Constructive critic of the Civilization series

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Naokaukodem, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Naokaukodem

    Naokaukodem Millenary King

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    For example, city catching was funnier, according to me, in Civ2 :

    1. You could take a city with only one attack, provided it was not defended. That made more a feel of simplicity and in consequence, a more direct, epured aggressive feeling.

    2. The Civ5 war system is way too much gamey, especially when it comes to take cities. I really do not care the problems of the game designers, that always want to balance things and such... I simply don't care. Game mechanics should be transparent. If they are not, then they failed. I really don't know what went through developers' mind with Civ5, Civ2 had the rule "if one only unit of the stack is killed defending, then the whole stack dies", making the warfare close of 1 UPT, but the cities hadn't a life bar for even. The life bar of cities in 5 just prevents a smooth and enjoying play IMO, killing simplicity, rapidity and fun.

    3. You had this little sound of crowd panic (or was it a military march one ?) when taking a city. That added to the savagery of the act. In Civ5, I think it would be a must that there is such a sound taking cities, + animations of citizens fleeing away.

    This is not a rant thread. I'm just curious to see other's sights, and to know if mine is just too much personnal or not.

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    As always, I'm looking for what did my pleasure with Civ2, and why I had a lot less pleasure, not to say none, with the sequels. For the developers to take my remarks into account, particularly if others agree with me.

    If I should class the different sequels by order of appreciation, it would be like this :

    Civ2 >>>>> Civ3 >>>>> Civ4 > Civ5 (with patches).

    First notice, the more time advanced, the less I appreciated the Civilization sequels. First hypothesis : it's a subjective phenomenon. And I will not say it's not possible. For instance, it wouldn't mean there's nothing we can do against it. For example, it could be that the feeling of the series is just fading away with the sequels. Or I played a really really lot to Civ2, and I can say it's the case indeed, and got tired of it. A new sequel could not revive my prime interest : the whole feeling of Civ became too familiar and lost its taste.

    Or the games, second hypothesis, lost relevance through time. In the first case, it's just me. In the second, it's the developers fault.

    In both cases, there is a solution.

    The one to the first case would be to suicide myself. I'm joking. I will NEVER suicide myself, hah hah ! No, it is just to make the sequel enough different from the original game in order to trigger new feelings. And, to transcend the game. I see you coming. Can developers really transcend the game each time successfully ? The answer to the problem is rather simple : if the game can't be transcended, then do not create sequels.

    The core of the second possible problem is the lack of understanding of what do the game so addictive and fun from the developers. And the solution could be brought by such a forum, providing the concerned threads aren't just a collection of personnal mixed sights that never overlap.

    I personnally think that Civ can be transcended, even if it nearly never has been. I mean, Civ2 was just a graphic update of Civ1. Civ3 had some new things, but far too anecdotic, and put others away. Same with 4, and 5. Here, we can see that the Civ series has never been shaped with the objective to keep a fanbase. It rather always have been designed with the objective to attract the new and more comtemporary players, with updated technology, at the exception of those who started to play Civ series with an already old game which could look like outdated graphically, and went to the next iteration for more pleasure. (like me from Civ1 to Civ2). But the transfert can't be longer than from one episode to the next. That could explain why I feel less and less attracted by the series personnally.

    I, although, appreciated a range of improvements made from Civ2 to Civ3 for example. Like the abolition of the ZOC, which felt way too much artificial in some cases (why can't i move my unit here in that precise case ? And why not there and there too ? Stupid !). But, I have to say, this kind of problems one can encounter while playing his favourite game, is not critical at all. Sure, one can be pissed off momentarily, but it never is really prohibitive, finally. Is the creation of a new sequel justified by those kind of small contrariety some could call flaws or exploits ? I could have been answering affirmatively at this question, but the fact is that it really is not ; particularly when the game in question relies on a fragile and humanly unreachable balance of things.

    What brings me to what I wish I see this topic become : trying to underline what makes Civ2, or any Civ of your liking, depending on which generation you're a part of, an addictive and so amazing game. To go there, I will start to enumerate my "objectives" (or at least the different steps of the enjoyment of the game) when playing Civ2 :

    1) Understand not the mechanics, but the whole concept of this new strange game.

    Here what I can notice if that the concept of the game has never changed. Population growth has always been based on food quantity for example, and the game always have been turn by turn. Maybe that to transcend the game, some of those things would have been better changed.

    2) Try to reach the end, if there is one.

    That sentence sums up well what is Civilization : an experimental game. The thing is that this experimental bit has never been transcended : not only it remained the same, but it also has been eriged into an untouchable, frozen monument. It could have been good that this experimental bit to have been reborn in the sequels, for example by pushing the countries simulation a bit farer with revolutions for example, and all the incidence it would have been on the gameplay. (see my various ideas on the question)

    3) Enjoying the "rewrite History" thing, as my collection of cities really looked like a real country, surrounded by other countries. Playing the game as an immortal state chief ("Naokaukodem"), with different situations in different games. The part of roleplaying and gameplaying in this difference remains to be determined though. (should play Civ2 again ?)

    This happened totally spontaneously and unexpetedly. The fact is, if I remember correctly, that i played as my own country (in real life = France) and when i saw my cities sourrounded by others of countries that was the neighbours of mine in the real life (England, Spain, Italy, Germany...), I just simply made the link with the actual History. As the shape and relative position of those countries where changed in the game, it just felt like I was rewriting some kind of History in a kind of Fantasy world.

    Is that roleplaying ? Is the ability to choose one's own country in the game relevant ? Since Civ3, the civilizations have been personnalized with traits. The wanted effect was to differenciate more the civilizations, and to be able indeed to roleplay each one more intensively. But, what is better for roleplaying than incarnating our own country in reality ? Plus, traits reduced drastically the number of incarnatable civilizations , as each has been the object of a particular work. (not to mention leader heads !)


    4) Complete the game once in each difficulty mode, and I would consider the game completed and go elsewhere.

    Whereas it was pretty insane and boring in Civ3 in Deity, it was impossible for me in Civ4 in Deity, and with the new nerfed things in the last patches of Civ5, I barely never play above King. But I can find my way out anyway, I just play lower difficulty levels, I even played a couple of Civ5 settler games that was amusing but of course, became with time too boring due to the lack of reaction of the AI. My principal beef with 5 is that happiness hinders too much our expansion, whereas in the other areas of the game, the AI can't match up (especially militarily), so that the difficulty levels are biased because the game remains too restrictive in some areas like happiness, but too lax in others, making the game finally boring.

    I believe that the Civilization games have been, subjectively or objectively, which remains pretty the same after all, worst and worst. What do you think the developers made poorly ? What should they have done ? Are Civ3 ressources really essential (after all we enjoyed 1 and 2 without them...) ? Isn't Civ4 city maintenance system too opaque, making the game too complicated ?

    Please, don't come with too opposite arguments (for example with arguments like "I played X hours of CivX, that must be that it is great", which is not true), that's not a blood bath, nor a rant thread, that is a constructive critic, or trying to be. Let's try to decide what is good and what is not good for our beloved franchise !
     
  2. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    Hey, you are back! I think you must have said about three times by bow that you would uninstall this game and not look back. :lol:

    Moderator Action: Not a contribution to the thread. Just spam.
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  3. trueblue

    trueblue Prince

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    perhaps it is the OP that has changed. grown up. the same things that entertained you 10 years ago no longer has the same interest.
     
  4. Naokaukodem

    Naokaukodem Millenary King

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    Absolutely exact and very constructive post... :rolleyes:

    Yes perhaps. But I think that saying that i've just grown up is too general. Is the fact that i'm older influences my appreciation of a video games ? It's not like I was 5 years old playing Civ2, I've been by that time in my adolescence. So I don't think it's a question of age.

    The only credit I can give you is that actually, I have a tendency to appreciate less video games in general than before.

    The weird thing being that I can appreciate some of them about as much as before. So it must be there's something changed about video games in general, not just me. And there are arguments that argue for it.

    As to Civ series I think I've already argumented enough by myself. I have no clue why you take it as a melodrama, it's just my argumented opinion about it.
     
  5. Hammer Rabbi

    Hammer Rabbi Deity GOTM Staff

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    i went from civ2 to civ 5, didnt play 3 or 4. i'd forgotten about the city screams. that was pretty chilling when i first heard them. would have been a nice touch if it was in 5, but it's not a deal breaker for me.

    i agree with trueblue. i can yearn all i want for a replicated enjoyment PLUS new "better things" to add to the experience, but i need to temper my expectations on that. i feel it is an unrealistic expectation. 99% of every movie sequel isn't as good as the first, the same goes for games. Most of us really love the first experience and using that as the standard will always lead to some measure of disappointment.

    To most people, "different" is a direct equivalent to "worse." Change is often said to be desired but when it happens it isn't exactly how they want it. (New Coke was a large failure because people didnt think it needed changing to being with.) For some, good change means making things easier, for others it is the opposite--particularly in games, easier games mean less of a challenge for those that crave a challenge. But a product to make cleaning the dishes harder is never desired. Your desires from the game, while sensible, may not fit into a popular consensus nor be a profitable mechanism for the company. Often times, I'm irritated that making something more profitable means I enjoy it less because the changes made aren't to my liking. But such is commerce and the balance between a passion and business. Realizing that my tastes are not popular is both good and bad and I accept the consequences.

    C'est la vie.
     
  6. Sullla

    Sullla Patrician Roman Dictator

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    This post is pretty much the answer to the original poster's question. While Civ2 was an amazing game in its day, it has aged rather poorly. For those who were too young or can't remember, Civ2 was the game that featured:

    * No borders
    * No culture
    * Identical civs (no unique units/buildings/traits)
    * Extremely unbalanced wonders/governments (see: Leo's Workshop, Fundamentalism, etc.)
    * Infinite City Sprawl (ICS) overwhelmingly the dominant strategy
    * Diplomat/spy abuse
    * Caravan wonder spam abuse
    * Horrendous combat AI
    * Gangup versus the player diplomatic AI (you think Civ5 is bad? heh)

    And so on. Back when CivFanatics was young, a lot of these were even codified into one page: Civilization II AI Stupidities. The simple fact is that if Naokaukodem applied the same level of criticism to Civ2 as he has for Civ3/4/5 (and he is a *VERY* well known critic of all three games), then it wouldn't hold up either. Ah, for the days when you could be young again and view everything with uncritical eyes! :D
     
  7. sparkyal

    sparkyal Warlord

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    He Sullla, you're right! I forgot about all that stuff with II...but i still loved II. I think because spearmen could no longer kill battleships (Civ I anyone???)/

    III fixed a lot of things and added some other things, but i never really got into it. IV, was really only truly awesome with Warlords and BtS (IV did not work out of the box....remember that?) and V is shockingly incomplete (although I still argue that it has huge huge potential).
     
  8. Nevyn

    Nevyn Warlord

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    Civ I & II in a nutshell. - Found city. Research. Build huge army. Advance into neighbor center. Take city. Eat up the civ from inside. Rinse and Repeat.

    For its time it was awesome. But running a emulator and fire these games up will only get you disappointed. It's like fire up a C-64 emulator and try IK+ or Wizball. It will only ruin the great nostalgia you had.

    Naokaukodem: Many words and little content. If you distilled it a bit I might understand you better. This is a forum and you seem to working on a Phd thesis in ?

    EDIT: Not trying to be rude, this was just very much to take in in one post. And seems to be be more rhetorical and begging the question than actually asking for answers.
     
  9. Nevyn

    Nevyn Warlord

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    Hammer Rabbi: If you went from Civ II to Civ V I have good news for you. Try Civ IV and Beyond the Sword. That will give you a lot of fun gaming time and will also make you understand why some hate Civ V so much. Now I like both of them and are now only playing V as I have done IV to death. But I can understand why some are disappointed in CIV V.
     
  10. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

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    You got me confused here. You just described Civ5 perfectly. That is exactly the way I feel when I TRY to play it (cannot finish one game, no matter what... boring).
     
  11. Nevyn

    Nevyn Warlord

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    Aristos: Haha. Touché. Why I always try to build tall empires.
     
  12. trueblue

    trueblue Prince

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    yes mate, you have said that several times.

    why come back here?



    get over it. move on.

    Moderator Action: If you have nothing to say about the topic, don't post in the thread. This is just taking a jab at the user and looking to provoke a negative reaction. Trolling.
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  13. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Moderator Action: Please don't make this just another rants thread.
     
  14. Naokaukodem

    Naokaukodem Millenary King

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    You are wrong, Sullla. Indeed, if I was really in lack of criticism in my young years, I would not have send a long critic of around 5 pages to Firaxis... ;) These critics were underlining IIRC the annoying things that I encountered in Civ2, like the cities rebellion each turn, and gave a vision of the game and its possible evolution. Alas, when I launched Civ3 for the first time, I could see that these evolutions were nearly only cosmetic ones, with no dept. It is, I guess, the "we don't want to do a too different game" problem.

    But, don't get me wrong, as I said in the OP, those issues, flaws, exploits were not prohibitive. I mean, the game in its whole was groundbreaking. And not because of strategy. Strategy, for me, is like mechanics, it must be transparent. It is a mean rather than a goal. It was grounbreaking because of the sight it was giving : ruling a country during 6000 years. Just amazing.

    Unfortunately, the fans were and are way too borned : they wanted a game with a mixed gameplay so that they could sort out the different things of the system, and pick the ones they needed. What an exciting game ! :lol: Sort out the different elements of a system... :rolleyes: Civ4 was along that. Civ4 was the outcome of fans complaints.
     
  15. Crdnl Richelieu

    Crdnl Richelieu Warlord

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    I don't think so. Obviously advances in technology can make sequels faster and prettier than their predecessors.

    But game sequels are generally better than their predecessors because designers are effectively getting another go at creating the game, learning from previous mistakes and feedback from people who played the game.

    Was thinking about my favourite games on the Amiga - most of them were sequels, e.g. Rainbow Islands, Turrican 2, Monkey Island 2, Sensible World of Soccer, Flashback, Speedball 2 and so on...
     
  16. Optional

    Optional Deity

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    I'm surprised by your criticism of the city sieges in Civ 5, Naokaukodem.
    I personally find that a strong point of Civ 5. Taking a city is now more of a happening, it takes more than just defeating a couple of units. What is not transparent about it, Naokaukodem? The health of the city is displayed, and also the amount of damage any of your units will approximitely do to it is displayed. I believe with melee units it indeed doesn't show, that one I have to give you.

    But taking cities has become an affair of bigger drama in Civ 5. With cities having become more important - you have fewer of them, spaced wider apart than in most previous Civ games - it's fitting that taking them has become a bigger thing.

    Also, with cities being able to defend themselves, we don't need to nurse them with units as much anymore, which I see as a good thing - although with certain policies I still find myself needing at least one unit in every city.

    I personally find Civ 5 disappoints most in aspects of diplomacy and trade.
     
  17. Hammer Rabbi

    Hammer Rabbi Deity GOTM Staff

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    im not stating that as a fact but as a matter of general opinion, and i didnt clarify that as a more recent trend in gaming. it's certainly not a truism for the entire history of gaming. some changes (like preventing game freezes, errors, exploits, bugs, etc.) are about fixing code flaws and impedance. the changes im talking about are more like changing a mechanic (a pistol no longer has a zoom or the perspective went from 1st person to 3rd). but i understand your experience dealing with games from the earlier generations of gaming (i never saw a GORF 2, but i think it probably would have been a lot better than GORF because games were so "primitive" at the time--and yeah, my first computer was a Commodore Vic-21--i was 7 or 8).

    the underlying points is that significant changes from the original when it was mainly quite enjoyable to begin with usually fall flat. some of them are just capitalizing on a market and they dont even care to one-up the predecessor.

    it's difficult for businesses to know when something doesnt need messing with. And yeah, it's not 100%, plus it's general consensus. Lots of "popular opinion" is still something I don't agree with.
     
  18. Naokaukodem

    Naokaukodem Millenary King

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    By "transparent" in the sentence you are refering to, I meant more "that the player do not notice". Don't know if I did a mistake here or if the word i employed was totally opposed to what I wanted to say though, but here we are. I mean, taking a city in Civ5 is a whole story of unit placement, micromanaging, and you feel the mechanic with its grains of sand. It's not smooth. I have even to say, that sometimes it really annoys me to have to move and place all those units. I already stopped games because i had too many units to replace, and particularly move from one place to another with 1UPT which made it a real pain. You will then not be too much rude towards me when I'm thinking back to Civ2 city catching when it happened that you could take underfending cities only by mousing over your unit into the enemy camp.

    And i'm not interested in the mechanics here. Indeed, one could say "but you prefer a no brainer to what is something you have to think out?" First I don't see unit placement as a brain stormer. I see it more like Tetris, but with an horrendous and very slow playability. Second, I favor ten times a feeling over a mechanic. I don't play games for mechanics. "Transparent" come back here.
     
  19. Hammer Rabbi

    Hammer Rabbi Deity GOTM Staff

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    I think this gets close to the heart of your comparison. You don't see it as a "no brainer" but many others do. Many cite the 1UPT as a great improvement on the game when you see it as an irritating micromanagement addition. You also don't think the mechanic adds depth to the experience when many others do. They prefer micromanagement to taking cities when you seem to enjoy it more as a quick singular event in the length of history of a civilization. I understand both viewpoints as an expression of their likes and dislikes.

    I have no problem with people getting many different definitions of enjoyment from a game. But I am also not surprised you haven't found people to be in agreement with you yet. I think at the heart of this, you enjoy something from this game that is in the minority and it's difficult to sway others to your viewpoint when they enjoy the game for other reasons and don't see the game as having flaws in the way you describe them. (Many are certainly finding flaws, though. There are numerous rants-like threads.)

    Flaws as well as benefits, like many things in life, are in the eye of the beholder.
     
  20. Babri

    Babri Emperor

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    I think Sulla concludes this thread. Even if Naokaukodem plays civ II now, he may still like it because it will refresh his childhood memories. I used to play Keen commander 13 yrs back. When I played it again 2 yrs back I still found it to be fun because I had played it as a kid & loved it.
     

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