Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings Review
Civilization V: Gods and Kings is an eminently worthwhile collection of big and small changes that enhance an already amazing game.
- New religion and espionage modules build on the core game in meaningful ways
- Plenty of new civs to play and buildings to build
- Improved AI
- Streamlines rules and removes exploits.
- Doesn't include some content from previous expansions.
Just in case you finally managed to drag yourself away from your PC and go live a productive life, the good folks at Firaxis have released a new expansion to their superb 2010 strategy game Sid Meier's Civilization V. Titled Gods and Kings, it represents the first "full" expansion to the nearly two-year-old, turn-based giant. Though previous expansions have featured new cultures, scenarios, and gameplay tweaks, they haven't brought new game elements into the mix. Gods and Kings does so, and it rekindles that "just one more turn!" addictiveness that has become the hallmark of the Civilization series.
As its title suggests, the foremost new inclusion in Gods and Kings is religion as a cultural and political force. A new cumulative resource, faith, is now part of the game, riding alongside culture, gold, and happiness. Faith can be gathered initially by building shrines and temples, or by stumbling across a random quantity as a prize for searching through ancient ruins. Get enough, and you can start your own polytheistic pantheon, which provides you with a choice of many potential enhancements for your civilization. Some of these help you generate more faith (for example, by giving you some faith for each gold and silver mine you have), and some give other benefits (such as enhancing the amount of food each of your hunting camps generates), but all are helpful in one way or another.
Eventually, you garner enough faith to move from your basic pantheon to a full-on religion. At this point, a great prophet, whom you use to start your religion, spawns near your capital. From here, you choose the symbol and name of any of the dozen major world religions, or create your own, and then you decide what benefits you want from that religion. You need to be careful here, because your choices have a massive effect on how you guide your civilization toward victory, especially in the early to mid game, and you almost always want to synergize your religious benefits with the strengths of whichever civilization you're playing. For example, the French, who are both expansionistic and culture-focused, might want to choose religious benefits that fortify their culture and reduce their level of unhappiness (a by-product of large empires). Conversely, more warlike civilizations, like the Aztecs or Japanese, might want religious benefits that focus on quicker production of military units or more efficient logistics.
Of course, even if you don't ever get to found your own religion, you can still take on one that was founded by another player. And if you have founded a religion, it's in your interest to convert rival civilizations and city-states to your way of viewing things. This provides both you and them with benefits, but the advantage is yours, since you ultimately control the direction of the religion (which you can alter once during the course of a game). Furthermore, civilizations that follow the same religion tend to be friendlier and more willing to help one another (although this is far from a given), and conversely, those that follow different faiths tend to form coalitions against each other. It's an aspect that greatly enhances Civ V's gameplay.
Eventually, the influence of religion begins to dwindle (depending on which benefits you've chosen), and you derive most of your income and power from other sources. At this point, Gods and Kings' other major enhancement comes into play: espionage. While spying isn't as fundamental or as critical to success as religion, it is vastly more robust and important than it has ever been in a Civilization game. Spies aren't trained, but are instead awarded at particular intervals throughout gameplay and can be assigned to do everything from stealing technological secrets from rival factions to fomenting a coup d'etat in a city-state and installing a government that's loyal to you.
Spies' missions require a roll of the dice to succeed, but the more successful they are, the more they level up, and the more they level up, the more successful they are. On the other hand, it's also possible for spies to fail, even to the point of causing an international incident and starting a war. Indeed, if caught and interrogated, spies have the potential to reveal secrets about their owners' civilizations, so the espionage game can be risky. Late-game buildings and social policies can affect a civilization's susceptibility to being spied on, but most players will need to take advantage of spies at one point or another to catch up to their rivals.
Besides religion and espionage, Gods and Kings adds a bevy of new units, buildings, wonders, and civilizations to play. The newly added civilizations bump up the number of female world leaders, and include the semi-mythological Dido, queen of Carthage, and Theodora, empress of the Byzantine Empire. Also included are a bunch of new city-states, including two completely new types: religious ones that boost your faith when you ally with them, and scientific ones that boost your research. On the downside, Gods and Kings doesn't include any of the civilizations or scenarios from previous Civ V expansions, with the exception of the Spanish and the Mongols, the latter of which was free downloadable content anyway.
But that's just about the only thing you can say in the negative about Gods and Kings. Along with all the nifty additions to gameplay and content, AI has been noticeably improved across the board. It no longer puts artillery on the front lines, builds cities right in the middle of someone else's empire, or behaves as if it were schizophrenic in diplomatic negotiations. It's still not perfect, but it's a lot closer than it was before and remains a challenge much further into the late game now. And, depending on how long it has been since you last played Civ V, you'll also notice a slew of gameplay and rule tweaks that help close exploits and loopholes in the rules.
In the end, the best thing you can say about Gods and Kings is that it makes Civ V noticeably more fun--something that anyone who's already familiar with the game would likely say is an impressive achievement indeed.
Yes, great expansion, improves game a lot! Just the spy stuff does not make much sense; I just disable it when playing.. ;) Some f the MODS are great too. It looks like we might have a new, great-looking, turn-based space strategy game, if it gets developed... http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1447560584/more-oldschool-turn-based-4x-space-strategy-game
Jaded gamers will always complain about something. No matter how much effort goes into something, people will harp "the first version that came out in 1998 was so much better!" Let it go. There's only so much that could have been done to improve Civ IV, as it was darn near perfect. That said, while saying Civ V is "disappointing" is reasonably objective, saying it sucks is just plain silly, since there are no better turn-based strategy games around.
I don't get why some many people are bitching about this X-Pac... oh wait. GODS and Kings... now I get it.
oh man but i have already done well over 300 hours on this game and now you want to suck away even more of my life???........ok
As an expansion i call it a real mess. cost for units is reduced and it makes the world too crowded with them...you can t even move easily in your territory . The AI is really unfriendly i mean so much war declaration with no expection or even certain goal.
Uh-oh, I got my yearly Civ itch again! But I'm going to wait for a better computer for G&K, and never 5 vanilla again, BTS here I come back!
"Doesn't include content from previous expansions?"
Isn't this the game's first expansion? Do you mean the DLC? Why would they bundle that with the expansion, rather than just bundle it all together with some sort of "gold edition" or somesuch?
@vihazur it means that there are things in previous installment's expansions (Civ IV: BTS etc) hat are not included in this expansion. I think...
@vihazur *that are not
@LuciferAmadeus Few paragraphs into the review, he says,
"On the downside, Gods and Kings doesn't include any of the civilizations or scenarios from previous Civ V expansions, with the exception of the Spanish and the Mongols, the latter of which was free downloadable content anyway."
..just seems like an odd complaint to me. Since when do expansions include content from other expansions.. or DLC.
I hope Gods & Kings improves Civ V like Beyond the Sword improved Civ IV. BTS remains my alltime favorite expansion. But to be honest, the only thing better I thought Civ V did was bring back very huge maps again. Even the victory screens seemed dumbed down.
And pardon another language correction, but "schizophrenic" refers to seeing, hearing, sensing, and believing things that are not there. "Multiple personality disorder", "fugue states", or "disassociative disorder" are closer to being of separate minds about something, and "bi-polar" can refer to extreme emotional swings. Just saying. :)
@Joesocwork Funny, to me BTS was the WORST EVER, i uninstalled it and burn it, I hated the Flying sh$its that came in the later game to ruin the fun with unrealistic flying war units! I hope they never do that again. not a personal attack mate, just a thought on BTS
Considering Firaxis Games' overwhelming desire to make Civ games more casual-friendly, remaking "hardcore" Alpha Centauri for today's market would probably result in "Alpha Centauri Revolution" for Xbox 360. Probably with 3D and Kinect support too. So be careful what you wish for. ;)
@dlobo Well said. Alpha Centauri was a great game. That definitely needs a reboot.
Dear Sid, its about time you make another "Alpha Centaury". Bombing guys on horseback is fun and all, but how about some mindworms?
I might get this when they create a patch to fix the crash-causing problems I got from their last patch. Though I've been playing the Civ franchise since the early 90s and this is by far my least favorite, so maybe I won't bother.
The expansion is not balanced correctly. Happiness is now too easy and there are some uncaught bugs that just break the new units. Like the bonus power from Ethipoia Special Unit can actually go negative.
All sorts of AI Errors on Workers. There seems to be AI issues in MP games as well.
Good Mechanics, but needed more testing before release.
I've played the expansion a few hours. The additions and changes that are included are not enormous but they really change the choices I need to make in many situations. And making choices is basically what this game is about. So, in my book, the expansion is well worth it. Looking forward to many hours of playing :)
Something I didn't understand from the reviewer is the "Negative" of civilizations from previous expansions not included.
All my scenarios and civilizations from the Civ 5 expansions are in Gods & Kings! Anybody else notice the author's mistake? Maybe they didn't install them?
@Donya222 He's saying that if you didn't buy the DLC of Denmark, Polynesia, Babylon, Korea etc then you would not have them if you installed this. You would only have Spain and Mongolia extra. Hope that helps
Aha! Thanks, that makes sense. I was kind of half-worrying I am missing something. That does kind of dissapoint since one could almost expect this to include those! At any rate, this game is so fantastic I'd pay anything for all this extra content. Ha!
For those complaining about price, I personally break it down like this.
I paid $40 for Civ V, steam tells me I have played 304 hours. That's roughly 13 cents per hour. I think I can part with a couple bucks to improve the game (which, after 6 hours I can say is vastly superior to vanilla civ V).
Think of all the money you'll save by not leaving the house for 6 months!
Do you take the price into account in your review? Doesn't seem to be worth much more than 10$ seeing the few things they added. Also, some other reviewer claims the AI is as dumb as before: http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2012/06/18/gods-kings-adds-gods-and-spies-instead-of-fixing-civilization-v/ Who should I believe, here ? In the event that they truly made the AI challenging without it cheating with unfair bonuses, I'd be tempted to buy this...
@Kabals (can't reply directly for some reason)
My point is that neither does this expansion, at least not considerably. The religion mechanic may not be too primitive (I doubt anyone would call it advanced though), but it's not definitely a game changer worth spending $30 on.
29.99 euro on steam feels a quite much for an expansion with features which were obvious in previous civ games.
do i really want it that much?
Seriously, 9.0? Espionage is only a basic menu (no spy units at all). You can only get "spies" late in the game, and remarkably, only in singleplayer. The religion mechanic is rather primitive. It certainly doesn't offer anything revolutionary. The tactical AI got slightly better, but it's still quite dumb, with occasional moments of complete insanity now and then. Mods still can't be used in multiplayer. A dozen of new buildings, units, and civs may sound like a big deal, until you remember that player-created mods for Civ IV used to add hundreds of those and didn't cost a dime.
Personally, I'd give this extremely limited expansion no more than 7-7.5, but I obviously lack a critical eye of a "professional game reviewer" to be able to rate it as "Superb".
@Kreone Wow, no matter what the score is some people are going to complain. It's their opinion, not yours. Is that too hard to understand or something?
@Kreone You obviously have not played it if you feel that the religion mechanic is "primitive." You can choose numerous special attributes to help you when you found a religion, many that are immensely helpful. I usually find myself torn on what to pick.
The entire combat model was changed too, for the better (something this review didn't even touch on). Unit hit points were increased to 100 and battle results are much more in line with reality.
This expansion has literally changed how you play the game. I have played thousands of hours with vanilla Civ V and have spent a lot of time this past week with G&K, and I can say it is completely worth the cost. Player mods are very cool, don't get me wrong, but they do not change game-mechanics.
@morgan_gibson87 I don't know where you saw the $49.99 I got it for $20.00 on steam.
I was very excited to hear of the game, and I'm very happy to see that it's essentially made the already addictive Civ V even better!
$49.99 on Steam! What a joke... And for essentially basic elements from Civ 4 many of us expected in Civ 5!
@morgan_gibson87 Um...the expansion was $20 if you pre-ordered and $29.99 now...if you don't like it or don't want to play it, that's fine, but stop lying.
i still haven't played Civ 5. I'm so far behind all this years and lasts games, I wish i had 2x more time.
@Yams1980 Don't bother -- just get a copy of Civ IV and play that. The hex tiles are great and the graphics are pretty sweet, but Civ V is dumbed down to such an extreme that it makes Civ Revolutions look like Civ III. Not to mention that it seems to be very poorly optimized -- I've got a pretty decent gaming PC and the slowdown gets to be pretty bad pretty quickly.
- Player Reviews: 7
- Game Universe:
- Sid Meier's Civilization III (PC, MOBILE, MAC),
- Civilization: Call to Power (PC, MAC, UNIX),
- Civilization II (PC, PS, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (PS3, X360, WII, DS, IP),
- Sid Meier's Civilization IV (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization V (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization V: Game of the Year Edition (PC, MAC),
- Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword (PC, MAC)