The king is back. With the newest release in the Civilization series, developer Firaxis Games brings a few new tools and game elements to the table and strengthens the multiplayer capabilities of this long running and gold- standard strategy game.
Fans of the series should just know this: Civ V is evolutionary, not revolutionary. In this particular case, that's an extremely good thing. This strategy series is king of the hill for a reason, and Firaxis chose not to meddle with the core gameplay.
Instead, the developer listened to fan and critic reviews from past games and largely implemented what people wanted: more multiplayer control and options and a few gameplay tweaks, such as changes to the combat coordination and the adviser system.
It seems that one of the biggest changes made was the combat system itself. Compared to past Civ games, the combat here seems to be more of a focus. In fact, in many games against the computer, it's often hard to achieve victory through any other means. The artificial intelligence in this game seems to be very aggressive and initiates attacks much more than in previous games.
This leads to other pathways to victory, such as becoming a top civilization through science and culture, being interrupted, leaving aggressive combat victory as the only legitimate option. Sometimes this is OK, but in some games when players are focusing on being more peaceful societies, it is frustrating.
New players who aren't familiar with this storied franchise should know that this is not a casual game. It's quite the opposite. This game will take a while to get into and learn, but once you do and you get hooked, large chunks of time seem to disappear into black holes because there is always that "one more turn!"
This is an extremely deep, engaging and challenging game with multiple paths to victory and infinite replayability.
The learning curve is still steep in this newest release, but it does seem that Firaxis has done some work to make it a little more appealing to the new player. With a more helpful adviser and friendlier tips, which veterans can disable, the game is a bit easier to learn.