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style="font-style: italic;">Peaceful empire building is one
way to go.  Of course, you could just take someone else's
empire and call it your own.  The cowards write the history
books after all.

Civilization is a series that is older than some of you reading this
review at the moment.  Hailed as the ultimate time waster by
many, games of it are incredibly drawn out, and have innumerable
variables to analyze.  Much has changed as the series has
progressed, but the concept remains the same—guide a civilization
throughout history as we know it.

You have to make decision after decision—what to produce, how to work
the land, assigning workers throughout your empire and of course
controlling your forces to both secure your lands, and perhaps conquer
others.  Games of Civilization take hours upon
hours.  Even the smallest map in multiplayer will take a good
chunk of time on the fastest speed setting.  If you love
micromanaging every aspect of your empire, you can do just
that.  If you want to let the advisors and AI handle the more
tedious parts, you can do that too and just enjoy the basic decision

Can your civilization withstand the test of time once more?


Civilization V is rated E 10+ for Drug Reference, Mild Language, and Mild Violence.

The history of the world involved the occasional drug reference, and sometimes war is hell. To be honest, if your child can understand what Civilization is and wants to play it, they are more than mature enough for it.

Gameplay - 90 / 100

The flow of a civilization game involves issuing commands to your towns, citizens, and military units, and ending the turn so that every other group can do the same. It works out beautifully, but the reason this doesn’t get a perfect score is due to the vast amount of changes from the previous games. Religion is completely out the window. Espionage is nowhere to be seen. Offensive units have to be specialized much more than before, and yet, there aren’t as many upgrades to begin with.

That said, the gameplay is sound for what it is. Perhaps the reason a lot of these were removed from previous iterations in the series is to leave room for something to add from the previous games. The new addition of City-States is huge and adds a new level of complexity, as they can safely be ignored until they ally with someone else who declares war on you (and they follow suit!) , or you can take them over quickly and use their bases as your own. The multitudes of combat changes are quite fresh to the series, and no longer can you rampage around with a world conquering army in one tile.

Graphics - 87 / 100

The terrain and units look good, and as your cities evolve, the little things begin to show up on the grand map to indicate just how advanced your empire has become. The interface is surprisingly well designed, and almost all information is available in a click or two on any unit or situation. The opening cinematic is passable (you’re just going to skip it anyway after you view it once) and while I miss the dramatic cutscenes for wonder completion from games such as Alpha Centauri, the quick cut-ins work as well. Doesn’t the Statue of Liberty deserve better?

It’s important to note that this game can run in standard Direct X 9 mode, or 10/11 mode. On the latter and on max settings, it may look beautiful but for a game of this type with lots of idle units and terrain, it certainly starts to chug more than it should. Thankfully the developers give everyone a chance to play the game on the settings of their choosing, something other developers could take a page from.

Sound - 77 / 100

The hustle and bustle of the city, units marching, tanks driving…. It’s all standard fare. Nothing stands out for the voice work, as the leaders all speak their respective native tongues which will probably sound like gibberish to 99% of those that hear it.

Of course, the technology voice overs are done by Morgan Sheppard. He does an outstanding job, but Civ 4 had Leonard Nimoy. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill!

The main reason for the low score is again, a lack of musical scores of note. For a game like Civilization, the music can really set the tone for the setting, be it war or peace. It just feels like a missed opportunity.

Multiplayer - 82 / 100

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style="font-style: italic;">You can configure virtually
anything about the game for single or multiplayer.  Even the
age of the world you're settling on!

Multiplayer Civilization still hasn’t
changed much.  Starting
a multiplayer game is almost always
a huge commitment unless the game is on the fastest setting and a small
map, so
teaming up against some computers with some friends that have a lot of
time on
their hands is advised.  Small
skirmishes can still take over an hour, and if someone leaves the game
basically over.

The game uses Gamespy for the game
listings and joining, so
the interface and lobby features are nothing special.

Value - 82 / 100

Everything is here you could ask for, but the only thing that keeps this from a perfect score is a lack of documentation. Some units will have weaknesses indicated by arrows. You hover over the arrow, and it says “Penalty against cities” How much is it? Your guess is as good as mine until you use it. These kinds of things in the in-game encyclopedia not having numbers beside their descriptions really bothers me, and makes me think the game could use some more polish in the details.

Lasting Appeal - 97 / 100

This is what makes Civilization such a powerful series. People love firing it up and taking way more turns than they should, losing sleep and skipping work in the process. It just grows on you. That feeling of progression that you get from leveling up in an MMORPG can be felt as you progress through the ages and add to your social and scientific portfolio. You’ll understand after a game or two that you just can’t stop on a whim!

Pros and Cons


- The City-State system is well done.

- Interface is wonderful.

- Combat changes are welcome and refreshing.


- Unit and Road maintenance costs are really, really high.

- Questionable at best auto-worker and auto-explore AI. It destroys its own creations!

- Serviceable graphics and sound aren’t a bad thing, but the game should run better for what it is.


Firaxis had a goal in mind with Civilization V. They took the classic feel of the series and added completely new and interesting features to challenge the hardened fan base. People balked at the idea of City-States and a hex-based world instead of the tried and true squares when they were introduced. The good news is that the final product is in fact a worthy civilization game for all to enjoy, for those new to the series and those of us who play turns in our sleep after we close the game.

It’s a wonderful experience and you’ll lose sleep over it, whether you like it or not! You can always save and quit on the next turn…

Overall 83/100 - Very Good


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Civilization V Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016