the oldest and most respected strategy games of all time, chess, has no unit stacking and very few would say its "soft" because you can't stack units. In fact not being able to do that, combined with unique units is what makes it so fun and thought-provoking. Anyone ever play tabletop war games like Warhammer or Battletech? No unit stacking in them either, yet they were a blast. Civ 5 battles are more like chess matches rather than "is your stack bigger than my stack." It of course is somewhat dependent on numbers but this adds a whole new element in my opinion and makes battles with fewer units more fun and more thought provoking.

*No gold/science/culture slider bar: Another change that at first seems bad but you realize it forces to you think more. In civ 4 your people were pretty much like the Borg from Star Trek. Lose one of your 15 cities? No problem your empire instantly scales and you only lose 1/15 of your net commerce/science, hence the city was nothing more than a number. In civ 5 you have to specialize cities more. A city lots of jungles in civ5 can get big bonuses to research from having a university and with things like this you see cities really develop more uniqueness and specialized functions. The result is that choosing what to defend, attack, or develop is a more meaningful process in civ 5. Again while it might be neat to go from 50% science the whole game to 0% when you feel you dont need anymore research, it doesnt quite feel like you are managing a living breathing society when you do that since I don't think thats very representative of how nations work. Again the game is called "Civilization" not "Borg Civilization." If you build libraries and universities your people arent all going to vacate them instantly one day when you want them to and become shopkeepers. Your cities have more character because of this. I always thought the slider bar was a cheap substitute for really having to strategically think about short versus long term tradeoffs on where you want to take your empire.

*Civics aka social policies: Civics have been replaced with social policies which have more in common with an RPG skill or talent point system than civics or governments in previous iterations of Civ. Basically culture is like experience points for your civilization. Kind of makes sense, the culture defines your people over time. This makes every game sort of RPG'ish in how you want to develop and take your character, in this case, your people. After enough culture you get points to spend on developing your social policies toward different aspects that affect things such as combat, commerce, city development, etc. These are permanent and can't be changed. It makes it so that in each game you are basically creating a whole new culture with its own set of values and ways of doing things. Yes it does make it harder to radically switch strategies mid-game but this is part of the process. Again unlike civ 4 your people are not Borg robots. You can't have 4000 years of developing warmonger like traits with your people and culture then expect them to instantly become a peaceful functioning democracy that has all the benefits of a culture who has been fostering peaceful existence since the beginning. It's pretty fun once you get into and it feels like you are really developing the uniqueness of your people each game even though some traits do become "must haves" I notice. Again as with the slider bar change, not being able to instantly get your people to act like robots and do an about face forces you to balance and weigh tradeoffs in the short versus long term.

*Limited resources: Unlike civ 4 strategic resources are not unlimited . When I got my first iron resourced mined it gave me only TWO iron. Enough to build, yep you guessed it, only 2 swordsman. The game becomes much more strategic like this and the term "scare resources" take on a whole new meaning. I treasured those two swordsman and really thought a lot about tactics before throwing them into battle.

*City squares: Well hexes now. But it is not totally defined like in previous civs with the "fat cross" two-over/one-down range. It is now more fluid. You start being able to work a 1 hex radius which can eventually extend to 3 hexes. But it doesn't do so all at once and only increases one single hex at a time. Thus a city on the coast can develop a very long thin coast range of city hexes to work without getting the inland hexes allowing you to place another inland city closer to it, with both being able to develop in harmony. It's kind of cool really and makes city placement less routine and more dynamic, allowing for more unique cities in unorthodox placements, rather than simply an emphasis on maximizing the fat cross.

I could highlight a lot more things I like about the game but will mention some cons which I've only found two of really:

*System requirements: It is taxing on even a high end system and seems like it should be faster and smoother for a turn based game.

*AI: The AI is not too smart but that seems to be a problem with all civs. Hopefully future patches will help this and/or mods like with civ4's "Better AI" user made mod.

*System requirements: I want to mention this again just to emphasize. I have a 6 core AMD Phenom II 2.7 Ghz that can turbo to around 3.4 Ghz if all cores aren't used. My graphic card is a modest one but with 1 gig of discrete video memory. You'd think I could run this totally smooth at the highest settings for a turn based game. But I can only manage on medium'ish if I don't want too much choppiness and even then it's not totally smooth.

Overall I could go on more about this game but will leave you with this: Think for yourself. If you are on the fence whether to get this game don't believe all the bad reviews here at face value and heck don't even believe mine. The demo is free so try it out for yourself and you be the judge.

If you are previous hardcore civ fan like me and are all worked up about civ 5 "turning away from its roots," I urge you to take a deep breath and try the game again. These changes are not an assault on your values or you as a person and much of the dislike seems to be emotional based and ignores what this game really has to offer. The fundamentals born out of civ 1 are still present and at the core of this game in very noticeable way, but continuous iterations of civs have trained us to think that the more things there are to keep track of and to click on, the more strategy that must be involved. This version challenges that notion and I've found myself with this game doing something I hadn't in a long time with civ, pulling an all-nighter because I was enjoying it so much, so give it a shot and if you still don't like it you can always keep playing civ 4. But after playing this game, managing robots in civ 4 is easy mode. Civ 5 is a welcome change and challenge.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2013
The game alone is very good but the expansion "Brave New World" makes it awesome.Don't get me wrong the game alone is Epic and I love it and if your a strategy gamer you will too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2013
I've probably learned more about ancient history than anything taught in school from this game. This is first civ game I've played, and I can't wait to play the other ones.
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112 of 163 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2010
Before I start, let me make a little side note. There's been a lot said about Civ 5 and Steam in the reviews here, both for and against them. But in the end, you don't have to simply take anyone's word for it. Both Steam and the Civ 5 demo available through it are free. Download them both (just type steam into Google) and see for yourself what all the fuss is about. If you don't like either, you can simply uninstall them and you've lost nothing but a few minutes of your time.

Now onto my review.

This is going to be a two part review. So if you're interested in my thoughts on Civ 5, here's the short version: it's awesome. Buy it. Play it. Enjoy it. For the longer version, go ahead and skip down to the second part. First though, I'm going to address an issue that's come up in a lot of other reviews, Steam. I see a lot of hate for Steam in reviews around here, and quite frankly, as someone who's been using the service for years, it befuddles me.

Let me first say I play a lot of PC games, with extra emphasis on "a lot". And to me, not only do I not consider Steam a negative when buying a game, I consider it to be an added value. So much so, that often times I will actually wait to buy a game until it's available on Steam.

If you're unfamiliar with Steam, you might get the impression from other reviews around here that it's simply an online authentication tool. While it does do that, it's also a lot more. First and foremost, it's a digital download platform, essentially iTunes for your games. For me, that means no more cheap cardboard game cases cluttering up my drawers and closets, and no more CD keys to keep track of. It means that once I buy a game on Steam, I can forget about everything else except for playing it. If I need hard drive space I can delete it and re-download it as many times in the future as I want. I can also install and play it on as many PCs as I want. Games that support SteamCloud (such as Civ 5) will even sync my game saves across different PCs.

Steam also keeps every game I have installed constantly up to date. That means no more searching through publisher websites to find out if a new patch has been released, or waiting in a que on Fileshack for the patch to download. If you have friends that you like to play games with online, Steam also facilitates that. In Civ 5 it handles matchmaking and online play. It also lets you do text and voice chat with your friends, even across different games and keeps you up to date on what they're playing. Steam is also a great outlet for literally thousands of independent game developers who don't have the kinds of resources it takes to get their games published in a physical format.

All this is not to say that Steam is without its drawbacks. Steam is, at its core, an online service. So it should be no surprise that it requires Internet access to function. There is an offline mode that will let you play your single player games, but you have to have logged in within the last 30 days in order to use it. I understand how, on principle, this is a point of contention for some people. But in practice it's almost a non-issue (when was the last time you actually went more than 30 days without hooking your PC up to the Internet?).

So that's my 2¢ on Steam. On net, I think it's a positive. Go into almost any gaming forum, and I think you'll see that most people who play games regularly would agree. On comparison to any alternative service (Gamespy, Games for Windows, or any Publisher Specific authentication) it's not even a contest. Steam is hands down more full featured and less intrusive than any competing service. If you've had personal experience with it within the last few years (it's changed a lot since it launched in 2004) and don't like it, then you're entitled to your opinion. But if you haven't used it, don't let the detractors scare you away from buying a game you would otherwise enjoy. I get the feeling most of its detractors are objecting more out of principle than they are against the actual negative experience with Steam.

Part 2

Sorry if that was a little overlong, but now let me get on to how I feel about Civ 5.

Civ 5, is without a doubt the biggest overhaul the franchise has seen in a long time. The most obvious change has been the move from a square grid to a hex grid. But while this has a handful of game play implications, for instance you can no longer slip diagonally between mountains or enemy units, its effects are mostly cosmetic. The far bigger change is the elimination of unit stacking and the addition of ranged units. These represent a complete overhaul of the combat system in Civilization, for the better, in my opinion. Positioning of troops is now much more key to the game, and battles/wars are significantly more tactical than they have been in previous versions of Civ. Units also have more hit points. This has a lot of implications. Units take more turns to kill, which means more opportunities for retreat, more units stay with you throughout the game, more units reach high levels of experience, and more units need to be upgraded with new technologies.

Another big addition are the new city states. These are single city civilizations that can be traded with or conquered, but aren't competing with you or other major civs to win the game. They add a nice dynamic to the diplomacy of the game, and have the tendency to shake things up a bit in your relationships with the other civs. Gold also plays a bigger role than before. Now you can rush units from the very beginning of the game. You can also purchase new territory (which now expands one tile at a time) if you're getting impatient for it to expand via your culture. Gold is also used in just about every diplomatic agreement as well, including science trading which now takes place through research agreements instead of the direct tech for tech trades veterans of the series are used to.

Visually, Civ 5 is pretty stunning. As mentioned before, the hex grid gives the landscape a much more natural feel to it. The UI has been significantly cleaned up as well. Gone are the myriad of details Civ 4 constantly threw in your face, they've now mostly been pushed off into sub menus. Notifications drop down the right side of the screen instead of popping up in the middle of it. There are also a lot of little details that I find very nice. For example, if you finish researching a tech, the "next turn" button changes to "pick a new tech" so that you don't accidentally forget to pick one and waste a turns worth of research points.

Those are the biggest changes to the game, but there are tons of smaller ones that set it apart from its predecessors that I won't go into here. If you're interested in them I would recommend checking out one of the dozens of previews you can find all over the Internet. On the whole it's a cleaner, more streamlined game. But it's no less complex than previous Civs, and while there have been loads of changes, it still feels very much like a Civilization game.

Update: 9/23/2010

Ok, so I stayed up about 3 hours later than normal last night playing Civ 5, and I've got quite a bit to add to my initial impressions of the game. For starters, one thing I failed to mention, because I thought it was one of the minor changes, is that the default movement for units has essentially been doubled in Civ 5 (ie 2 moves per turn for warriors, 4 moves for chariots). It turns out, this actually has some major implications for the game. In the early game it really shifts the focus to combat and exploration, as units now get twice as much time as everything else. Consequently, if you're focusing on one of the other paths, like culture, it can kind of drag a bit, as you've also got fewer things to focus on. This seems especially true on chieftain difficulty (what I started with to learn the ropes of the game), as it tends to place your starting spot away from other civs to give you room to grow.

As I mentioned before, the UI is very streamlined and good at drawing your attention to what's important. After having a chance to look through some of the menus though, there's a lot more going on beyond what the game is immediately presenting you with. I get the feeling that it will be difficult to progress beyond the base difficulty levels without paying attention to a lot of the stats hidden away in those menus.

Another thing that I didn't discuss much before was the diplomacy screens. They're absolutely gorgeous. You get a full screen view of the civilization's leader in a civ specific setting. Siam and India have been my favorites so far, but they're all pretty breathtaking.

Like I said before, there are a lot of changes to this game. I've played every Civ game since Civ 2, and I don't think there's ever one that's overhauled as much of the game as Civ 5 did. There's a lot to learn, and I'm still getting the hang of things. Most importantly though, it still feels like Civ.

Update #2: 9/27/2010

I've now played through 3 full games of Civ 5 and I'm slowly making my way up the difficulty ladder, so I thought I'd add a few more thoughts on my review. Steam is saying I've played the game for a total of 19 hours now, and I've yet to have it crash on me. I'm not trying to discount some of the other people who I've seen have problems, as this stuff can be very hardware dependent, but I think it's worth noting in case there are people out there who have the impression that the game is somehow incomplete or a technical mess.

One of the most surprising things I've noticed is how generous the AI can be at times (though not always) when offering a peace treaty. Often time, after taking one of their cities, they'll come to you practically begging you to leave them alone. This was not something that happened often in previous Civ games, and I'm somewhat split on how I feel about it.

The first time it happened to me, I was fighting Tokugawa. I was playing for a culture victory and he tried to take advantage of my military weakness. Initially he steamrolled me, but I managed to pull things together and take back the one city he had managed to take, though with heavy losses. After which, he offered me a generous peace treaty agreement. Here, it seemed too much. I was not playing for a military victory, and I had no intention of pursuing him any further than was necessary to make myself secure.

However, the second time I got such a peace offer, it seemed more appropriate. I was trying to take out Washington, and after taking a few cities, he came to me groveling. Here the offer made a lot of sense from a gameplay perspective. It forced me to actually stop and consider for a moment whether it was better for me to take out Washington or accept his offer and have to wait till later in the game (since I was going for conquest victory).

The other thing I want to talk about is the lack of tax sliders in Civ 5. I've seen a lot of people complain about this, specifically about how it simplifies the game. And I really have to disagree. In fact, I think it actually makes the game more complex. In Civ 4, the tax slider was basically your damage control for when your cash flow dipped. Between money, culture, and science, only one area really had to suffer if you ran into problems. In Civ 5 you can't rely on that any more. All three areas have to be managed independently. If you're waging a costly war, you can't sacrifice your research for a few turns to deal with your troop support, because the two aren't connected any more. This leads to some hard decisions.

It also means you have to track all three areas. You can't neglect science or culture improvements simply because you've got a lot of revenue and you're funneling it all towards science or luxuries. Like the changes to combat, the end result is a game that feels more deliberate. Every improvement or unit has a cost. In Civ 4, I'd often build things simply because I had nothing else I needed at the moment. In Civ 5, every unit or building produced needs to be carefully considered in how it fits into your overall strategy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2014
Girlfriend is about to left me. I have been playing this for days without talking to her. Sex and food became less essential for my survival in this world. C5 is. I am about to become a sexless bachelor but I am not stopping. My orgasm exist in the upgrade of my military power in C5 now.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2012
Civilization is a game that doesn't get old. Addictive and clever, it gathers all the elements necessary to a good large-scale strategy game, combined with heavy replayability. Civilization V brings updated graphics as well as well thought gameplay ugrades to the well-known franchise, and once again the recipe works perfectly, having you craving for another turn, and another, and another, as you carefully build your empire from a small tribe looking to survive to a world-class cultural leader or military super-power.

It's also good to note that a first expansion is already released, adding a lot of finesse to the strategy of the game, and that Civilization V is tied to Valve's Steam Workshop, allowing for easy browsing and sharing of user-created mods, for even more replayability (not that it is necessary with just the original game).

I fell in love with the Civilization franchise 15 years ago and have played all of them since. With the fifth episode, Firaxis didn't disappoint.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2011
MAny of the other reviewers compare Civ 5 to the previous Civs but this misses the point. This game is so different it's like a new game. The big difference is introducing tactical gameplay for battles. having hexes instead of squares and not allowing stacking introduce more micromanaging to battles that could be annoying to those who are constantly thinking about comparisons, but are interesting and fun to those approaching the game with a fresh mind. Graphics are a different league than prior versions. To compensate for the extra micromanaging that the lack of stacking causes, other micromanaging has been minimized (which people complaining about micromanaging of battles complain about too ["less complexity"], make up your mind!)
I don't like the lack of religion, that is a big component in the real world that is really missing here. still some bugs and crashes. some things are not explained well: I'm not sure how the harbor works, or how to build a road to a city state. AI is still stupid and has no chance of winning without advantages. Protecting embarked units is difficult, but not as difficult as some portrayed (remember that enemy unit are reduced to one tile of movement in enemy "zone of control." And that's something that happens in real life too, troop ships are vulnerable.
All in all, definitely worth the money and don't compare to older civs.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2010
This is without a doubt my favorite PC game of all time. I just can't get enough. I play every day for about 3-4 hours. Try it. You'll love it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2014
I LOVE this game. Normally games that are set or "start" anytime before the 1900's I'm usually not interested. But with this game, man oh man. To many good things to write ima review. Just an amazing amount of play options and styles. I've never played a Civ before so this has definitely got me looking at them. It's WAY to easy to get lost in this game for HOURS. There is great pleasure and even pride in taking a civilization; ruling it, leading it and protecting it and ruling the world with it. From the starting BC dates all the way up to 2050 and on ( you can still keep playing that civilization after 2050. All in all. If you love very in depth strategy games/games and games where you are totLly in control of every aspect, then Civ 5 is for you.
P.S. Don't play it before you go to bed...I sleep.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2014
Lot of people have complained about how civ4 was better than civ5 (without the 2 upgrades). I still have the original civ5 and played civ4 extensively. I must admit things are very different but in a refreshing way.

people complain how it is hard to keep your civ happy now. I'm actually really glad there is so much emphasis on happiness as in civ4 it didn't really matter if they were happy or not. And it wasn't that hard to keep them happy. Now there are hard consequences if they are unhappy and there are tons of ways (wonders, social policies, buildings, etc) to improve happiness dramatically. social policy decisions is probably the best way to crank up happiness. I really enjoy this new strategic aspect of civ5.

this is as well a refreshing change. almost like another technology tree for you to choose from though much simpler and without a requirement to do them all in the end. What you choose is based on your play style and will enhance that playstyle (cultural victories, military style, large civ, small civ... etc). This again is really refreshing.

allowing only a single unit per tile is a very interesting change. the hex allows you more flexibility to gang up on people if you still choose, but gone are the days when you just stack 10 tanks 10 artilleries on a tile and destroy everyone you come across. This again is really refreshing. it got a bit boring in civ4 when you knew you could dominate military-wise by just overwhelming numbers. now you need to strategically choose your units more carefully. similarly people cannot gang up on you as easily.

this people complain about. how hard it is to conquer a city. again it is refreshing that a city can defend itself without a military unit and also it is pretty darn hard to take a city without careful planning. This and the above have made military style play much more entertaining and strategic.

refreshing refreshing refreshing. i won't be going back to civ4. I'm a bit ashamed i waited so long to try civ5 given all the negative reviews. And this is all before I have even tried brave new world. from what i understand that is going to be awesome. keep it coming civ team.

(by the way their version of x-com was very decent indeed. i trust the sid meier team to keep pumping out quality games)
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