Civilization V: Brave New World Review

Have you ever noticed that few people review Civilization games and expansions just as they drop? That’s because it’s impossible.

And that’s a good thing… there’s just too much awesome in one package!

With the Brave New World expansion, the epic Sid Meier game series steps just one foot closer to perfection. Civilization V has been out on PCs for four years, and is the only game in my library that rivals World of Warcraft for amount of time invested.

For the uninitiated, it is a turn based strategy game, wherein you play as one of the great leaders of Earth’s history, nurturing an empire from the stone age to the future. When the game first appeared, you pretty much just chose a civilization and then aggressively pummeled your enemies into the dirt. Since then, they’ve introduced new victory conditions that are as active and engaging as total military domination.

If you had asked me if that were possible before Brave New World came out, I would have been skeptical. After all, Gods & Kings (the previous expansion) attempted to do just that by introducing religion and spycraft. It fell flat though, and though the game has an interesting pace of its own, there were long periods of “just sit here and wait for something to finish building” that Brave New World finally squashes.

I should point out, however, that those periods were always self inflicted. Once you really get into the nuts and bolts of this game, you can have exceptional control over how your civilization develops. You can choose to focus on production (build time) or expansion (population growth) or even focus on creating Great People who accelerate your scientific expansion, or create works of art, writing and music, the bolster your empire’s glory.

Heck, that last one is one of my new favorite ways to win, the “Cultural Victory” where you don’t even bother with invading another empire’s borders, because your rock music and blue jeans have already captured the hearts and minds of their citizenry.

You can now choose to have your spies be Diplomats, instead, which furthers your influence over your opponents’ people. More than once I’ve caused revolutions in other empires because of the popularity of my preferred ideology (Freedom, Autocracy, or Order).

Will you rule the world with an iron fist? Bring every nation under your religion? Blast off into space and leave the pitiable world behind to deal with the nuclear devastation you’ve wrought? The possibilities are endless, and Brave New World delivers.

If you play Civ, or any Steam game, add me (giantsnowpanda). I’m always looking for someone to play with (or against!).

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