8.5

Addicting as always, frustrating just the same.

As someone that didn't much like Civilization 4, I was quite happy with all of the changes to the game. While the positive aspects of the game certainly outweigh the few downfalls, they are glaring enough to knock some points off the final review score.

The good:

* The new interface is easily accessible. Everything you need to see is right there waiting to be seen. There is no longer 10 pop-ups to look through to find out everything you need to know on any given item of information you need to plan your next moves. Everything is right there out in the open. However, if you are a sadist and want to continue the monotonous micro-management of previous Civ games, the tools are there to do so.

* The policy feature is very nice and well balanced. Its such a tough decision when you get to spend that first policy point. You are basically defining what style of game you will be playing for the rest of said game.

* No more culture expansion. While I was big on over-taking someones land with my superior culture, it did take away some enjoyability. Continue to pump out culture from every city, and you could culture-creep your way to eating up everyones borders. While culture still does get you some tiles, it cannot take over tiles already owned by the enemy. The system of buying tiles for gold is a very welcomed addition.

The bad:

* AI that needs anti-psychotic drugs. Boy these sure are some wonky characters. "Let's declare war on X in 10 turns!" OK! Ten turns is up, so we go to start the war only to hear, "I already told you I have no interest in that." Huh? The AI continually forfeits their own well-being to end a war with you that they themselves started. "Let's make peace. Here is 4 of my 5 cities and all of my gold." While it helps to expand your empire, it does feel kind of cheap.

* Multiplayer is essentially useless at this point in time. It may just be me, but I have no luck with 2K/Firaxis games when it comes to multiplayer. The game basically locks everyone in place at the beginning of a game and while you can all chat in the chat pane, no one can move their settlers / warriors to start the game. This happens literally more that 60% of the time.

* The ever-present troop mismatch that should have been a completely one-sided bout of destruction. Hey, I'll have my battleship fire on those spearmen. Woah, it only did two damage and they regenerated to full at the end of the turn. Realism is not quite a factor in battles.

In conclusion. While the game is indeed very fun, and without a doubt elicits that 'one more turn' feeling a Civilization game should bring, it has it's flaws. Most of these issues can be addressed in a patch, but nearly two weeks after launch, there has been one patch with minimal impact on any of the broad issues. It is worth the buy, and will undoubtedly have you glued to your computer until 3 AM, but expect some hiccups and hope for some quick patches with the rest of us.

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