Civilization V (PC)

Civilization V PC Box
6.66 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Mechanics: 5/10
Strategy: 7/10


City-states | No wonder movies | No victory movies

Game Info

GAME NAME: Civilization V

PUBLISHER(S): 2K Games, Aspyr Media


GENRE(S): Turn-based strategy

RELEASE DATE(S): September 21, 2010


Civilization is one of the oldest and most prestigious franchises in the video game industry. Literally millions of players were eagerly awaiting the September 21, 2010 release of Civ5 and, indeed the game has gotten generally positive reviews from the video game community at large since then. But they’re wrong. Civ5 isn’t a bad game, and it would much better if it had never been called Civ5, but there is no way that this game is the successor to Civ4. Sid Meier completely abdicated his role in this game’s development and Jon Shafer, the lead designer, only succeeded in clumsily smashing Civ4 and Panzaer General into a near total failure of a Sid Meier Civ game. I still want to cry.

The basic concept of Civ5 is the same as earlier iterations of the series; start from a single city and build an empire capable of dominating the other civilizations militarily, economically, culturally, or scientifically. You are given the time frame of about 4000 BCE to 2050 CE to accomplish all this. You get to build cities, military units, roads, city improvement buildings, wonders of the world, and wholes lists of other things to help you reach your goals. And along the way, you meet the other civilizations inhabiting your randomly generated world and engage in trade, diplomacy, and sometimes war.

The gameplay and game mechanics are similar to what you would expect from a Civ game, but a couple of very noticeable changes have been made. First, the game is no longer played on a map made up of square tiles. Instead, the map now consists of hexagons. So this is a visual design change that has had a large impact on the game. Where cities used to have a range that was defined by the one over, two up method (like a knight in chess), city range is now a maximum of 3 hexes out. This was very confusing at first, especially when coupled with having to buy more tiles to expand city borders, but doable and relatively innocuous in the end. The second major change is that military units can no longer stack in the same tile. This means no more having 12 modern armor units stacked in the same square next to a city ready to grind it into dust by sheer attrition. Apart from those two major things, Civ5 plays relatively similar to previous iterations.

The sound and graphics are both well done. Though I will say the road and train track rendering just looks weird. But I can’t think of anything about the sound that drew negative attention to itself. The graphics are good, but with the new hex tiles everything looks a little different, but I’m not willing to kick up a fuss about that. The new user interface is pretty slick even if it removed the ability to forcefully end your turn without taking all your actions. I know ending a turn early and unintentionally has been a bone of contention for some time, but that option should still be in the game, just off to the side. One thing that did strike me as hugely disappointing was the total lack of full motion videos that play when world wonders are completed. There are no FMVs in Civ5 apart from the opening one. And I found that one rather lame. That was a huge let-down.

In the end, I am forced to say something about a Civ game that I have never said before. I am disappointed. Severely disappointed even. I feel robbed and cheated of my hard-earned $50. It began when I got home and realized that the only thing on the “game disc” that I had just bought was Steam, not Civ5. Steam then went on to download Civ5 for 2 hours and 20 minutes before I could play. And when I did finally get to play, there was nothing epic about Civ5 at all. I even found myself getting bored as I played and I have never been bored with a PC version of Civ before. I was shocked, disappointed, and wholly underwhelmed. If you are considering purchasing Civ5 and you are die-hard fan of the Civ franchise, don’t. Save your money for something that is actually worth $50. Civ5 is neither entertaining nor worthy of the Civ5 name. My reaction would not be nearly as extreme if this game didn’t have the Civ5 title and Sid Meier’s blessing, but it does, and that makes the disappointment that much harder to accept. And to those who do like this version of Civ, well, I guess you completely missed out on the beauty and epicness of the previous versions. You have my condolences. I give Civ5 a failing 6.5 out of 10. Skip it.


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Author: Michael Bartok View all posts by

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