|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 its 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.
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. Its a subtle difference when youre 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 werent quite as impressed with the 3-D (which you activate with NVIDIAs 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 youre not zoomed in, all the effect really does is make the various images pop a little more. Also, as weve already mentioned, Civ V practically forces you to play for hours at a time, so the 3-D becomes fatiguing long before youre ready to shut the machine off. Further, the glasses run on a rechargeable battery for some reason, and they flicker if you dont 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).
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.
CCC Freelance Writer