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Civilization V Gods & Kings Review - -
Civilization V Gods & Kings
Reviewed by
Josh Wright
Civilization V Gods & Kings PC Review. Hopefully then next Civ expansion will put the life back into the game, and make Civ 5 feel more like an experience, and less like ticking boxes and fiddling dials.

Gameplay 6.0
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.0
Value 4.0
Review Date: June 2012
2K Games
Josh Wright


Civilization V
Gods & Kings Expansion Pack

There are some basic rules when it comes to making a gameís sequel. It has to have everything the previous game had, plus more, with prettier graphics, richer gameplay, and fresh ideas. That is why when Firaxis released Civilization 5, fans realised they had screwed up. The gameís graphics were indeed prettier, gameplay mechanics were improved, but something was definitely missing. They had taken OUT one of the key elements that made Civ 4 so immersive and fun Ė religion. Indeed, gone was the (historically accurate) joy of your Civ jamming your ideology of choice down the throat of every other nation. Whether the company was too timid, too rushed, or plain too lazy to return religion to Civ 5, it was too bad for them; the genie was out of the bottle and Civ fans have been letting them know ever since. Put the Lord back in the game!

Thus from the heavens now appears the expansion pack - Civilization 5: Gods & Kings has been passed down to us. Sid Meier has heeded the Word. But is it Good?

Being asked to pay $50 for an Ďexpansioní that frankly should have been part of the core game is a bit much, but Firaxis is confident fans will not be able to resist, and theyíre right. Religion is here, but this time itís treated not as a tech your develop once and then spread around to get a few extra smiling faces, but as an ever-growing resource which can be used to buy all sorts of things. Cathedrals, temples, foreign influence, even Great People to bring wealth and fame to your chosen civ. You can send missionaries out to spread the Good News or inquisitors to purge the non-believers and make your rise to dominance easier. Each religion is treated the same; Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, even Zoroastrianism is here, as well as a custom religion option you can fashion to your own devout eccentricities (scientologists rejoice!). Itís on you to choose which tweaks will be part of your Civís beliefs Ė will you select fertility rites to give you extra growth, or maybe idol worship to give you extra gold production? There are near two dozen modifiers like this to spice things up. Allah be praised!

The other addition is espionage. This was originally part of Civ 4ís Beyond the Sword expansion pack, but has slowly melded itself into the previous gameís re-releases that folks now assume it was a core element of that game. Here it has been given a facelift, and is actually more useful than in the previous imagining. Once researched, players can send out spies to, well, spy. All the fun stuff is here Ė instigate coups, sabotage buildings, steal technology, and most useful of all, report on the scheming of your enemies. Now a well-placed spy can give you an early heads-up before Genghis Khan does his traditional mid-game backstab and storms your beaches.

Along with these two major tweaks, Firaxis has tossed in a few more goodies Ė a handful extra civs (the Celts, the Byzantines, and the Vikings to name three) a few extra technologies, a few extra wonders and a few extra buildings and units. There are three new scenarios, and even a new intro movie to watch once, and then click past forever more. Curiously, and once again, the company has resisted creating the scenario fans have been screaming for since Civ 1 - World War II - likely because the idea of kids happily playing Hitler scares the Dickens out of olí Sid. Oh well, Neo-Nazis lose out again.

So should you part with $50 for this little addition? Frankly, no. Wait for discounting, because itís currently much too overpriced for whatís on offer. Neither the religion or espionage change the game that much, and Civ 5 is still suffering from the same malaise it did before Gods & Kings hit. The main GUI may be more pleasant, but no longer does one feel like a civilization advancing through history as in Civ 4. Now itís all about modifiers, tweaks, and stats, the colourful cut-scenes and sense of growth is gone, and it feels more like a board game than ever. Hopefully then next Civ expansion will put the life back into the game, and make Civ 5 feel more like an experience, and less like ticking boxes and fiddling dials.

5 out of 10. Functional for what it offers, but nothing more. 


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