Gods & Kings & Onwards
So I took advantage of Steam’s special offer on Gods & Kings and all the little content packs and whatnots for CIV V – I haven’t played CIV in a while since the game has a tendency to draw you in and then hit you with a massive wall of fatigue (In my case it happened when I was basically playing the same game again and again trying to beat level 5).
Now there’s a second expansion coming – I’m looking forward to it – and I decided to get back into the swing of things by playing Gods & Kings for a while. I like to start with things I like:
- Improved AI. Did I say that? While the AI still acts like a tantrum prone preschooler it’s a tantrum prone preschooler whose alien version of logic I can learn to understand. It makes esnes (yes – sense backwards). Instead of diplomacy being like drawing a random event card each turn it’s now something that I feel I can use (was this something I like or something I just dislike less?)
- Religion. I love being able to customise my style this way. Religion feels like 5 important choices you make throughout the game. There is a slight tendency to go for the same advantageous set up every time but you can really benefit from taking stock of your situation and choosing accordingly.
- Advantages and special units. Most of the civ’s are now have an interesting and defining twist to them. I usually end up playing Montezuma, Caesar or Ghandi.
- Better balance. Resources, managing the mood of your civ and unit upkeep… plus a lot of other things has been tweaked to make the game more playable as a whole.
- Making naval units has become more advantageous. I like the idea of the Privateers but the concept needs a bit more work – attacking cities for gold is just not lucrative enough compared to the risk of losing the ship and having to find a place to repair it afterwards.
Then there are things I do not like so much:
- Spying. Not a system you can feel clever using at all. When it comes down to it you are better off just letting your spy sit tight and attempt to intercept your enemy. Extremely boring to say the least.
- Playing with a computer ally. I had to abandon an otherwise very good game because my computer team mate kept making peace with my enemy in the middle of a war. You have no say in this. It will just be announced that your carefully planned campaign is at an end. Your opponent gets 10 more turns to build his army back up and then it can start all over again. Extremely frustrating.
- Playing as a team. I don’t get the whole thing where you have common research but can’t benefit from your teams wonders. You can not automate workers since they start taking liberties with your allies territory. Playing in any kind of team just feels awkward.
- Spreading religion. The system is pretty unintuitive. The units to affect religion is not worth the cost and you do not have the option of really keeping foreign influence out of your cities.
I am really enjoying this incarnation of CIV and when the game gets another tweak in the upcoming expansion I’m sure even more of the little problems will be ironed out. For me that is the best thing about the expansion: the feeling that the game has improved – that someone wants to make it better as well as providing more content.