Ummm, ad hominem is your bag baby...
Parrying with another ad hom
yes, mediocre, one of the highest rated PC games ever... yup, very mediocre
Now it's the argumentum ad populum
Originally Posted by Quarter to Three's Gods & Kings review
This isn’t really the place to revisit my unhappiness with Civilization V, but I’m sorry to discover the game hasn’t gotten better a year and a half after I reviewed it. Instead of addressing the problems with the game’s AI, interface, and design, Firaxis has been nickel and diming you with DLC maps and civilizations. Now that they’re selling a full add-on, what better time to give it the overhaul it needs?
But no such thing happens in Gods & Kings. This is the same disappointing strategy game it was a year and a half ago, except that it now has two finicky and mostly unimpressive systems shoehorned in.
Religion is almost exactly like culture, which was almost exactly like technology. Basically, these are just more tech trees, where you save up points, get a reward, repeat. You’ve done that with technology all along. In Civilization V, you did that with culture. And now, in Gods & Kings, you do that with faith. Civilization V keeps adding buckets to fill up and then empty out, picking rewards from a list. It’s the worst kind of feature creep because it’s just repeating features it’s already got. It’s like improved shaving technology that just keeps adding blades.
It’s a simple enough DIY bonus system, but from here it falls apart. It fumbles the viral element of religion so well expressed in Civilization IV and Paradox’s game. Sure, religions can spread — and here is one of the many examples of Firaxis’ inability to do a good interface — but who cares? If it has any effect on diplomacy, you’d never know, thanks to the game’s wretched diplomacy, which remains as inscrutably bipolar as ever. Some religions benefit from spreading, but for the most part it doesn’t matter.
Furthermore, religion matters even less as a game goes on. It's a gross mischaracterization of the rest of the world to present religion as something that you can pretty much forget about once the Enlightenment has run its course. More importantly, it’s a lousy gameplay mechanic to basically let something just cease to matter after a while.
Espionage is basically an alternative to spending gold on the city-states, which were previously just a money sink. Why do I care about peeking into cities? In Civilization IV, peeking into cities was important because of how armies were hidden. In Civilization V, armies are always visible and there’s not much point looking at a city’s buildings. Sometimes I wonder if Firaxis is playing their own game.
The interfaces to manage religion and espionage are both awful, relying on long unmanageable lists that relate poorly to the rest of the game. I’d expect this from a mod. But from the guys who made the game? This is the best they could come up with for their new systems? Long unwieldy lists?
Some new units make an appearance, and most notably the naval balance has been reworked. It’s hard for me to care about this when the computer is still incapable of playing the game as designed. Mongolia throws unit after unit into my defenses, so I couldn’t care less what the units are. France parks armies underneath ranged fire and waits for them to die, so what does it matter if I kill them with a new tank or a biplane bomber? Siam marches its generals up to my front lines. Carthage declares war on me and never sends a single unit against me. If you want to play a game about civilizations shuffling their armies around ineffectually, Civilization V remains the game for you, and now it has new units to shuffle around ineffectually.
The bottom line is that Civilization V remains a disappointing mess, all the more disappointing that its getting new stuff added instead of being fixed.
Originally Posted by Quarter to Three's Brave New World review
Civilization V is a ramshackle collection of astonishingly dumb tactical AI, half-baked diplomacy, a godawful mess of social policies, an even more godawful mess of religion, a precarious interface, and a Keystone Kops routine of armies, navies, workers, generals, and now artists stumbling over each other one hex at a time. The difficult part about having a strong military isn’t the upkeep. It’s figuring out where to put everyone. Add to all this some crass DLC and it’s enough to send you screaming back to Civilization IV.
Until a new expansion comes along.
Now more than ever, Civilization V is a Frankenstein monster of clumsily stitched together gameplay under a thick layer of pancake make-up production values widely mistaken for game design. If you care enough about strategy games to peer closely, you’ll see an absolute abomination. Better not to peer closely. Instead, click, pick, and next turn your way through what passes these days for “interesting decisions”.
Brave New World crams more of these decisions into the game, mostly at the mid- and end-game, when the pacing has stalled. The idea seems to be that Civilization V needs more clicking and picking when you’re not fighting a war, which the AI is incompetent at doing, so you probably shouldn’t be fighting wars. Do this other stuff instead. Move artwork and artifacts around among the slots on your civilization’s tourism paper doll, which is a bit like equipping pauldrons, earrings, and off-hand weapons in an RPG. Yep, it’s called tourism.
Ideology is a skill tree inside a skill tree, which is something I’ve never seen before. As if the social policy tree and the long religion lists weren’t a bad enough idea, now there’s a DIY tree in the Industrial Era, tucked into a corner of the social policy tree. You choose an ideology and then arrange tiers of skills by unlocking slots and…oh, whatever. Leave it to Firaxis to think it’s a good idea to stick more lists of random improvements under forced theming. Just as religion was like another social policy tree, now ideology is like another religion system. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Cram it in wherever it fits and if you can’t find any such place, cram it in anyway.
Unlike Gods & Kings, which made things worse, Brave New World addresses some of Civilization V’s considerable shortcomings. It peppers the game with busywork where you’d normally be hitting “next turn” over and over, waiting to administer a beating to the game’s brain dead military. Now you’re playing on turf where the AI is stronger, managing the strategy level of the game, finessing the economy, wrangling trade routes, expanding out into the map. It helps the pacing in a not very good game where pacing was one of the significant problems.