Civilization is one of the longest-running series of PC games and has always been known as a PC game. Yet Firaxis had to try it out on the consoles with Civilization Revolution. Civilization fanatics were not amused and after that misstep Firaxis has now returned to the roots with the next chapter on the PC. I'm happy to report that Civiliza 22bb tion V, under all that fancy UI chrome and DX11 graphics, is still uniquely a PC game and still Civilization - not a consolized Civ-lite. Cue sleepless nights, that dreaded one-more-turn syndrome and the usual laundry list of v1.0 bugs combined with a cheating AI that can't play it's way out of a paper bag. Just like all the earlier Civilization games we all know and love.
Now just in case there is a reader somewhere who has just emerged from a cold war era fallout shelter after eating canned food for the past two decades; Civilization V, like all Civilization series games before, is a turn-based strategy game where you play as the eternal leader of a civilization from 4000BC all the way to the year 2050, building your nation, developing science and culture, keeping your population happy and growing while competing with other civilizations for land and resources.
There are several ways to ultimately win the game. You can excel trough science and industry and be the first to research and build an interstellar spaceship, or become the de-facto ruler of the world through culture or diplomacy. You can also simply apply liberal amounts of brute force and eliminate the competition through conquest. Should no civilization manage to complete one of these victory conditions by 2050 (500 turns on standard speed), whoever has the largest and most advanced civilization wins as determined by score. One game can be expected to last anywhere from 3-4 hours up, depending on the victory route, size of the map, number of opponents and game speed.
Civilization, 5th Edition
Civilization V revamps the familiar formula with many changes. Visuals have received a facelift and the map has changed from squares to hexes. With hexes, massive stacks of units are also gone - there is now a limitation of one combat unit plus one non-combat unit per hex. This sounds shocking and wrong at first, but once you try it, the obvious strategic implications are clear and positive. The limitation is enforced only at the end of turn - you can do "simultaneous moves", swapping the position of two units around or move units through other units as long as the move ends without units stacked. The only exceptions to this rule are fighters and bombers - they still stack up in cities or carriers as before. Lack of unit stacking predictably changes the combat to something completely new, making ranged units, proper troop placement and overall unit mix a lot more important. Cities also now have innate defenses that can bombard up to two hexes away with defensive structures (like walls) and garrisoned units (limited to one per city) improving the combat strength of the immovable "city" unit.
Another major change is the ditching of civics and replacing them with a completely new culture system. Civilization V has a set of social policies that can be unlocked with culture. Social policy trees are concepts like Tradition, Liberty, Honour, Piety, Patronage, Commerce, Freedom, Rationalism, Order and Autocracy, with each tree having a set of unlockable bonuses that open up with culture. Some trees offer general benefits while others are tailored for a specific victory condition so you really have to have a long-term plan on how you are going to win, choosing your social policies to fit. At the start of the game most of the policy trees are locked and additional options become available as you move up the technology tree. Cultural victory is tied to the new system - to win you need to fully complete five of the ten social policy trees and then construct a special building, Utopia Project, in one of your cities.
Other victory conditions have also received tweaks. Space victory now also requires you to move all the ship components to your capital for the launch, requiring you to secure your main landmass - no more last minute blast-offs to the stars from a set of super-fortified cities while your opponents are rampaging freely through your lands. Conquest victory is also less of a grind now - instead of full eradication of every enemy city, all you need for the conquest victory is to capture and hold all original enemy capitals.
Diplomatic victory has also a new twist - in addition to other civilizations, the game now also has city states. These are minor single-city mini-civs that cannot found new cities or win the game. Yet they do play a part in the global diplomatic game - they can wage war against major civilizations or be friends or allies. When trying to win diplomatically at the UN vote, city states play a part, having one vote each as well.
Some other bits and pieces have been lost in the mix. Social policies have replaced religions and corporations, there is no technology trading between civs (replaced by research agreements) and espionage is completely removed from the game. Civilization V also ships with zero scenarios - they are supported, but none are included beyond a couple of simple tutorial scenarios. None of these are truly critical omissions and in some ways it is nice that secondary features that added some unneeded layers of complexity can also be culled. Makes the experience more newbie-friendly and easier to keep together in late-game on larger maps while driving old-timer Civilization fanboys into uncontrollable rage over their missing pet feature. In my opinion all these changes are fin 21f2 e and help to improve the pace of the game.
Games: Civilization V
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