Sid Meier's Civilization series has been at the forefront of turn-based strategy games for nearly two decades. With the recent success of Civilization Revolution on the consoles, many PC gamers were worried that their beloved franchise had deserted them. Well, fear not hardcore Civ fans, as the PC exclusive Civilization V is on its way, and it is looking awesome.
The basic concept of any Civilization game involves players building an empire that spans the length of recorded history. By investing in technological, scientific, and cultural advancements, players can beat the game in numerous ways, from conquering the world through military strength, to being the first nation to achieve space flight. Civilization V doesn't change this formula too much you'll still be building an empire, interacting with other nations, and going to war. But a host of improvements and additions has made the game much more accessible to both newcomers and veterans alike.
A few of the changes made in Civilization V include a cleaner UI, which gives the player notifications of important happenings within the game, and hides secondary commands that aren't all that useful. The game also uses a hexagonal map instead of the square map used in previous games. This change may seem minor, but it does result in much more realistic looking terrain, and makes movement in combat more tactical.
Speaking of combat, battles are much more strategic this time around. Firaxis, the game's developer, wanted to make sure that each unit held value in a fight in Civilization V, and that's exactly what they've done. Things like effective use of terrain, flanking positions, and troop positioning make it so combat doesn't just come down to whoever has the most troops. During the E3 demo, we saw a single battalion of riflemen nearly hold off an attack against a force of opposing riflemen, cavalry, and canons because they had a secure, raised position across a river. Although they did perish in the attack, they did way more damage than a single concentration of troops should've done due to their effective use of terrain.
And for those who prefer diplomacy over warfare, Civilization V has you covered. City-states are new additions to the series that are essentially small cities that won't ever expand and become a threat to your empire. City-states do offer significant bonuses if allied with, and aren't nearly as helpful if conquered forcefully. The new Social Policy system also allows you to upgrade the culture of your civilization, which can affect how other nations interact with you.
The AI in Civilization V is also much more robust than in previous iterations. Each civilization leader will have a distinct personality, and behaves differently depending on your tactics. If a hostile nation continually sends armies at your empire and they are handily defeated, for example, then they will stop wasting resources on valuable troops, and try to win the game in some other way.
Whether you're a diehard Civ fan, or have never even touched the series, Civilization V is certainly worthy of your attention. Look for it to invade PCs worldwide this September.