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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

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