Civilization 5

Civilization 5 Space Victory “screen”

Civilization 5 Review & Strategy Guide by Honorabili

This review is going to be brutal because I think they released an alpha of a game rather than a good product. First off, before you call me a hater know that I’ve been playing every version of Civilization starting at Civilization 1 on the Amiga since the early 90s. I’ve played that one, Colonization, Master of Magic, Master of Orion 1 to 3, Civilization 2 Gold Multiplayer, Civilization 2 Test of Time, Civilization Call To Power (ugh), Alpha Centauri, Age of Wonders 1-2, Civilization 3, and Civilization 4 and all its expansions. I bought the deluxe edition of Civilization 5 for $70 on Steam and boy did I feel ripped off at soon as I started seeing how dumbed down but more importantly BUGGY it is. Let’s begin the bug list, I mean review. I’m going to assume you know what Civilization games are, if not go play Civilization 4 and all its expansions which you can buy anywhere for 10-20 dollars (well worth it).

The first problem the game has is that you cannot skip the intro right away. I have literally hit every key on the keyboard and pressed the mouse 100 times and based on how fast the computer is, the faster it will let you skip it. If you play the game often you will get sick of seeing that movie. Here is the video I’m talking about:

It seems to me like the entire budget of the game went into just making that intro video. Why? When you beat the game you get no video or cutscene. Seriously. You see the stupid image of space victory or the other victories and then it gives you the option to go to the main menu. It’s one of the most unsatisfying endings to a game ever. It makes me want to quit the game and uninstall and go play Civilization 4 instead.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the AI is virtually retarded, even on Deity. If you are a typical player in all previous versions of the game and set it around the middle to above average difficulty, you will have a challenge ahead of you. In Civilization 5, the AI does dumb shit like move their archers at point blank range of your swordsmen or other similar units that instantly devour them. I’ve seen them try to take over a city with archers, which cannot melee assault a city, a requirement for conquering in this game. That’s one thing that they changed that I kind of like (a miracle), the concept that cities count as a fighting force in their defense and have an attack/defense rating and can shoot ranged (2 hexes away) at their enemies. Other missile units also can attack 2-4 hexes away (based on technology and unit level upgrades).

If you have beat this game as many times as I have, you will notice that the game gives the most points by basically military conquest of everything. Since the AI is SHIT then it’s like beating up a handicapped person. Okay, so since the AI is shit, let’s play against other people… Now you’re going to start to see the real problems this game has right now.

The first problem you will encounter in multiplayer (To me they never beta tested the game with anybody who ever played previous Civ games online) is that you CANNOT alt-tab without the game assuming you dropped your connection and it disconnecting you from other players. Yeah, you read it. In one of the most famous turn-based games that get played online of all time, you cannot alt-tab. You better have brought a book, have a hand held game, or have another computer by you.


Since that is a major problem the next thing that’s a serious problem is that you will have a hard time trying to load saved games for multiplayer. In the times we tried with my many friends to continue an ongoing multiplayer game we were never able to reconnect successfully from a loaded game. That’s bad enough but a major major flaw in the multiplayer saving is that you can’t, unless you do some windows explorer tricks. The game ONLY autosaves and you cannot manually save from the options menu, like you can in single player. That might not sound that bad but the game only allows 2 autosave sessions to be saved. Let’s see how that works (or doesn’t rather)… You play a game with your friend Player A and then he leaves. You then play a game with Player B and they leave. You then start a game with Player C and now the game for Player A just got deleted. Amazing, right? IN ORDER TO SAVE, you must hit CTRL-S and type a name. Then go to your My Documents area and locate the saved games for Civilization 5. The game you just saved will be outside of the area where it autosaves. The game has not windows explorer functions and it only lets you load stuff out of the multiplayer autosave folder. In order for your game to get recognized, it has to have the word “autosave” added anywhere in the saved game name. We’ve only really been able to complete games over the LAN (hmm maybe hamachi is an option but why should that have to be an option for a non-warez bought game?).

Apart from all that the game is a resource hog and it seems to have some memory leaks. When your computer runs out of RAM, it will either crash the game or if in multiplayer, it will auto reconnect every player where you will have to do your turn all over again.

Those are the major BUGS that make me ASHAMED to have bought this game for $70. The game makes the old game Imperialism 1 seem godlike and in fact copies a LOT from it. It’s more like it than Civilization.


Okay, apart from bugs this game has some changes from previous Civilization games, some which make this such a dumbed down game. Say goodbye to Spies (a major part of the game), Airports (no more airdropping troops halfway across to world), no religion (I love it from Civ 4), and no corporations (again kind of not that useful from Civ 4 but why take it out?). Government has been altered so now you research “Civics” based on culture generation. Borders have been changed so that you no longer can wake a culture war against your enemies. Once you “buy a tile” or assimilate it, it will forever belong to your country unless it gets taken over militarily.

Since the easy way to win is just to kill everything, again anything which boosts production or military effectiveness is the best to get.

A major change (pain in the ass) in this game is that they made all cities share happiness. The game I guess is racist because cities of your own empire give you a lot less unhappiness I guess because they belong to your race. Cities taken over from other empires, even if you completely wipe them out will generate up to double unhappiness forever (unless you build special wonders or pick a specific build for your Civics).

Another major change in the game is that now transport ships are GONE. This is a good thing because units now can “swim” across water by making their own little transports. This is kind of neat and makes the game go along faster. Thank god they added this since they removed airports (grr).

The first thing you will notice is that they added City-States which are NPC mini empires. They give you little quests which you can do to raise your standing with them. The benefits they give are godlike, like maritime giving you +2 to your capital(double the rate for the minor bonus since it’s based on technological age) and +1 to your non-capital cities, or military ones that give you units, or diplomatic ones that give you Culture points (for Civics research). There is the State of War, Neutral, Friends, and Allies. The more they like you, the more benefits they give you, such as free units from military or great people (with the right Civics). The strategy here is to get as many of them to like you as possible so you get bonus food etc all the time. The strategy is also to not take them over unless absolutely necessary or desperate.

Since they changed the way that stuff gets conquered, you basically have 4 options when you take a city. If a city is not a capital or a city-state, you can Raze A City. You might want to do this if it’s a city that gives no new luxury goods (what gives you +5 happiness per resource) and also think about all the unhappiness that having another city will cause. Long gone are the days of Civ 1-4 where you can have a million cities, each super self-sufficient. The next option and the best option is to create a Puppet State. You get half the unhappiness BUT you cannot control what the city is building. Most of the time this is not a problem as you should probably only build units out of your own main super-cities. The next option is to Annex A City, which means that you take on the full unhappiness of it and you control what it can do. I usually only do this if I have no place to put down more of my own cities and have around 10-15 happiness surplus. The final option is to Liberate The City. This is an option if it was a city-state that was taken over by somebody else or it’s a city of a dead empire. If you liberate them they will become your ally. City-state loyalty fades with time unless you do stuff for them or bribe them and dead empires I found are permanent allies (always get this because they can vote for you in a Diplomatic Victory).

Roads now take up one gold in maintenance per turn so make sure that the minimum number of hexes have a road on them, as well as railroads.

Strategy Guide:

Basically go all military, rush everybody. You can even take out computer cities with Warriors and Archers, right in the beginning. When a computer surrenders, always take it. Usually it means they just lost the game and they’re your bitch. You should move on to the next closest computer and do the same to them until all computers on your continent are dead. As soon as that happens rush research the ability to travel across the ocean to kill the next weakest computer there.

Your main focus should be production, try to research that first along with any units that will make taking cities faster.

Happiness is very important and I generally find you want to have a positive number. When you hit -10 or under unhappiness all your units will suffer a -33% penalty to combat, effectively crippling you in war. When you are even at -1 happiness your cities will only grow at 25% their rate. Production takes a huge hit and sometimes it’s better to raze a city than to keep them around if you’re this screwed in happiness. Generally buildings which raise happiness are godlike, even though expensive.

As far as research goes, it’s always better to make a city research than make wealth. Do so unless you need them money, if you’re into negative wealth and 0 gold.


I guess they’ll fix all these problems which should have never been there had they tested the game correctly or delayed its release. I’m sure that they will probably fix all this when the first expansion comes out which they will sell to us probably for $30-40! For now, STAY AWAY and if you need a fix go play Civilization 4 or give a game that bombed like Elemental: War of Magic a chance. It’s got its own problems but it’s much more entertaining and harder than Civilization 5 and that’s kind of sad. Since the game now has hexes and it’s just a war game to me, I’d rather go play something like Panzer General 2 that’s a really polished hex-based traditional turn-based war game. Civilization 5 might be eyecandy (compared to the other ones) but that doesn’t make a good game. It’s okay on its own but it has too many problems and stuff missing and it’s garbage compared to the previous games, in my opinion. Buyer beware!

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I've been gaming since the introduction of the Commodore 64. After that computer I moved onto Amiga and finally onto PC. As far as consoles go I mainly enjoy the older systems.

3 thoughts on “Civilization 5

  • all the griping about this game, seems to be due to players not able to adapt.
    I think it’s fun, and the combat is an improvement ei: no more death stack.
    most people complaining are those who lack any real strategy, and want to just blitz huge stacks.

  • The game is an unstable piece of shit. The saving is still broken. Playing over the internet is a laughing joke. Even Civilization 2 had better multiplayer.

    Stacks of death were never a problem to me if you knew what countered what, built an army for it, and knew how to counter artillery.

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