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Average User Score: 7.9Oct 13, 2010Sid Meier has always prided himself on creating fun. This product is a noble effort to improve the Civ franchise, which has probably broughSid Meier has always prided himself on creating fun. This product is a noble effort to improve the Civ franchise, which has probably brough more fun into the world than any other, but ultimately it is an incomplete product. If you haven't played Civilization before, play Civ4, it's better, on balance. And, alas, more fun.
Civilization V fixes most of the problems that plagued Civilization IV. Gone are the 'Stacks of Doom', outlawed by the '1 unit per tile' rule. Economies are again driven by the land, not by cottages or great people. Happiness has been consolidated to an economy-wide focus, rather than a city-centric focus, which saves time. Geographic constraints on city expansion have been relaxed. The largely pointless and annoying disease/nutrition system is gone. The combat system has been beefed up, with ranged units and squares replaced by hexes (why wasn't that part of Civ 1?). The need to check diplomacy every turn to trade techs efficiently has been replaced by a system of collaborative research agreements. And some entertainment has been added through single city states. These are all substantial leaps forward.
The game fails because despite all of these improvements, I can attest after 80 hours of gameplay, it just isn't fun. The four fun-killers are:
First, the focus has clearly moved towards military conquest. The AI declares war on you because it can - the United States wants to conquer Canada in CivVWorld. But the AI sucks at war. If you can build an army of 6 units you can hold off an infinite attack from an enemy civ. Build an army of 12 units and you can advance on 2 fronts, which is enough to win constant war against everyone. To be fair, Civ AI has ALWAYS made for a poor man's wargame, but that has never really been the point before (well maybe in Civ 3, but ...), rather the fun has come from building up the civ and watching it thrive. Which brings me to ...
Second, foolish humans, such as my good self, have always enjoyed the Civ franchise because of the micro payoffs, the "just one more turns" ... This game shows all the hallmarks of squished or hurried design. Tech advances are greeted by quotes both less sage and delivered less compellingly than Leonard Nimoy's efforts in Civ IV. The tech payoffs are sometimes nonsensible - the technology of 'Telegraph' lets you build battleships, miltary based and Rio de Janeiro's Christo Redento. Stop. Most of the Great Wonders confer largely irrelevant advantages, which is perhaps why Firaxis got rid of the beautiful wonder movies and replaced them with inane pictures, so no more do you curse and punch the wall when some other civ beats you by 1 turn. And the rewards for victory ... well, I wouldn't want to spoil the disappointment for you. Game designers everywhere need to understand that if you play for 20+ hours to achieve some condition that they set, you expect some quid pro quo.
Third, there are design flaws - things that clearly just don't work the way any sane person would make a game work. Such as the maritime city states that provide a quantum of food to each of your cities, no matter how many cities there are in your civilization. Or the 'bonus' resources you wish you didn't have so you could just build a farm. Or the fact that in 1820 you should still build cavalry spearman so you can upgrade them to knights, then rifle-armed cavalry, because the upgrade system is so cheap. Fourth, there are bugs. Lots of bugss. Suffice to say that when you've played a game for 20 hours pushing for a domination victory and then find you can't kill your last opponent because the 10 turn peace treaty you signed 200 turns ago is still in effect, you'll probably consign this game to the dustbin, as I did. I've know doubt these will be fixed in time. So wait before you buy.
In summary, I see in this product noble efforts to improve on civ 4 that, on balance, failed. The game is less likely to keep me up until 4am pressing the 'Next turn' button than did Civ IV because I care less about my little baby civs then I used to, and find it more inane beating up on my supid enemies than in the past. Nice try Firaxis, but no good. Thumbs down.… Expand