Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top Five: Best Things About Civilization V

  • Ah, Civilization V. I haven't enjoyed any of the previously games as much as I have this version. There is just so much great stuff to enjoy. So here's my Top Five list of my favorite things in the game. Like all of my Top Five posts, this is not objective. It's just meant to highlight things that I enjoy about the game.

  • The Advisors - Civ V comes with a two hundred thirty-two page manual. You don't really need it. If you've ever played a Civ game before, the advisors in the game will give you enough information to walk you through your first moments of the game. (This is not to say you should forget the manual entirely. Once you're familiar with the game, its a great way to dig into the rules.)

    At this point, I'm comfortable enough that I'm ready to turn off the tutorial popups. But the advisors do so much more. You can consult your advisors at any point, scrolling through their advice on various aspects of your empire. It's an excellent way to make sense of what you should be doing in the game if you're not sure. When then the Military Advisor tells you that your army is too small, you should believe him. Trust me.

    But even if you ignore all of that, the best thing the advisors do is point out what would be your optimum choices for construction and technology. I may end up going my own way, but I'll always look at what the advisors suggest before making my decision. It's a subtle, but effective way to nudge an unsure player in the right direction.

  • Tactical Combat - The combat in Civ V is everything that I hoped it would be. You can't just smash huge stacks of units against one another and hope that you roll better than they do. Now you have to pay attention to what type of units you're fighting, positioning your army well, and take advantage of opportunities to press the attack and recover. And most of all, it rewards you for playing patiently. More than once I've charged ahead only to find a unit cut off and destroyed. I have so much fun fighting that I'm always tempted to try for a domination victory.

  • City-States and Resources - I know that resources were in the earlier game, but they have been a revelation in this one. Between having to scramble for resources and deciding whether to support or destroy various city-states, the game is much more than straight-up conquer-the-world simulator. If anything, they have gone a long way toward emphasising political consideration in the game.

  • The User Interface - I adore the interface for this game. It can be very easy to be overwhelmed in other games, but Civ V hits the mark for me perfectly. Just looking at the screen gives you a broad overview of your empire. But just underneath everything, you can find heaps of information if you need. I spend a crazy amount of time reviewing the tooltips to see exactly how my happiness and other resources are being gained and spent.

    Of all things, I'm especially impressed with how the Next Turn button is used. In other games, that button is minimized so that you don't accidently hit it when you shouldn't. In Civ V, they not only make it huge, but they use it to remind you of what you need to before continuing. Between that and all the alerts that scroll down the right side of the screen, I know everything that I should be aware of during my turn.

  • Natural Wonders - Were these in earlier games? I don't know but I love them. Civ has always focused on the wonders of human endevour. Adding wonders from the natural world has made exploration that much more rewarding. I hold that a future expansion adds a few options because I think this is one of the neatest little features in the game.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Yeah, I barely glanced at the manual, I found the Advisors were enough. Loved how they recommend what to research and construct, etc. If I had paid more attention, my people wouldn't have come so close to starving near the end :P

    Also, the next turn thing is a life saver; honestly, I don't know how I would have kept track of all my pesky workers otherwise.

  2. Wish I had the time to get into something else. By all accounts Civ V is great. The ginormous game manual sounds very oldschool, I can remember when most PC games came with those.