Civilisation V: Gods and Kings is frustrating, infuriating, and at times tedious but that is all part and parcel of a game that takes you on a journey though time; it allows you to weave your own story, both the highs and lows. When those bad times give way to the good times it makes them feel all the more sweeter, and the triumph of defeating a foe ether in battle or any other area of competition can give you a feeling of power and success. Everything from the opening prologue of starting a new game to the loss of a veteran unit is designed to cause an emotional response, and this game does it well. This addictive turn based epic will ether have you hating it or adoring it.
Civ V is a game that doesn’t take it’s self too seriously, the art style verges on the cartoony which maintains a pleasant, friendly feel to everything. However, at the same time almost everything has enough realism in it to keep it believable. It can be a real joy just to look at, particularly the the leader screens and my personal favourite, watching my cities grow. But it is not without its graphical problems. The cities which quickly become cluttered with buildings can sport some interesting solutions to the lack of space. I would all too often have a defensive wall going though my Colosseum, or a Pyramid built in the sea. These oddities are far from game braking, but they can ruin an otherwise beautiful aspect of the game, in fact I would argue for more detail in the cities and maybe even some kind of ‘zoomed in’ view so that the buildings don’t have to look quite so out of place to been seen and enjoyed.
The units in the game are a very important feature, they are your scouts, your warriors, your workers and your specialists. For the most part, these units work quite well. Path finding is reasonably good, animations are good – if not a little too long (these can be removed in the options) – and combat is easy to grasp for beginners. But it is also one of the most problematic areas, and as such vital part of gameplay it can be a real pain. Early on, where all your likely to have is a few warriors and what not, it’s easy to keep track of units and to move them about. Once you get into the later stages of the game – where you might have ten units massed in one location – it can become extremely difficult to move units around one another, this isn’t challenging however; just tedious. I had a good deal of trouble getting my workers to build roads where I wanted them too, thus leading to lots of faffing getting my workers to build roads tile by tile to ensure they don’t waste time.
The AI generally preforms well considering the complexity of this game, providing a challenge and an immersive role playing element in the form of the leaders. Leaders such as Napoleon and Genghis Khan are as you would expect, aggressive expansionists who will often resort to military means to reach there ends. In contrast leaders like Gandhi will be far more pacifist and open to diplomatic solutions, adding a great deal of character and familiarity to a game that can be overwhelming for beginners. You almost end up dealing with people not a computer, I even found myself becoming attached to one of two leaders who had offered me a lot of help.
But once again it isn’t all plain sailing for the AI, they are still prone to odd behaviour, I would often have several civilisations denounce me in one turn (many of which had previously declared friendship) for no apparent reason, then offer their friendship again. The AI can also have difficulty managing a lot of units and, from my experience, still has trouble mounting large attacks – especially amphibious assaults. The game also suffers from a lack of any real AI change, as you increase the difficulty the AI doesn’t get smarter, it simply gets a larger and larger set of bonuses to things like science and production. This from of challenge born from a cheating AI leaves something of a hollow feeling. If you’re being beaten by the AI on a high difficulty level it’s likely because you are being cheated not out smarted.
I never played Civ V without the Gods and Kings expansion but religion and espionage fit extremely well into the game adding new ways to achieve your goals – but they are not vital to victory, which can leave them at the bottom of the list of priorities. Religion offers a great deal of variety and espionage can be fun to use but if your ahead in science there can be a lack of things to do with your spies. The lack of any real tutorial makes the quite large learning curve even steeper. There are advisor’s, but they are somewhat limited and they don’t explain things in the game set-up options – for instance I still don’t know how the age of the world effects the game world. It would also have been nice if there were ways of gaining a victory in different time periods, which would allow you to tailor how long you wanted your game to be, while still being able to enjoy the prehistoric era.
Overall it’s a joy to play and will keep you fixated on your screen long into the wee hours of the morning, and, quite honestly, the faults I outlined are rather minor. The addictive gameplay, the immersive characters and lovely visuals all combine wonderfully to make a game truly worth playing.
Gameplay – 4/5: Thoroughly enjoyable, despite it’s flaws this is a very good part of the game.
Graphics – 4/5: The graphics aren’t super realistic but the art style suits the game well.
Innovation – 3/5: This is the 5th instalment so the concept isn’t new, however the changes made from 4 to 5 are substantial.
Value – 5/5: It is very easy to plough hours into this game and not notice, you can set up a hundred’s of matches and they will all be different. Plus if your into your role playing this game can be great for it.
Final Score: 4.5/5