Average User Score: 8.3Mar 5, 2014I think people lament what Banished is not rather than enjoy what it is. It's not Pharoah. It's not Zeus. It's not SimCity, CotN, CivCity Rome, Caesar, Emperor, Anno, Cities XL or any other number of builders. It's not meant to be. Banished is a rather simple premise executed beautifully but without embellishment. It is simply about growing and sustaining a viable village. Not a town, a city, an empire or a dynasty. It's just about keeping a nondescript village going and in that it succeeds totally. I love the pace and game environment not because it is simple but because it is focused and it is challenging. My first village in Banished failed. It was the first time that I can remember ever losing a town in any city builder and I've been playing them since the original SimCity. I was delighted.
Now I didn't see in any previews that suggested anything different or more than what I got in the game. What it doesn't do is have talent/building trees or progression - but then again a small rural village in the 1700s or 1800s wouldn't expect to progress much from a technology standpoint. It doesn't have monuments, castles, combat or beautification projects. Are these limiting factors? Yes and they could have been included but they're not necessary for the core game to succeed. I wouldn't mind DLC or mods that include larger construction projects or the ability to create flower beds and other beautification projects. I think we'll see those things and I think that may make the game feel more "complete" for some people.
Personally, I like the game for what it is. I find it relaxing but challenging and I enjoy seeing my little hamlet survive and grow and perhaps even eventually thrive. It also reminds me of a different era of gaming, where resource limitations required games to stay focused on their subject matter without becoming bloated. To me, Banished has a soul unlike some modern city-builders (Cities XL I'm looking right at you) and that makes all the difference.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Nov 19, 2012FE improves on the hideous, buggy mess that was the original Elemental, but it's still a hodge-podge of disassociated systems that don't quite blend together well. The graphics leave something to be desired and it's still not entirely stable, though it's not unplayable and it does a decent job at trying to fulfill the normal 4X TBS checklist. But with fantasy 4X TBS games like Warlock: Master of the Arcane available for a much lower price (and the far-superior non-fantasy Civ V available for the same price), it doesn't fill much of a niche in the gaming market today.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.0Nov 13, 2012The best thing you can say about Towns is that it has the potential to be a very good game. Basically, you manage the town on top of a dungeon. It's similar to Dwarf Fortress in that you gather resources, tell your townies what to do, make stuff and expand your little settlement...all while defending it from the baddies. The concept is sound.
The problem is that the game was released on Steam in an Alpha state. Essentially, the exact same build that was considered an Alpha prior to Towns being Greenlit, was then released as a finished product on Steam without disclosure that the product isn't finished. It has some pretty severe technical issues with crashes, the tutorials are hideous and the whole thing feels shoddy. That the developer seems to have resisted disclosing their product is unfinished in an effort to generate more sales is just extremely poor business. Presently, with the problems any alpha faces, the game isn't any better than a 3...with the potential for the game to be a 9 within 6 months to a year. The only question is do you reward someone for doing business that way? Well, I don't review for potential and I don't like being ripped off, so it gets what it deserves right now. And that's a 3.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Sep 30, 2010Civ V is somewhat a dramatic and almost unexpected departure from the venerable series. Given how polished and excellent Civ IV and the Beyond the Sword expansion is, it would have been easy for Firaxis to slap a fresh coat of paint on that game and release it as Civ V. In fact, that's one of the reasons that some Civ IV fans aren't happy with Civ V. Go read reviews for a description of the game because the feature set sounds much like past Civs. Yet this one plays quite a bit differently. Gone is religion, squares, transports and the stack of doom. In their place is a very different Civ, with an emphasis on fewer units and cities, tactical combat and overall happiness. There's fewer units and cities so overall there's less micro-management. But yet there's more micro-management per unit and city because each one is so valuable. In many ways, Civ V is far more nuanced than prior versions, yet the options are there if you want to keep it on a high level. You'll spend more time in this game husbanding units and maneuvering for tactical combat and perhaps a bit less on the building of your empire. Also, unlike in some past games, Civ V will make you make a decision on the direction of your empire that you can't reverse. Scarcity in gold, hammers and civics makes a player think about these key decisions. This is a pretty radical departure in the series, but one that I welcome.
There's no doubt there are some issues on release, notably with the tactical AI and opaque diplomacy. Gone too are things like wonder movies, which helped add personality to past games in the series, and religion, which drove diplomacy . Some fans like these decisions, others don't.
All in all, Civ V deserves your hard-earned dollar. It's greatly entertaining, deep and fun. It's not without flaws and it's a pretty different direction for the Civ series, but the core of what made Civilization the premier TBS game in all of PC gaming is still here. It's a worthy successor to the crown.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.9Sep 2, 2010Currently the game is unfinished and there's no two ways around that. Many aspects of the game are simply broken like the AI or the balance. The UI is unintuitive and when you combine that with an admittedly outdated and incomplete manual (then why did you ship it Stardock?) and a game that crashes when you ALT-TAB, that's a recipe for failure.
Even if it's fixed, the game is simply not that much fun. There are design flaws in the game that won't be overcome with simple patches. This game is MOO 3 all over again - greatly hyped and a colossal failure at release. Even patched MOO 3 never was anything more than mediocre and Elemental will share the same destiny. So if you want to spend your money on a game that's outright broken now and will be mediocre in 6 months, buy Elemental.… Expand