Civilization V: Gods and Kings Review
Religion plays an incredibly influential role in history; it inspired cultures and nations in times of war and peace, and ultimately shaped mankind into what we are today.
It was therefore a huge shame that religion was omitted from Civilization V. While the game is still fantastic and in my view the best and most accessible Civilization to date – for many of the series’ fans there has always been one (or two) things missing from the latest instalment. So when the renowned Sid Meier and the team at Firaxis released Civilization V: Gods & Kings, a day of celebration and god-like worship began amongst Civ fans – rather like an empire worships its leader when they have pleased them.
The foundations of Civilization are unchanged, which is definitely a good thing. However Gods and Kings brings a host of hugely popular new additions like religion, espionage, new world leaders and nations along with an army of smaller tweaks and revamps to what was already a great game.
Naturally on the day of release I treated myself to the Gods and Kings expansion pack; while most add-ons are relatively cheap and small in comparison to the main game they enhance, Gods and Kings differs from the norm. Indeed this expansion pack will set you back £20 of your hard earned cash, however this shouldn’t put you off as you are getting a whole lotta game for your dollar. Firaxis have re-written the rule book when it comes to expansion packs and provide us with a feast of new additions; Gods and Kings is a new game engine away from being released as Civilization VI.
I promptly started a new custom game – you have the usual variables to set up like land type (pangea, archipelago, small continents etc) along with changing the speed of the game amongst other various tweaks that will affect how it plays. Here you pick which leader you would like to be; Gods and Kings gives you a choice of nine additional leaders, each with their own specific units and traits. I chose Attila the Hun with his Battering Ram unit that minces up city defences like they aren’t there. I do enjoy to play aggressively and there aren’t many people in history more aggressive than Attila.
As previously mentioned religion is now added to Civ 5, however not in the way previous Civ’s have experienced it. This time round along with accumulating resources, science, gold, happiness etc…you now also accrue Faith which can be used to achieve a variety of goals. Faith can be used to purchase religious units such as Great Prophets; capable of establishing religions in your empire as well as spreading your religions to others. Establishing religions early can be a key factor throughout your game as each faith and their traits can only be used once by the first empire to choose them. For example if you desire rapid expansion in your empire you may choose to found a religion with the trait ‘Boost 10% growth in the empire’. Alternatively you can choose other traits that allow you to purchase military units with Faith, or increase happiness amongst the empire. There is huge variety to the Faith set-up allowing for various traits to be tried throughout numerous replays of Civ V.
Espionage has also been introduced to Civ V – whilst this may not be as big an enhancement as Faith it is a welcome addition. As your empire develops spies will become available; these can be sent to spy on rival cities or city-states, or even to act as a counter-agent in your own cities. Spies can steal technologies or gain valuable information about the movements and plans of other empires – giving you an upper hand in diplomacy and able to forewarn your allies if another empire is planning an invasion. Spies can also be used to rig elections or bully city-states, allowing you to become more popular and assist with a political win. Like other units, spies can level up depending on how successful their missions are.
Gods and Kings also provides three new playable scenarios; Into the Renaissance, Fall of Rome and Empires of the Smoky Skies and in the case of the latter – a whole different way of playing Civ. Empires of the Smoky Skies drops you into a world dominated by steam power; there are new leaders to choose from and a host of different units and buildings separate from the main game. This scenario requires different conditions in order to win, and what most people will enjoy are the use of sky fortresses and land leviathans that will leave your enemies quivering in their steam powered baths.
Civilization V: Gods and Kings is a mammoth upgrade for one of the best re-playable games out there. The tips and advisors are still there for those new to the series and for those who felt they had exhausted Civilization V up to this point have a whole new reason to fall back in love again.
Religion/Faith and Espionage are added
Whole host of new features i.e. leaders, units, buildings
AI turns can still take time later in games and in multiplayer – however it isn’t so far as to be an annoyance
Over-aggressive AI still a problem at times
Gods and Kings is the ultimate expansion pack, it gives the Civ faithful all the new features they thought were missing from the original release and then throws in a few more for good measure. Even at £20 I was more than happy to pay for it. Small tweaks here and there fix little nuisances that are now forgotten. All in all – the perfect expansion pack.