Video Game Review: “Civilization V: Gods and Kings”
Me and the game Civilization go way back. Not to the dawn of civilizations itself, but to the dawn of the game Civilization. Since the original Civilization, I have played every game. Civilization V was a solidly balanced game among all of them (since Civilization II). Just a few weeks ago, the expansion pack to Civilization V was released, titled Gods and Kings. Civilization V is needed to play the expansion pack.
Some herald the game as a great addition. I am not here to say it isn’t. However, I feel like it could have been a bit more. But before I get into my personal feelings on the game, let me tell you what has been added…
With the expansion pack, you now have an extra 9 civilizations you can play as, to make the total of civilizations up to 27 (not including any bonus civs you may have acquired from DLCs or limited edition games). There are 27 new units as well (though most are unique units for the 9 new civilizations). There is also an added amount of resources to go get to add to your empire and please your citizens.
One game mechanic added was espionage. Espionage has been an off and on kind of thing throughout the franchise. Civilization V did not have espionage so this was a brand new mechanic. When your civilization makes it to the Renaissance Era, every civilization gets one spy. This spy can either go to other civilizations to steal technology and gather information about who they are considering to attack, or the spy can rig elections or cause a coup in city-states so you can gain their favor, or the spy can do counter-intelligence and prevent other spies from stealing your tech. This is all cool and I like it. However, acquiring spies is limited. You gain a spy for every era you progress through. By the time you get spies, they aren’t a deal breaker in the game. I have not found my strategy changing at all because of spies. The only thing spies do is adding another thing that can change diplomatic relations between nations.
The other addition to the game is religion. Civilizations may found a religion (with a real religion name or a made-up one of your choice). Religion can added a few bonuses that your civilization will get to enjoy. Religion itself isn’t a necessary game changer either, however it adds a few minor things for the non-conquest individuals. Instead of having to bully city-states, you may get a request to spread your religion. Religion can also aid in diplomatic relations if you share the same religion. There are a few religion bonuses that would be useful, such as purchasing religious buildings that add a bonus to your city, or using faith to purchase units before Renaissance Era, but others are fairly lame.
The two mechanics have not greatly changed, but at the same time they don’t go unnoticed either. The balance has remained all the way through. There are no game changers at all (which is a blessing and a curse). In thinking of how espionage could be better, I can only think that it be better earlier in the game, but aside from that it is balanced as it is. With religion, I wish some more elements were included, such as having a zealot unit, or using faith to possibly inspire units temporarily or something. Have a bonus when fighting civilizations of different religions but a negative when fighting civilizations sharing the same religion. I am not fully sure. But something a bit more possibly.
Still, if you have the money, purchase this expansion. More civilizations is always a bonus. There were quite a bit of nice touches added and the game doesn’t become any more or less balanced than before. Very solid, careful thinking on Firaxis’ part. I was nervous for a bit since I usually am not thrilled by Civilization expansion packs, but this did well. Go check it out!
Now Firaxis, how about a new Alpha Centauri game, hmm?