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PC Game Review: ‘Sid Meier’s Civilization 5: Brave New World’

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For quite a while I resisted picking up a copy of Civilization 5 because various warnings from Civ loving friends. In one of the many sales on Steam, however, I finally got a copy and played it to figure out why there has been quite a bit of angst related to the title. I even grabbed a copy of the DLC Gods & Heroes to see if it made a difference. I confess to finding Civ 5 a clunky and not a very enjoyable experience. I understand why I was warned off it.

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Brave New World is the newest DLC and what an update it is. The additions to the original title are quite dramatic and I mean that in a good way. I found myself enjoying Civ 5 for the first time. It seems that Firaxis did their best to make sure the DLC lived up to its name.

It fixes most, if not all, of the major problems with the original game. It is no longer boring and there are lots of intriguing ways of winning. The most fun, and satisfying, is the big addition with BNW. Achieving a “Cultural Victory” is quite the pleasurable experience. It is most amusing when other civilizations are grumbling about your “jeans and music” ruining their culture..And let’s face it Civ 5 was never exactly a game that handles combat that well, so other possibilities for victory are a welcome addition..

Ideologies are quite the interesting twist to the game as well. Each of the three granting bonuses that will help various playstyles. Freedom, Order, and Autocracy are the trio, one might hope they expand this list in later updates. Chosen wisely it can make a difference to your game.

“New World Order” paranoids will not enjoy the fact there is a World Congress (ie the UN) in the game which allows other countries to use their delegates to dictate change on all civilizations. Though dominating it with your delegates (and allies) does have it merits. Another welcome improvement are far better trade routes both domestic and international. Trade is a great source of wealth and influence on the rest of the world. It seems to work well. This is especially the case for ocean based civilizations.

There are new civilizations and a couple of interesting scenarios including, oddly for this sort of game, The American Civil War. Of course there are new units and wonders to add the attraction of this DLC..

Overall, there are a few gripes to mention. One is that you can’t get units to “patrol” either the seas or your territory. And the fact you can’t give orders to multiple units at once can be a bit tedious in the late game or in some of the more militaristic scenarios. And, I pressed “a few more turns” after doing a cultural victory and the game ended up hard-crashing on me after a few dozen turns.

Brave New World makes Civ 5 the game that you always wanted it to be in the first place. It might even stop Civ fans from claiming Civ 4 is better than the current iteration.

Civilization V: Brave New World is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Drug Reference, Mild Language, Mild Violence.

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About Marty Dodge