It’s true: Civilization 5 has been released and my soul has been taken captive once again. I’ll be playing “just one more turn” into the wee hours of the morning this weekend for sure.Sid Meier’s Civilization 5 (known as “Civ 5″ to the in-crowd) is the latest incarnation of Sid Meier’s Civilization series, a series whose roots go all the way back to 1991. In all of the Civilization games, the player takes the role of a civilization’s leader and must guide his or her people through the various phases of human history, competing with computer-controlled civilizations and ravaging barbarians. The player builds units, develops cities and infrastructure, directs the civilization’s research, and conducts diplomacy. Maintaining a careful balance of all of these elements is key to building an empire that can stand the test of time. The game is quite a bit different from its last incarnation. Religion is gone. Governments are gone. Sabotage is gone. No longer do players need to concern themselves with the happiness of individual cities; instead the happiness of the civilization is determined by a single number.
So what’s left in Civilization 5? One nice change in Civilization 5 is the movement away from the dual-attribute system that gave bonuses in Civ 4; instead each civilization has their own unique unit(s), building(s), and special power. The powers are wide and varied and I can’t help but thinking that some of them are incredibly imbalanced. For instance, Rome’s special ability, “The Glory of Rome,” gives a 25% bonus to building production for any city that is building a building which already exists in Rome…building. In my Rome game, this has helped immensely as I’ve had the extra coin available to purchase every building possible in my capital city, effectively making my entire civilization build buildings 25% faster. Cool! I think that the special powers are great because they add a great deal of replayability to the game, but have the potential to be quite overpowered under certain circumstances.
The most interesting difference between Civ 5 and its predecessors is how much you chose to customize your empire. In place of government options and religion the player gets choice in Social Policies. Social Policies are perks that are earned by accumulated culture, and each chosen Social Policy provides a small boost to a single attribute of the player’s civilization. The Social Policies are arranged into ten different trees, each providing focused benefits. For instance, there is the “Order” tree, which grants benefits to production and happiness, and is particularly good for large empires, whereas the “Patronage” tree provides many bonuses to relations with city-states, and “Piety” provides benefits to civilization happiness. There are a few trees which are incompatible with one another (e.g., Piety and Rationalism trees), but for the most part the player is free to choose which trees to go down to fit their intended play style.Did I just say city-states? Why, yes! They’re a new feature in Civ 5. City-states are powerful cities (duh) scattered around the world that aren’t competing to win the game, but can provide a nice benefit if you be friend them. Sometimes they’ll gift you units, or gold, or additional resources, depending on the type of city-state and how much they like your empire. Empires can also declare that a particular city-state is under their protection, in an attempt to frighten off potential aggressors (and to improve relations with the city-state, naturally).
Pages: 1 2