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Civilization 5

I’ve been Civ free for almost 20 hours now. Though likely after I right this I’ll go back and play some more. Civ 5 came out at 7am for me on Tuesday, I played it basically all day that day (which I had off of work), then all after work Wednesday, then all day Thursday (when I should have been working from home). Have to say, I like it a lot, it is definately an improvement on Civ 4 (the version of Civ 4 that existed when it was released) but it isn’t without flaws.

Couple things about Civ 5 that bug me:

  • Apparently unable to destroy or sell buildings, which means you can get screwed economically when a building you needed 1000 years ago no longer is worthwhile but you are stuck still paying for it. Even worse when you have Puppet’ed cities buildings tons of expensive to maintain but worthless buildings.
  • Diplomacy is vague and confusing. It is hard to tell if you are getting along well with another Civ or not. It may be all down to the actual words that show up in diplomatic conversations and that may be the only way to see if they kind of like me or really like me. It is clear when they dislike you though, HOSTILE shows up next to their name in the diplomacy overview and you start getting messages from them insulting you.
  • Maintenance costs are unclear. I know I am paying upkeep on my troops, but how much for each troop? How is it figured? What is the formula? Same thing with upkeep on tile improvements, I have a really hard time making sense of where all of those expenses coming from so I similarly have a hard time in reducing the expenses.
  • AI still needs work during battles. Seen too many times now when the computer marches to battle with their ranged units in the front which just get cut down in seconds because they are worthless at melee combat. Or the computer will throw one troop at me at a time instead of moving in a group of troops supporting each other with flanking bonuses. Albiet, I haven’t tried anything above King difficulty yet so maybe at the highest difficulties the AI finally gets it togethor, but it is embarassingly bad at the lower ones.
  • No clock in the UI. Seriously. Civ 4 had an option to show a clock and what time it is and that’s the only thing that kept me at times from staying up far far far far far too late playing. (I was already up far far too late, but the clock kept it from getting worse). There is a Mod that adds a clock to the UI (and I can always bring up the Steam overlay) but the mod disables earning of achievements and tracking of gameplay time in Steam and I don’t remember to check the overlay that often. I really hope that a clock gets added back in via a game patch soon.
  • Happiness can be counter-intuitive. I fight a 1000 year war, I loose cities to the AI, and my people get happier because suddenly I have fewer cities and less population. But I win the war, I take the enemies capital and my people get angry with me because I won and now have an additional city and more people within the empire. Very odd and not really what you’d expected.

But that’s it. Those really are my only complaints about Civ 5.

Otherwise, the game is great. The streamlined tech tree means that you don’t feel like there are ever worthless dead-end techs that you have to suffer through. The hex grid makes for a much better world map and along with the one unit per tile change makes for much more tactical combat (which is really rather fun). Resources are actually much more important now then they were in Civ 4, you actually want to fight over them and accumulate as many as you can.

All in all, I think Civ 5 is a great game. Just a great game that needs a bit more polish to smooth off some of its burrs. Some things are rather opaque which should be clear, and some things just work in oddly counter-intuitive ways.

You definately need to play it far differently than you played Civ 4 or you will literally run yourself into the ground and defeat yourself without the AI having to lift a finger against you.

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