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An Early Look At Civilization V 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-and-shiny dept.
c0mpliant writes "IGN and Gamespot have each released a preview of the recently announced and eagerly awaited Civilization V. Apart from the obvious new hexagon shape of tiles and improved graphics, the articles go on to outline some of the major changes in the game, such as updated AI, new 'flavors' to world leaders, and a potentially game-changing, one-unit-per-tile system. No more will the stack of doom come to your city's doorsteps. Some features which will not be returning are religion and espionage. The removal of these two have sparked a frenzy of discussion on fan-related forums."
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An Early Look At Civilization V

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  • Stack o' Doom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Psychotic_Wrath (693928) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:13AM (#31436106)
    They thought they fixed this with the collateral damage caused by seige weapons. They talk about it on the civ forum. The airstrikes do a pretty good job of weakening the Stack O' Doom
  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:25AM (#31436156)
    The pieces can represent anything (battalions or regiments, for instance), so it makes perfect sense.

    I think you have fallen into the "OMG IT DRAWS A SINGLE WARRIOR, IT MUST BE A SINGLE MAN!" trap.
  • by Shihar (153932) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:44AM (#31436220)

    Eh, I think from that short little preview I am indifferent. I could see how it could be good, but frankly, nothing in that preview really hit on the 'heart' of Civilization.

    Who ever played civilization craving more tactical combat? Who cares if the diplomacy screen has the guys walking around instead of just portrait?

    The stuff that makes Civilization games either great or suck is in how it deals with culture, expansion, technology, city management, improvements, government types, etc. Frankly, I don't think Civ4 was much of a jump forwards in terms of Civ games. They added some neat futures, but they also managed to dumb down a lot of interesting things from earlier Civs. The civics from Civ4 were especially vapid and uninteresting.

    For my money, I personally think that the best "Civ" game ever made was, by leaps and bounds, Alpha Centauri. That game had interesting world events, awesome civics, and each nation had a real sense of personality. I personally hope that they go down that road for Civ5 and give the game more personality, rather than strip it down further like they did with Civ4. Granted, it is really still far too early to make any judgments on the game, I am just not terribly hopeful.

  • Both Good and Bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:45AM (#31436222)
    I'm excited about the removal of "stacks of doom" for the increase in strategy with battles, but I'm rather disappointed in their PC move of removing religion. Religion has been a huge driving force, if not the greatest motivator, of the last several thousands of years. To remove it and just leave "culture" is a rather silly cop-out to the overly sensitive fools out there.
  • Re:Stack o' Doom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:54AM (#31436254)
    ..the only problem is, the civ4 stacks of doom arrive thousands of years before aircraft are invented.

    It isnt until airships that the stacks of doom start their decline in importance, because prior to that it only takes a few forward units to shield the stack.

    The hardest early counter mechanic to stacks of doom would be unit upkeep cost (stacks are expensive), but thanks to the specialist mechanics, early warmongers simply chop out libraries, temples, and markets and run a specialist economy for research and money. Money isnt a problem when you can set your research slider at 0% and still keep up on techs.
  • Re:New AI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai l . com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:05AM (#31436302)

    Are you joking? I you aren't, he's talking about AIs getting better gaming conditions (things are less expensive, etc) on the difficulty levels above Noble. The player gets similar bonuses on levels below Noble. Backstabbing in diplomacy is available at all difficulty levels.

  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai l . com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:25AM (#31436378)

    Ridiculous. Sure, Civ4 could work fine with a Civ1 style graphics scheme. Though why stop there, just do it in ASCII, nethack/dwarf fortress style! That said, it would be nice to be able to switch over to a simple graphics mode to run it on a netbook that lacks a decent GPU. Anyway, from a gameplay perspective the game benefits from 3D, if you really want to call it that -- Civ4 is pretty 2D about it's 3D overhead view. Being able to zoom in to an individual unit isn't particularly useful (so why would you do that?!), but smoothly zooming out to see your whole empire is great. It certainly doesn't take anything away from the game, and I don't see why the 3D view would be to blame for any dumbing down, either.

    Similar things are true for SupCom, though I haven't played it anywhere near as much as Civ1/2/3/4; SupCom was widely acclaimed particularly because of the way it handles zooming in and out, which incidently is just about all you're going to do in terms of "twiddling" with the camera, it's not like you're going to pose units for pretty screenshots in the middle of a normal battle.

  • Re:New AI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ailure (853833) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:26AM (#31436384) Homepage

    What I would like to see is probably the game being more clear with what each difficulty actually means. Probably would be over the head of most people, but at least marking how much advantage you get vs computer. Other than knowing that me and the AI is on equal footing at noble difficulty... it's not really as clear it could be in Civ IV. :)

  • Wesnoth clone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:28AM (#31436392) Homepage
    Hexes, one unit per tile, ranged attacks, tactical combat, no need to garrison a city... Wow, civ5 will be an overpriced giant 3D Battle of Wesnoth clone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:31AM (#31436400)

    religious people in the far flung future, seriously?

    Yeah, it's not like they ever put religion in sci-fi, young padawan.

    Don't tell me atheists are offended by the very idea that religion may not die out in the next few hundred years? If so, I'm glad sci-fi can still challenge you with unorthodox ideas :)

  • Swell... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:42AM (#31436430)

    Just yesterday my wife said to me, "I can't believe you're still not bored of Civ3 after all these years." She knew I was at risk of staying up until 2 a.m. again playing it.

    This will not be good for me.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:43AM (#31436436) Homepage Journal

    My bet is the first mod adds it back in.

    Anybody who'd want religion would first have to hire a programmer to make the mod.

  • by Ailure (853833) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:50AM (#31436460) Homepage

    I personally find the best Civilization to be Civ IV. In hindsight, Civ III is probably the most "disapointing" version, but I still think it's better than the previous one. Nowadays if I feel like doing old-school civilization I just play FreeCiv with it's default ruleset. Similar enough to Civ 2, but way more balanced (especially for multiplayer),

    I love Alpha Centauri too, but it suffers from a few gameplay problems. Such as that the game is usually decided relativly early on in the tech tree (compared to other Civ games), yet there is a long road to the end... which is annoying. Plus I got a strong feeling it was suffering from feature overload, which explains some of the balance problems.

    The social engineering system was slightly more interesting than the Civics one in some aspects, but on the other hand the Civics system made more sense as a replacement for the old "goverment" system of Civ I-III. I found out that as I got better, the civics was more balanced than I first thought.

  • No city defection (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:16AM (#31436602) Journal

    I'm kinda bummed they got rid of city defection, because "my flavor" was that of cultural conquest.

    No stack of doom: I am ambivalent on this one. Frankly, I never understood the huge uproar against the stack. If a player has the industrial muscle to build one, what whine is that of yours? Build your own stack of doom to counter it, or shut up and lose.

    Hexes: I love that, and was eagerly awaiting for this feature to be implemented.

    No religion: it's OK, I was never too fond of the way it was implemented, anyway. I understand why it was implemented the way it was, and why it was dropped - it's the good-ole political correctness at work. But, it's all fine, peace brother...

    I just hope there still will be a "peaceful mode"-option to play the game, like there was for Civ IV.

  • by Kokuyo (549451) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:27AM (#31436682) Journal

    I always loved the game but I could never fully enjoy it either. I probably just suck at it, but war is no fun if one phalanx obliterates half a dozen tanks. What do I invest in science for when my future technology is trumped by this bronze age unit?

    I usually win by being first to colonize another world or by building the UN. But to have a chance at that, I need to set hostilities to a minimum... it's only half as much fun to play a castrated version of the game.

    I think next time I'll invest a few hours to read some guides and tactics.

  • by TheCycoONE (913189) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:31AM (#31436706)

    Not saying you should; but Civ and BfW are completely different games. If anything BfW is a lot like Panzer General, mentioned in the article as inspiration for some of the unit changes in Civ V. BfW is very unit focused but has no city management, technology, culture etc.

    You could have asked why you should pay for it when you could get FreeCiv for free; and the obvious answer to that is more polish - whether it's worth $60 is a subjective issue.

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:31AM (#31436708)
    What makes you think that the stats the unit carries doesn't already reflect "different types of units?"

    What you are asking for is attribute customization via an ill placed stacking mechanic. The very same mechanic which so totally dominates human vs human civ4 play today because there is no alternative other than stack of doom vs stack of doom.

    Consider this mechanic:

    You have Warriors, and you have Swords. You can combine them, to make Swordsmen.
    You have Warriors, and you have Horses. You can combine them, to make Horsemen.
    You have Swordsmen and Horsemen. You can transfer the Horses to the Swordsmen, making a Knights unit and a Warriors unit.

    See how silly your objection is? Your desire to have "different types" can easily be accounted for in other ways. The Knights units attributes can full account for the fact that it consists of Men + Swords + Horses.
  • by chronosan (1109639) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:58AM (#31436902)
    You can count me in that category too - as much as one might dislike religion, there's no denying the impact it has had on civilization.
  • by phiwum (319633) <jesse@phiwumbda.org> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:37AM (#31437202) Homepage

    Wesnoth does not have ranged attacks in any reasonable sense of the term. Units must be adjacent to attack. Civ V adds the capability of ranged attacks between unengaged units.

    That's not to say they do it well. Since when do archers fire over ponds and farmers' fields in order to hit city units? How far can these archers shoot? Somehow, that image bothers me.

    In any case, I'm certainly not intending to disparage Wesnoth with my comments. Wesnoth is, as far as I've seen, the hands-down best totally original open-source strategy game out there. I'm also not trying to compliment Civ V, since I haven't played the commercial version of Civilization since Civ II.

  • regarding religion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pnuema (523776) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:44AM (#31437252)
    They didn't drop religion due to political correctness. They dropped it because it added nothing constructive to the gameplay - ironic, isn't it?
  • by Maltheus (248271) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:08AM (#31437558)

    The thing about RTSes is that even though the older games often offer better gameplay, I can never go back to the old control systems. I somehow missed out on the whole starcraft thing and tried to play it a few years after, but couldn't handle it, due to an inability to group more than something like 8 units at a time. Supreme Commander may have gone overboard on the graphics, but I simple won't bother with an RTS anymore that doesn't have strategic zoom and the ability to infinitely queue your actions. Sins did this too, but it actually had a functional AI as well (although not the innovative supreme commander style economy). So while I agree with you about the need to stop focusing so much on the graphics, I don't think that's stopped the genre (RTS anyway) from substantially improving on other fronts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:14AM (#31437680)

    [flamebait'ed but ill assume some idiot really believes your comment...]

    an atheist engaging in hope beyond reason? who would have thought?

    since religion appears to be an hard-wired in to our brains and since recent research (google is your friend) in cognitive anthropology shows that even atheists harbor strong religious ideas, your comment is not only silly, but probably misinformed at its base.

    combine with the fact that atheists are one of the highest statistically groups to practice scapegoating, that mosque attendance is a negative predictor of violence and terrorism, and that there is no indication that on average atheists are more rational than anyone else about anything... you get the picture.

    read a book or ten and stop making bald statements that make you feel better about yourself.

  • by Green Monkey (152750) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:23AM (#31437848)

    Religon's biggest long-term effect in the CIV4 was just to give AI Civ's one more thing to get pissed off at you about. There was no winning with it either, as no matter which you picked, you'd tick somebody off.

    So it's just like real life, then.

  • Re:Swell... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:30AM (#31437998)

    My girlfriend got me CivIV and later Beyond The Sword as gifts. She's still proud of picking them out, even after I've spent many a night staying up real late playing those games.

    I'll put Civ 5 on my birthday list for this year :)

    Marry that girl, you fool!

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@noSPam.gmail.com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:30AM (#31438006) Homepage Journal

    God is a postulate and we all have our own religions.

  • Just mod the game to produce grassland instead of desert for global warming. It's a quick change in the xml config.
  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:36AM (#31438164)

    I don't think it was a PC move - it just isn't that compelling a feature in the game and in the view of the designers removed more than it added. If they were remotely worried about being PC they wouldn't have had Stalin - a mass murderer surpassing even Adolph Hitler for body-count - as one of the leaders in the game since the first iteration, and certainly wouldn't have put religion into the game in the first place.

  • Re:Stack o' Doom (Score:2, Insightful)

    by beleriand (22608) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:42AM (#31438294)
    In civ4, catapults do only damage part of the units in a stack.
    So if i send a stack of of 30 Units on attack, and AI smashes a Catapult against that, only a few units will get damaged. A sizeable amount of catapults you have to worry, put when there just a few you can in practise just ignore them mostly.
    The only thing cats are really strong at is in city-attack, because they can bombard defences and you can promote them to get a bonus at it.

    They could of course change the game-balance so that catapults would damage a stack more, but then there would be crys that catapults are overpowered and need to be nerfed. Better to do away with the "50 units on same square" silliness.

  • by loudmax (243935) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:28PM (#31439294) Homepage

    I personally think that the best "Civ" game ever made was, by leaps and bounds, Alpha Centauri.

    I haven't played the newer Civ games, but Alpha Centauri was so full of awesome that I don't find that hard to believe. And you're right, it wasn't about the tactics. Being able to build your own units was cool, but what made it a great game was the narrative. There was a real sense of different, evolving cultures fighting for the soul of the planet. In my experience, what made playing Civilization so enjoyable wasn't just the conquest strategy, it was the sense of playing out history. Alpha Centauri got that right. If the rest of the Civ franchise hasn't, they may be fun games, but they won't be anything special.

  • new blaster (Score:3, Insightful)

    by junkgoof (607894) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:37PM (#31439432)

    With a design that produces a beam slightly wider than a light saber.

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:52PM (#31440684) Homepage

    The pieces can represent anything (battalions or regiments, for instance), so it makes perfect sense.

    But then it would also make perfect sense to be able to combine two or more decimated companies into a battalion, while maintaining the experience and combat abilities.

    You're trying to make sense in a game where it takes 20 years for an airplane to fly around the globe? Don't get me wrong, I love the game, but I also gave up on it making any sense a long time ago.

  • I agree, there is some rabid, extremist atheists. Though their theist counterparts FAR out number them, and have far more influence on the world. I find the religious fundamentalists a far larger threat than any degree of atheist.

    I'm a pretty firm atheist, and I generally have no problem with religion, or any other ideology. Until they start trying to control people's lives, or start harming people. At that point the ideology in question should be destroyed. Just because your a Christian (or Muslim, or whatnot) doesn't mean EVERYONE should have to follow your silly arbitrary rules.

    Atheists, for the most part, are immune to this tyrannical craziness. What are they going to do, stand on street corners screaming "THINK FOR YOURSELF!", or trying to force all children to learn science. The horror.

  • by kjart (941720) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:23PM (#31441122)

    Secondly, Total Annihilation/Supreme Commander and C&C/Red Alert. There are RTS games but solely focused on small unit skirmishes and resource management, where development speed is core to winning each game... in which case, why in hell do I want (or even need) to mess around with zooming in and twiddling camera views? Just give me a single isometric view with sprite graphics...

    I'm sorry, but if you don't find the zooming in Supreme Commander amazing, you're doing it wrong. That was probably the most amazing feature of that game and makes every other RTS out there frustrating to play.

  • by Delusion_ (56114) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:46PM (#31441498) Homepage

    "For my money, I personally think that the best "Civ" game ever made was, by leaps and bounds, Alpha Centauri."

    Seconded.

    It's also the last game of its sort that allowed me to play the epic scale game I prefer: preposterously large maps and unreasonable amounts of cities. I enjoy that sort of gameplay, with very long-form games.

    Every game since Civ 3 has seemed to make a mission out of forcing me to play a single-player game as if it were a multi-player game; short, small, and decisive. I wish the licensing for Alpha Centauri was such that it could have a proper sequel. But I also suspect they'd shrink it down for multiplayer expectations the way they did with Civ3 and Civ4.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @04:01PM (#31442918)

    I agree, there is some rabid, extremist atheists. Though their theist counterparts FAR out number them, and have far more influence on the world. I find the religious fundamentalists a far larger threat than any degree of atheist.

    I challenge your notion that "rabid atheists" are not religious fundamentalists. Fundamentalism is a state of being absolutely convinced that you're right, and everyone who doesn't agree is either evil or stupid. It doesn't have anything to do with what you're absolutely convinced about, just that you are. And the notion that "there is no god" is, of course, a notion about a religious matter.

    Atheists, for the most part, are immune to this tyrannical craziness. What are they going to do, stand on street corners screaming "THINK FOR YOURSELF!", or trying to force all children to learn science. The horror.

    No, they're going to demand that a religion/ideology "be destroyed". That, of course, demands torturing the adherents until they deconvert and killing those who refuse. Unless, of course, a reliable brainwashing technique to bring their beliefs closer to what you'll accept can be created.

    The correct way to treat such people is to give them freedom and demand they give it to you too. This (Finland, and presumably United States as well) is a free country, where everyone is free to worship whatever deity he wishes, or none at all. I'll defend to death your right to choose freely. I'll also defend my right to not choose whatever you want. I'll also defend the rights of people I despise, because to not do so would be to do unto others what I wouldn't want to be done to myself

    .

    For the record, I'm a christian.

  • Re:New AI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @04:14PM (#31443198)

    I've read more than one interview on this topic. While I agree with you about having cheating AI really sucks, the point made in the interviews was that even now it is difficult to get an AI to win at chess. Chess has a large but finite number of moves with only two opponents. In a game like Civ, with random land masses and features, multiple opponents, and variable numbers and capabilities of game pieces, and even more variables when you through culture, religion, civics, and the rest in, it is impossible to make honest and challenging AI. So they let it cheat.

    They should at least make it cheat more intelligently then. There's nothing worse than carefully planning an attack and seeing it go to pot because the AI, suddenly perceiving the threat, pulls a stack of units or number of technologies it cannot logically have out of its magic hat. It sucks because it destroys the gameplay, you can't plan anything because the planning will be defeated by changing the rules mid-game.

  • Re:Stack o' Doom (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:47PM (#31445830)
    The flaw is that there are no tactical variations that work. The biggest stack wins.

    Defensive bonuses are a wash when its stack vs stack. All my attacking units have been given +20%, +45%, or +75% city raider promoted, a bonus meant to counter cultural defenses, walls, and fortification bonuses.

    If you sit there in the city waiting for that stack vs stack and your stack is mostly city garrison promoted, I can just wipe your civ clean of land improvements and come back in about 1000 years when you are hopelessly behind. The upshot here is that most of your units need to be tailored for attacking, not defending, so that you can force the confrontation if you have to.

    Its stack vs stack, and both civ3 and civ4 were designed to be multiplayer. Civ3 had the army units, and that proved worse than it is in Civ4. Civ5 is forcing the issue by not allowing stacks and I think thats a good thing. Tactics. Tactics. Tactics.

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