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Civilization V

by Mike Gardiner on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

[dropcap]Upon[/dropcap] writing this, Civilization V has in the past week reached its first anniversary of being released, and today a “Game of the Year” version is released that includes all of the DLC (Downloadable Content) that has been released up until this point. I have been playing it since it was initially released, and it still remains the best strategy game I have ever played.

I have been a fan of the Civilization (“Civ”) series since Civ II hit the scene, but became a serious fan upon encountering Civ III, and an even more intense fan upon encountering Civ IV. With Civ V, there is less micro-management up front to do than III and IV; I was able to win the highest difficulty level with very little micro-managing, which is pretty nice.

This fifth installment gives the graphics a huge makeover, and introduces hexagonal tiles in place of the square tiles that were the basis of the previous games in the series. The hexagonal tiles interlock nicely, and allow units and terrain to be more fluid in their movement and look. Civ V also did away with the ‘stack of death’ of previous games, which allowed you to stack almost an infinite number of units in a single tile; Civ V rather forces you to strategize a bit more by only allowing a single unit to occupy a tile. In doing this, you now have ranged units and melee units.

There are many other (I would say positive) changes to the series with this installment, but I won’t go into the details of all of them. Suffice it to say that I think they improved the series greatly with this game.

The only big problems I ran into with the gameplay is the system requirements. Of course, almost all games list their system requirements lower than they really are in order to make more sales, but even if you have a system that meets the ‘recommended’ requirements, this game can produce some crazy lag. When you add in the maximum amount of civilizations, set the graphics to a higher detail, the game tends to have a hard time processing the turns and the CG-based encounters with the civilization leaders.

Overall, it’s a game that is nothing short of epic. If you have any interest in strategy games, or games that delve into historical scenarios, this is a must play.

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For the Discerning (e.g. Parents)

While this game has some fairly obvious issues in terms of warfare among civilizations (you can choose whether to be diplomatic, scientific, cultured, a war monger, or a combination of any of these), there is no visible blood shed, and the units that are destroyed or killed in the quick skirmishes soon vanish off of the screen.

For me personally, I tend to grapple with the worldview of the game the most. The game goes about setting up a modern worldview. Without delving too deeply into the philosophy of modernity, the game promotes the idea that if we can harness nature through science, and manipulate it to make things better for us, then we will have a better world, and thus will be happy. It’s all about what we can do; it’s all about making us happy. It’s a very self-centered worldview that has been directing the western world since Descartes penned the words “I think, therefore I am.”

My issue with this worldview is that it clashes with Christianity. As a Christian, I aim to be God-centered, not man centered. I recognize that anything man-made will fail, but the things that are God-made can last forever (although we have a tendency to destroy nature in order to make things ‘better’ for ourselves).

The game makes it so that you ‘win’ by achieving scientific heights enough to build a spaceship to make a new earth somewhere else (modernity is obsessed with scrapping what we’ve already made and trying again, only to make the same mistakes), or a cultural civilization that can build a ‘utopia’ because of all of its culture (a man-made utopia of course… which, in truth, is impossible). All done without God, and only with man.

In reality, it is only with God that we can have a ‘utopia’ of sorts. It has to be created and orchestrated by him, and not by us. We mess things up. We always have. We always will.

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Mike Gardiner
Mike has written freelance gaming articles in the past for websites like Almenconi.com and Reviews4Parents.com. He and his wife of 7 years are from Peterborough, Ontario, have been living in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for the past 4 years. He is a student at Briercrest College & Seminary studying Pastoral Ministry, Counselling, Biblical Studies, and Theology. He works as a security guard part time, coaches high school football, and has an intense interest in all technology, with his core interest residing in gaming, which he does in the majority of the spare time that he can find.

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