Sid Meier’s Civilization V was keenly awaited by many fans of the previous Civilization games. Civilization V is turn-based strategy game just like its predecessors. It brings many changes compared to Civilization IV. Some of them might have disappointed fans of the older Civilization titles. However, Sid Meier’s Civilization V is more fun and far less frustrating gaming experience for most of us. Don’t worry though, Civilization V offers many challenges and path to success, especially on higher difficulty levels is still full of tough decisions.
The basic concept is actually quite simple. Player sets up a world map by setting its parameters such as size, number of foes, city states, type of terrain, how much time passes with each turn, etc. Then he/she founds new cities in strategic locations, connects them with roads, and builds buildings, army, sets social policies and defeats all the opponents either by force or by being better than them in other areas depending on the victory conditions. Everything is done on a good-looking map divided into many ‘squares’. Well, they used to be squares in previous Civs. In Civilization V, they have 6 sides which changes rules for unit movement the players of Civ4 were used to. Anyway, while basic concept of the game is rather simple, running an effective empire is often very challenging and requires a lot of careful planning and balancing.
Effective economy is vital as much as mastering the combat system in Civilization V. Both systems saw some changes from the game’s immediate predecessor. For example, roads require gold for upkeep and there cannot be more than one military unit in a tile at the same time. Planning empire’s expansion, defense and wars can be quite challenging now. However, fighting a war (especially defensive one) is no longer frustrating as it was in Civilization IV. Welcome change is also the fact that obsolete units have almost no chance of defeating much more advanced units. I remember an epic fail from Civilization IV when two of my gunship helicopter units, a tank unit and armored (or mechanized?) infantry unit got defeated by a single unit of cavalry armed with muskets. In Civilization V, such situations do not occur anymore.
As far as the main story goes, there is no storyline to follow in Civilization V unless you get some of the official civilization and scenario packs from steam or a mod. Player is the only one shaping the history of his/her empire. The gaming experience also depends on the chosen civilization and map parameters. Every civilization in Sid Meier’s Civilization V has its unique special abilities, one or two units and sometimes also a unique building.
City states are an interesting feature as well. They are mini civilizations with only one city, territory around it and an army. Depending on the type (militaristic, etc.), they offer bonuses to friendly civilizations. Special abilities of some civilizations are specifically crafted to this aspect of the game. Some of the social policies are also tightly connected to city states.
Sid Meier’s Civilizations V looks very nice. Units look great and battle animations are a pleasant thing to watch. The world map looks great as well. I’ve noticed small inconsistencies in terrain on few occasions though. There were pink spots on some tiles. However, those seemed to have disappeared after I played that map for a while. Maybe they were just caused by my computer, not by any errors in the game. Though, what made me sad a little bit is absence of short videos upon completion of world wonders. In Civilization V, completion of a world wonder is represented only by a static image.
The music in Civilization V is rather pleasant and does not annoy even after many hours of game play. I’ve played Civilization V for over 66 hours so far and I’ve never turned off the music, although I turned it down a little bit so that it wasn’t louder than other sounds.
Sid Meier’s Civilization V is definitely a great game for many fans of turn-based strategy games and it has a potential to find permanent place in collection of many RTS fans as well. I personally am not a big fan of turn-based games, for example. However, Civilization V kept me tied to the screen for a long time, even longer than its predecessor. Civilization V looks, sounds and plays great and ‘One more turn before I go to sleep’ phenomenon dangerously prolongs all gaming sessions.