Sid Meier's Civilization V Review
Sid Meier's Civilization V box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Firaxis Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: 2K Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 21, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 (2+ Online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Graphically, the game is quite beautiful, though it’s best played on newer systems (look at the required specs, and seriously contemplate the recommended specs, before buying). So we could experience the visuals to the fullest, including DirectX 11 and 3-D, NVIDIA generously provided us a souped-up Digital Storm rig equipped with its GeForce GTS 450 video card and 3D Vision glasses.

Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot

A major selling point of DirectX 11 is its ability to process “tessellation.” As you can see by looking at before-and-after pictures online, older versions of DirectX had trouble rendering smooth, round objects, and the new technology solves the problem. It’s a subtle difference when you’re focused on playing the game, to be sure, but Civ 5, with its beautiful landscapes and detailed imagery (especially when you zoom in), definitely provides a glimpse into the future of PC graphics.

We weren’t quite as impressed with the 3-D (which you activate with NVIDIA’s software, not in the game itself). Sure, it looks good, “better than in the theater” a friend of ours said when we had her take a look. But Civilization is played on a basically flat surface, seen from above, so when you’re not zoomed in, all the effect really does is make the various images “pop” a little more. Also, as we’ve already mentioned, Civ V practically forces you to play for hours at a time, so the 3-D becomes fatiguing long before you’re ready to shut the machine off. Further, the glasses run on a rechargeable battery for some reason, and they flicker if you don’t have the settings tweaked correctly. We suspect they would be a bigger improvement on a game you play in short bursts and that has lots of action (we can confirm from a NVIDIA demonstration CD that Burnout Paradise looks truly awesome in three dimensions).

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But back to the game. The bottom line is this: Civilization V keeps everything that makes the series great, makes the game more accessible to non-fans, and overhauls many of the finer gameplay details. Every PC gamer owes it to himself to give this game a shot.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.8
Graphics
This is a great-looking game, and it takes advantages of DirectX 11 if you have it.
4.7
Control
It’s all played with a mouse plus keyboard shortcuts, and the improved menu system dramatically simplifies things.
4.6
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound keeps to the background with calm music and some light sound effects.
4.7
Play Value
Like every Civ title, this game has replay value galore, and every minute just deepens your addiction.
4.7
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Jump right in and play at your own pace with an intuitive interface that eases new players into the game. Civ veterans will appreciate the depth, detail, and control that are highlights of the series.
  • Ultra realistic graphics showcase lush landscapes for you to explore, battle over, and claim as your own. Art-deco influences abound in the menus and icons in the most well-designed Civ ever developed.
  • Compete with Civ players all over the world or locally in LAN matches, mod the game in unprecedented ways, and install mods directly from an in-game community hub without ever leaving the game. Civilization V brings community to the forefront.
  • Civilization V operates on many different systems, from high-end DX11 desktops to many laptops. Enjoy unlimited installations on multiple PCs with your Steam account and take your Civ V experience with you everywhere you go.
  • A new hex-based gameplay grid opens up exciting new combat and build strategies. City-states become a new resource in your diplomatic battleground. An improved diplomacy system allows you to negotiate with fully interactive leaders. Custom music scores and orchestral recordings give Civ V the level of polish and quality you expect from the series.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge Sid Meier's Civilization V screenshot - click to enlarge

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