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[note: It has been brought to my attention that their were factual errors in this post. Those errors have been corrected. Thank you and enjoy the E3 coverage!]

I haven’t been apart of the Civilization franchise for a long time, but Civilization IV pissed off my bladder when it haphazardly drained ten hours of my day. It’s a game that offers so much to players that building a world is possible, but like Rome, nothing can be built in a day. Because of this, newcomers may find it difficult to find the willpower and time to establish themselves as dictators or cultural icons.

But, no fear, Civilization V is here!  It offers one less roman numeral column and a bunch of tweaks to the beloved Civilization gameplay that will excite/anger veterans; and hopefully, bring in new world leaders to battle over territory and technology.

Hold on ladies and gents – there is a lot of content here.

As the demo began, I wondered what to expect, thinking that Civilization IV’s mechanics were good enough, and making a fifth installment seemed like it would be overkill. However, once they unveiled the map, my skepticism was abolished. It was vibrant, detailed, and the fog of war was made of clouds instead of the standard ominous black veil.

On top of this, the land mass looks a lot more functional. Civ IV’s square tile system gave the game an obvious board game-like feel, but Civ V’s transition to the hexagon tileset (go Heroes of Might and Magic!) gives Firaxis, and map makers, the ability to create more realistic relationships between land and sea. Players will be able to navigate the lands easier and will allow them to focus on positioning troops and cultivating their lands.

Troop positioning has taken a radical turn in the game as well. The demo confirmed that players won’t be able to stack troops, but their position and terrain will provide bonuses (like previous Civ titles). The demo showed a single infantry unit battle three opposing units before being eradicated. This ups the ante on developing defensive and offensive strategies, especially with the hexagonal tileset.

Another feature on display was the social policy feature. This feature allows players to spend culture points on different policies to provide benefits to their nation. Religion has been moved into this category to provide a more “direct benefit.” It wasn’t on display during the demo. After players master a number of the six social policy trees available they can build the utopian wonder, and win a cultural victory.

The demo moved on to finally reveal the tech tree in all of its glory. I wasn’t able to quickly jot down everything, but the tree is still massive.Players can still select a technology they want to focus on by clicking on it, and their nation will focus on researching the prerequisites necessary to learn the tech.

It offers players the capability to specialize without all of the micromanagement. If you are a person that enjoys punishing yourself, this isn’t a requirement. Players can still choose to research techs at their leisure if they wish to do so.

Cities now have the capability to fight back against opponents without troops stationed in them, and their HP must be reduced before infantry and take them over. After doing so, players have the choice to Annex the city (and increase unhappiness), create a puppet (a city that operates as an NPC with a focus, and less happiness), or burn it to the ground.

City states are also available throughout each map as well. These NPC controlled mini-nations aren’t trying to win the game, but they provide extra resources and allies for players willing to treat them kindly.

They also showed the city specialization option, another feature returning from past series. Instead of manually selecting citizen and resources focuses, players can command cities to provide extra food, culture, or technology with the click of a button.

However, like the technology focus mentioned above, players aren’t forced to use this option. Also, alerts that occur when workers, research, and buildings are finished have been moved to the right side of the screen and they float down and are much bigger than before. Also, clicking on them will assist the player in queing up the next building, technology, or other asset.

The demo ended with a wonderful nuclear explosion. To be honest, it was an extremely successful show. The game is looking great and the available options for newer players will make draining your day much easier. All of the new tweaks are shaping up to make a fantastic game.

It’s impressive that a game as complicated as Civilization has taken on the terrifying buzz word “accessibility,” and they have applied it well. It’s a game that lends itself to having a myriad of options, so it seems only natural to have set-ups available to ease in new gamers, but that doesn’t come at the cost of complexity.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Firaxis and the modding community have in store for such a promising game. If today’s demo at E3 is any indication, I have a supply of spaghettios and diet soda waiting in my closet to feed my newborn nations.

  1. I cannot wait for this game. Honestly, it’s one of my most anticipated.

  2. avatar Francesco

    ” Firaxis had a little surprise up its sleeve. Players can select a technology they want to focus on by clicking on it, and their nation will focus on researching the prerequisites necessary to learn the tech”

    You start the article saying you played Civ4 ten hours a day… you should know that you could do such a “cool” thing in Civ4 then…. maybe the only Civ you played was Revolutions for consoles?

  3. avatar Chase cook

    @Francesco

    I wan not aware Civ 4 would let you select a tech and then automatically research everything you needed for you. To my knowledge, you cannot do that.

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  4. avatar Francesco

    You can do that. Try it and see.

  5. avatar Jan M

    Francesco is right, but you have to go to the technology screen to do that.

    • avatar Kaanh

      atbee on October 14, 2010 Its a good wind truibne design and i have many like it myself. I think it is basically a cowled wind truibne but you should still go ahead and get it made and sell it, IMO

  6. avatar Adam

    Francesco is correct. You can do that in Civ 4.

    • avatar Anon

      Who cares… That guy never said you couldn’t

    • avatar Giovanna

      Mike Grem yep, that’s the auctal planned Mycology tree, give or take. At the moment only a couple of those are implemented, though, so I guess time will tell what I can manage to deliver.

    • avatar Ione

      I’m gonna get Tiny Tim to? do his der thing I can’t spell baesuce I’m retarded and for a long time I could spell schizophrenia but not poison.

  7. avatar G Khan

    Weren’t you even able to do that in Civ III?

  8. avatar Paolo

    @Chase: Francesco is right, you can do that. Just click on the target tech and that’s it. It’s called beelining…

  9. avatar JBrown

    Yes you can. I do it sometimes, but it is over rated. The fool who wrote this article obvously did not play Civ IV much. I am about to recieve my MA in English, maybe gamerlimit should contact me for a writing/editorial position.

  10. avatar Hagger

    Yes, you could certainly do that in civ 3, although not between eras.

    Reducing the interface is good, which I believe is what he was trying to say. To be honest though, civ 5 is looking like a completely changed game, in good ways. I will probably still play civ 4 though, it’s an incredibly deep game.

  11. Woah ease up on the tech tree thing guys. Sometimes it’s easy to miss stuff like that. I can think of at least one game where I only discovered a feature after I beat the game.

    The important thing to take away from the article is that Civ 5 looks good!

  12. avatar Ken

    “Civ IV’s square tile system gave the game an obvious board game-like feel, but Civ V’s transition to the hexagon tileset (go Heroes of Might and Magic!)”. I take it you’ve never heard of Avalon Hill, or SPI, or ever actually played a board game centered on warfare.

  13. I liked that Chase had an outside perspective on the series – even though we play a game in great excess, we don’t always know all of the ins and outs of the series.

    For instance, I beat Ninja Gaiden Black five times (including Very Hard), and it wasn’t until the fourth playthrough that I realized I could farm the fish with the Vigorrian Flail.

  14. avatar PaulINNYC

    You should know that you can turn off the tiles in CIV IV. The graphics in that game are just fine imho, though the pathfinding is certainly terrible and wonky. For every up there is down with complex games. I enjoy CIV IV but it sounds that CIV V may be dumbed down a bit (having had much of the complexity streamlined or removed). This approach was done with Masters of Orion 3 and I found it very annoying and disliked the UI for that reason. I hope this is not the case here because CIV is a franchise I have supported since I first got a pc and I would like to continue doing so with pleasure.

    @The critic with an MA in the works. Your criticism seems calculated to incur flames. It is not obvious to me that the “fool” you refer to was unknowledgable of CIV IV just because he didn’t completely understand it. Some players do not absorb all there is to get about complex games such as the CIV series. In fact if the new version has been dumbed down it might be that he is the target for such because not everyone likes micromanagement and worrying about the details. Well that’s my 2.5cents.

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  15. avatar Chase cook

    Thank you for the comments guys. I will notate my mistake. The demo host mentioned it was a new feature.

  16. avatar Josh

    The city specialization buttons are also in Civ IV maybe not with all those features. (i.e. Tech) But they are sure enough in there.

  17. avatar Chase Cook

    @Josh

    The city specializations are not as advanced as Civ 5′s. The quick shot in the demo showed a multitude of ways to focus the city without doing the work yourself: food, production, tech, gold, and others.

  18. avatar BG

    I’d certainly be interested to see any changes made to the automation system. FYI, in Civ IV you could have a city focus their production, specialists, and working population on: Food, production, commerce, science, or culture.

  19. avatar ED

    it sucks that you can’t stack units

  20. avatar JO Cool

    Man you guys are HARSH – to be honest that’s what makes games like this a little intimidating… its great to have a passionate community but when people (i.e. newbs) like myself want to start getting involved they feel don’t feel compelled to really invest.

    Seriously, who just read that sentence and thought, “Well good, because people like you are what is causing the game to be dumbed down and no longer be true to the Sid Meiers Civ series!”

  21. avatar Solcry

    Eh, the way I see it is that it isn’t being dumbed down at all – rather, the complexity is being shifted to a different focus. You’re going to have to learn different military tactics – in Civ IV, all you did was mass units and have a Stack of Doom wander around. I like the idea of the units firing at range and terrain having a larger effect.

    @Chase Cook – you could could specialize cities in Civ IV too actually – though it probably doesn’t look as good as it does in Civ V. I’m pretty hyped about all the UI changes, and the one unit per square is pretty nifty too.

  22. avatar Ryan_Yo

    Mad Complex

  23. avatar heroray

    Civ 4 Sucked , I still Love civ 3. Here is hopeing civ 5 will renew my interest.

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