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Old 03-30-2010, 04:30 PM   #1
modeps
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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[PC] - Civilization V Preview


Written by Ben 'kragg' Daniels

While at PAX East this weekend we had the opportunity to sit in a private demo at the 2K area with members of the team at Firaxis and check out their demonstration build of Civilization 5. For better or worse, this latest installment will bring some changes to the tried and true standards we've come to expect from the series.

The biggest change is that the board and movement is now based on the traditional hexagonal board model, rather than square panels. This was changed to allow new strategy for units and a more "organic" feel on the board. An example would be a ship occupying a cove. Two sides of the hexagon would touch the beach, while the rest would allow functions to any adjacent units in the water. This will also play a role in the expanded use of the map topology for strategic bonuses in offense and defense.


Combat has also changed in that there is no longer "unit stacking". Yes, they have taken the "zerg" out of Civ. Each unit is it's own independent resource, so this will provide new challenges and strategy to how you choose to preserve or expend your forces in battle. Cities can now function as military units as well, and can be outfitted to defend themselves and launch counter attacks against any incoming offensives.

Of course, there are more ways to win a game of Civ than just blowing everyone else off the map, and the diplomacy and technology exploration aspects of the game have seen significant work as well. The AI opponents have been given some love and we were told they were re-designed to feel more like you were playing a human opponent. Each leader has their own particular strategy, but they are now more flexible and will adjust tactics more dynamically based on how you are playing. Another new feature is the ability to join in "research agreements" with other countries, where you invest money to mutually research technology. However, should you break alliance before you complete the research, you could risk losing your investment. Religion has also been removed, but Firaxis stated they are working on other mechanics as a replacement for it.


Smaller, independent city states are also a new feature. These small AI colonies serve to add new strategy to the maps, sometimes becoming allies, new minor enemies, or simply requesting help from the larger states in exchange for resources. These will hopefully serve as an interesting way to throw an interesting curve ball into the mix in addition to the main cultures that are available to play.

It was also mentioned that as part of the attempt to expand the online Civ community, modding will be encouraged in Civ 5. A robust toolkit will be available for all the modders out there.
This was born from the fact that the lead designer actually used to be a modder for previous Civilization games, including the original.


My first impressions of the game are that some of the changes may not sit well with the hardcore, old school Civilization players. However, the game is visually impressive, and the UI is slick and streamlined. The new features seem to have been implemented to create a better pacing to the game, and if people can get used to the changes in some of the core game mechanics, there seems to be some great promise in Civilization 5 being able to move the franchise forward into new territory.
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