There is saying amongst Civilization gamers (colloquially known as “Civ”), “the game is like cocaine.” And this phrase holds absolutely true. Sid Meier’s Civilization 5 is a testament to the strategy genre, and a highly-addicting, and incredibly fun experience.
Civilization 5 fits into the 4x genre of strategy gaming, “explore, expand, exploit, exterminate” – in Civilization 5, all of these steps to global victory are fun and thoughtful, and allow for different degrees of these four pillars of strategy.
The game puts you in the seat of a famous ruler of a prominent civilization, George Washington spearheading America, Ramses II of Egypt, Suleiman of the Ottoman Empire, are just to name a few. Turn by turn, you slowly expand from your first initial settlement into a regional authority, moving through the game’s historical periods – Ancient, Classical, Medieval, Renaissance and so on. And with patience, and diligence, you steer your cities through wars, revelations and diplomatic arrangements to emerge later in the game as a global power (if you’re successful). Civilization 5 allows you to reach victory through four different routes, 1) military conquest and elimination of all opposing civilizations, 2) winning the scientific race to put a man on the moon; 3) finishing the cultural Utopia Project first; and 4) being voted in as the world leader at a United Nations summit.
The various paths to victory allow for the multitude of civilizations to retain a unique identity of their own, and when you play against the AI, you will quickly pick up that Augustus of Rome is extremely aggressive and Alexander the Great will want all your allies. Here, however, is the dominant flaw of Civilization 5, engaging and arranging alliances with NPC civilizations is both random and burdensome, where you may declare friendship in one turn, only to have them on the verge invasion ten turns later. The inconsistency and the frustration often lead you to ride solo in your endeavors, and thus the interaction with other civilizations remains lackluster.
Aside from the gameplay, the graphics and sound of Civilization 5 are nice to look at, and pleasant to listen to. With an above-par score and excellent optimization, you won’t have troubles being immersed in your turn-by-turn strategic adventure.
At this point after the release, Civilization 5 now has a host of mods via Steam’s Workshop which expand and add flavour to the pre-existing game; and the additional DLC expansions Gods & Kings and Brave New World are very much recommended.
But still, without all of that, Civilization 5 will keep you up late into the night, and even though it might almost be morning, you will keep repeating the creed of Civ players,
“One … more … turn.”