When one stares into the face of a Sid Meier
game, one stares into the face of history. The whole of human achievement, wrapped up
in a pretty little parcel and thrust, forcefully but graciously, onto the stage of your PC.
Within the course of one quote unquote “GAME” you’re dealing with everything from the
rise of metallurgy to the splitting of the atom, from primitive hunting and gathering
to ideology in its purest forms, harvested by the agile mind for the betterment of a
digital people wandering an arbitrary chunk of land, deemed “Austria” solely due to
its being ruled by Maria Theresa. We take to this land now, to watch our esteemed video
game critic slam his face against turn after turn of brain-gelatinizing simulation, forever
to be metamorphosed by the experience. If my language seems a bit out-there at the
present moment, it’s because I’ve been locked in this box for the in-game equivalent
of millenia, watching the various worlds go by, playing out every possible permutation
of the human experience. From peacetime to wartime, witnessing the rise and decline of
empires, I have seen all. Civilization V gives you that very omniscience, and it’s kinda
overwhelming at first. But dig your heels in, and you’re rewarded with maybe the most
definitive… um… civilization… simulation… ever. I mentioned when speaking about Sid
Meier’s Railroads! exclamation point that the sign of a good simulation is hitting that
line between “crunchy fiddly bits” and “handwaving” right on the nose. Well,
he’s done it again, choosing not to completely overwhelm your deity with details… until
you really look… and you realize just how much crap there is to do. Your basic game starts the same way: You’ve
got a military unit and a band of settlers, and they make a city. Then, through exploration,
innovation, research, subjugation, warfare, public policy, tactical maneuvering, lucky
finds, engineering, and – let’s face it – hours and hours… and hours – you raise
this ragtag tribe to greatness by doing what humans do best: Turn resources in the wild
into killing machines and shiny things. Whether you’re after a cultural victory, a diplomatic
victory, a Victory Storm King Imperial Stout, or Victory (starring Michael Caine and Sylvester
Stallone), you’ve got the methods at your fingertips for shaping your nation into whatever
form you wish. Of course, you had all that in Civ IV as well, so why V? Well, aside from
a shinier coat of paint and significantly less chanting over the opening credits, you’re
getting some re-tooled mechanics better balanced for how folks were actually playing the game.
The Civics system has been rebuilt as Public Policy trees, requiring more consequential
decisions, and combat no longer allows multiple units to co-occupy one hex of the field, creating
roving stacks of murderous rage. How can I poormouth Civilization? It’s got
us where we are today! Sure, it seems to take forever to start up, and I noticed a number
of weird graphics quirks – especially where you’re holding court with fellow leaders…
see that? And the music’s kind of a non-starter, your standard suitably-epic ambiance covered
up by the bleating of sheep and felled warriors. But on the whole, it’s great if you want
a huge timesink with the added benefit of some edutainment-like substance, thus justifying
all the time you’re spending building up a chunk of a foreign world that you’re going
to arbitrarily call “Russia.” Or, if you’re of a mind to, some random steampunk nation,
competing with other steampunk nations, in a scenario full of steampunk nations. Also,
this being a bastion of PC gaming, mods run rampant as well, should you be interested
in seeing how your country run by Dr. Ivo Robotnik would fare against, say, Ashelia
B’Nargin Dalmasca. Honestly? My money’s on the woman whose shit doesn’t get wrecked
on the regular by a damn hedgehog.

15 thoughts on “CGR Undertow – SID MEIER’S CIVILIZATION V review for PC

  1. I don't want to be this guy, but… You were reviewing Civ 5 and you showed like Celtics, Religion etc. (aka Gods & Kings expansion) ;p

  2. This game is so bloody shallow. Next to no micromanaging, awful combat, and not too good of graphics. God, this game is overrated 

  3. 10/10 for that ending. There needs to be a "realistic" subtitles mod for this game so that all of the interactions are like that. 

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