Reviews: Civilization V: Gods and Kings

Are you a Turn-based strategy aficionado? Then you’ll want to check out my latest review.

Platform: PC, MAC
Reviewed by: Jonathan Bester

The Turn-Based Strategy genre is almost as old as the concept of games itself and it comes as no surprise that this latest offering in the stable of titles from Firaxis Games in the form of an expansion pack. But does this expansion pack improve on the base title, or does it fall face first in the dirt of history? Firaxis Games is known for bringing top notch TBS titles to the table, and Civilization V was no different. Introducing a unique gameplay style, an amazingly detailed world and an audio platform that complimented the game perfectly. With the Gods & Kings expansion Firaxis has taken everything that made Civ V great and improved on it. It has even re-introduced some of the more beloved features from previous titles in the franchise to really bring something special back into the game.

Whereas the gameplay remains pretty much unchanged from the base game, Firaxis has introduced two new gameplay mechanics to the already successful title. These are religion and espionage, two very prominent fixtures in any war. The first of these mechanics; religion, introduces a new accumulative resource called faith into the mix. Build up enough faith, using various means, such as temples and shrines, and you can discover, shape and mould your civilization to focus on. Combine this with your existing military or cultivation benefits and you have a civilization that can and will come out on top. As with real life scenarios, you are able to convert rival cities and civilizations to your way of thinking and as a result you are able to form alliances based on mutual understanding through faith. Quite an interesting addition to the game.

Secondly, the espionage mechanic introduces the player to the cloak and dagger aspect of warmongering. There is less focus on espionage as opposed to faith in Civ V Gods and Kings and it does not require as much attention for the player to emerge victorious using this tactic. As with persons of significance that seem to pop up at random intervals during the course of a game, spies tend to pop up too. You use them to perform specialised spy missions into enemy terrain and cities. It essentially works on a roll system whereby the outcome is determined by a random drop of the dice. Succeed in a mission and your spy levels up, fail and you might cause the enemy to declare war on you. As with any potential real life situation, if your spy gets caught they can be interrogated and the tables turned on you by them revealing important information on you that could potentially lead to your defeat. There are of course certain factors than can cause your civilization to be easier to spy on, so watch how you space your earned points, so as to avoid being made into an easy mark as I have so quickly learned in my play through.

In addition to the two new mechanics in gameplay a few more factions/civilizations have been introduces as well as a few more unit types which only adds to the longevity to the title. Couple all of this with a noticeable increase of the AI from the vanilla title and you have yourself a winner in the gameplay department.

Graphically, Civilization V is a visual masterpiece. But I am not here to review the initial title. The fact is no improvements or noticeable change has occurred since the original game was launched about a year ago, but quite frankly none is necessary as Gods and Kings really is graphically sound. For a Turn-Based Strategy title, you can see that the developers has really gone all out with the animations and art prevalent in the game.

Again, as with the graphics in this title, the focus was not on creating newer or better sound. Being an expansion title, more focus was placed on the new additions in the gameplay department, however and it must be noted that the audio and ambient music in the title perfectly complements the combat scenarios.

The Conclusion:
Civilizations V: Gods and Kings is a sound Turn-Based Strategy title that will certainly keep the player enthralled for hours on end. There is no lack of interesting scenarios and the addition of the two new gameplay mechanics certainly adds a lot more playability to the title. In my opinion the team at Firaxis has hit the proverbial nail on the head when it comes to the playing out of the religious or espionage situations depicted in the game and it certainly adds a certain flair to the title that was very lacking in the vanilla version of the game.

The Verdict:
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Value for Money: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 8/10

Official ITF Rating: 8/10

Courtesy of ITF Gaming

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