Waste Time. Civilization 5.

I have successfully wasted hours of my life. I have taken over the world by force, through diplomacy and the power of culture. I have researched technology from the wheel to the atomic bomb. Civilization 5 has not disappointed. After about a month of mashing my brain with hexagonal warfare, the time has come for a break just long enough to deliver this message. Seriously though, if you are a fan of this series you should purchase this game.

The most obvious upgrade is the system of warfare. The battles feel more real and more strategically sound than they ever have. In other words, you line up your troops in a way that adds realism to the game rather than moving an abstract stack of units around a map. The turns move more fluidly as reminders will blink and chime when something is overlooked including units with moves remaining, research selection and building construction. This aspect of the game is nice as an user of the auto-turn setting could tell you.

The multiplayer is enjoyable and is a near carbon copy of the single player game. Most of the single player settings are available in multiplayer games but beware of creating a game on the huge or large map setting. If you have too many people trying to connect it will cause some lag. Too many people here is about 3 or 4. We experienced heavy delays on a large map as soon as we entered the classical era. The game would not freeze but, in between turns the campaign loading screen would appear as the game synced with each client.

Be sure to host the game on a quick computer that preferably has a wired connection. There are a lot of things going on in this game and each turn adds more. So, even though the system requirements are fairly lean, as an informed and experienced computer gamer, you should know to expect some slow turns, on an older system, as you near the industrial era in the game. Even a newer computer system appears to have lag once a large world is populated. I suppose long games on huge maps are not conducive to the online format of this game. Smaller maps and shorter games should dominate multiplayer especially for the majority of users that do not have cutting edge or even year old systems.

Next Year Soon

In my last sports update, I looked with hope to a Colorado Rockies pennant and with frustration towards Carmelo Anthony. Since then, the Rockies have faded out of existence for the year and Carmelo Anthony looks to be sticking around for a little while. I bought into the hyped up rumors of a trade involving a few teams. That hype still exists and no mater how many times he refutes those claims, the rumors gain steam. I still won’t be surprised if he leaves Denver this year.

As for the Rockies, their bats died and their closing pitching returned to early season form. There’s always another year, next year. With the San Francisco Giants still alive, battling the Philadelphia Phillies, the season is still far from over.

Basketball season is almost here. Very exciting.

Get Ready to Waste Hours

The ‘one more turn’ phenomenon known as the Civilization strategy series is about to be upgraded. Civ V will be coming out in a couple of weeks sporting a new UI and tons of improvements to the now classic Civilization IV.

By restructuring the UI , the designers were able to help the player focus on the game-play rather than being bombarded with notifications at the top of the screen. Now, the events will be tracked in a tidy display that one will read through. In other words, the game is much more open as nations won’t be bothering you with diplomacy while you are contemplating your construction. Ars Technica describes this tracking system well:

The tracked alerts make it much easier to do things in the order you think of them or want to do them, and if you forget anyone, the bubbles remind you. The change feels subtle, since it’s alerting you to all the same things that Civ has always been about, but it really becomes apparent how helpful it is as time passes and the game gets more complex.

The UI is much more pleasing to the eye and has been restructured to be smaller and less cumbersome. Financial stats are conveniently located inches away from each other. Keeping up with all the data that streams through the game is important but, it seems as though the real focus is on the beauty of the game design… and that’s a good thing because the graphics are much more modern and have a lighter feel to them than any previous versions.

Borders are demarcated much better as checkered lines and this helps with the introduction of a new concept to the series, city-states.

City-states award influence in a number of ways, including missions in their service. City-states are (or at least will act) sort of helpless, and will occasionally pop up in your bubble to-do list requesting that you aid them in some way, like eliminating an enemy city-state of theirs, or helping them defend against an attacking civ. You can also buy influence in city-states with cold hard cash, which improves their (continually declining) view of you.

These city-states will also provide bargaining chips on the diplomatic table which allows for a much more robust system of relations with your neighbors as well as distant civs attempting to edge in on your sphere of influence.

We’ll get a follow-up to this post in the week that the game is released. Until then enjoy Civilization IV and watch some of this website if you need help curbing your current addiction http://www.civanon.org/home.shtml

Source: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/reviews/2010/09/first-impressions-civilization-v.ars