Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Afforess, Sep 28, 2010.
Not without the Source code.
Excellent review! The game clearly needs ALOT of tweaking, and unfortunately all you modders have to do it
I'd say this review is pretty spot-on.
Great post. I will add my name to the list of those who agree with your suggestions.
I also find that One AI seems to beat up on the others and since I have only played continents, I discover that one civ dominates and if there are even any other civs left, they are basically city-states. Which is disappointing to me.....That said, I have only played 2 games, but the result is still the same.
Wait, what list?
I've played 4 games on continents, and this has happened all 4 times. It's also happened both times that I've played Pangea, though in those cases I stepped in earlier to stop the AI since I was nearby.
Anyways, great review. A few thoughts to add:
War - What you said about the AI starting strong and then eventually having its spine broken once you hold off the first wave is definitely true. However, I think it's also worth mentioning that later in the game on Immortal and Deity (not ancient era, where they still suck), the AI has so many units that it takes a really, really long time to break its first "push" and get to the point where you start rolling over cities. In fact it can take so long that you end up holding a single position, killing dozens of Riflemen or Mechanized Infantry with your fortification for several hours, but never losing any units since all of your guys have 800+ experience and you have plenty of siege shelling the chokes. And then after fighting for so long, eventually the AI will just seems to go bankrupt and you swarm forward crushing everything with ease.
Happiness - I don't think that the AI is ignoring happiness, and moreover you don't *need* to ignore happiness to create a massive global empire. If you look closely, most of the cities the AI has are puppets. Moreover, when a "People who like to smile the most" notification pops up, the AIs are usually at like +40 happiness due to massive bonuses. As a human player, it's quite possible to get empires that large if you annex carefully, build courthouses, and have most of your non-core cities spend the whole game alternating between building colosseum-type buildings and market-type buildings to cover happiness and maintenance. I just finished an Immortal game on a Huge Earth map, where I had all of NA, SA, Africa, Europe, and half of Asia, with maybe 50 cities by the end, and almost always had both positive happiness and positive gpt. At any rate, it's tricky, but if you manage it well you don't have to ignore happiness, and I'm pretty sure that's what the AI is doing (in combination with getting big bonuses). I certainly agree with you that there needs to be a penalty for extreme unhappiness, though, so I'm just nitpicking on some details here.
City States - I'm not sure why you mention burning a city state to the ground and replacing it with one of your own. If the AI captured a city state and you re-take it, liberating it is almost always the best course of action. I don't feel like you should be attacking city states in the first place, unless you're doing it to please another rival city state.
Besides those two points, this review captures most of my feelings on the game. I especially like how your review feels critical but at the same time constructive, unlike many of the reviews which seem to hate Civ 5 just to hate Civ 5. Excellent review!
Also, I'll add that I really loved your Civ IV RoM mod, and hope you some day make something as awesome for Civ 5
Afforess. Excellent review. My tuppenorth is to underline how 'cluttered' the game feels now graphically-speaking. Particularly annoying for me is that I can't actually distinguish between a road hex and railroad hex without mousing over.
You're a far more generous reviewer than I would be. When I heard there was no religion just a few minutes ago, I pretty much gave up on the game completely. Removing wonders or military or diplomacy would be less of a loss than religions.
But on its own, while the map features are obviously pretty and such, it IS much harder to actually see the stuff on the map. The whole strategic view is something that Civ4 wouldn't have even needed.
Playing this, I feel the way I did when I first tried Civilization III, wondering why my city was on fire for a thousand years nonstop, and why it took what felt like 10,000 years to research the wheel
EDIT: Also, I thought nothing of the rivers in terms of appearance... until I looked at the ocean it poured in to. Huge shatter of immersion; it literally looks like a long line of sky blue paint across the landscape
I hope you never get in contact with any iteration prior to Civ4. You'd faint or something.
Wow, afforess your post was an absolute success. Brilliant Review
I myself only played the demo, and already experienced most of your opinions.
Of course if i owned the game i would play a lot longer( damn the 100 turn limit). However i still see Civ4 as really more interesting replay value, with the mods and all( yours of course, at the top).
Well written review, you seem to really know what your talking about, but here's one thing that I think a lot of reviews miss and that's what a score for a game like this should be. We expect 60% scores for games like Aragons (sp) Quest or yearly games like Madden but for a game that only comes out once a decade anything less than I'd say a 90 score should be considered unacceptable.
Civ is a good game there's no question and the expansion packs that we all know are forthcoming will make the game even better. But there are serious issues with this game and these issues need to be addressed. Hopefully the tepid reaction of the fans will spur Firaxis to get on the ball and fix the game up.
I do agree and suggest a graphic option making all the unit as a single unit instead of a bunch of it.
This option exist in civ IV vanilla and I always loved it. The unit get much bigger, more visible, no confusion.
The price to pay is a combat animation less attractive (1 vs 1) and the health barre has to be check since there is no thickness of a bunch any more giving a clue.
I appreciate the quality and many clever points of view of this review.
Affo is a very respectable expert on civ at its deeper layers. Everybody knows it.
But the final cote is to be friend whith Faraxis ? Good play
I still believe that this new release is a kind of joke. Insane bugs ( not just a few ) and the features closer of civI than civIV, and we know why. The full game will be sold piece by piece. Each pieces will be called expansions !
This is why you design a game system that allows for a simpler AI if you don't have the resources to design for a more complex game system. I don't understand why the Civ series has always insisted on doing things the hard way. Combat on the strategic map with units that represent pieces of armies that would have always fought in groups within a small portion of a single tile has always been a bad idea. Civ 4 actually moved in the right direction with its SoDs, but that was poorly implemented too.
Let me see if I can anticipate a likely counterpoint:
Civ is primarily an empire building and management game, not a wargame.
I agree that it certainly should be. Being a wargamer since the early 1970s I've always hated warfare in every game in the series. The scaling in time and space has always been awful (world war two would take hundreds of years to fight, you cannot build, move or fight nearly fast enough to even vaguely simulate reality in any era). This has been compounded by units that represent weapon systems (ie pieces of armies) rather than the armies that would make some sense on the strategic map. Only Civ 4 made an attempt to get this right, but the insistence on forcing you to offer up your units one at a time made combat both unrealistic and completely a function of attrition. Why go to all that trouble? Attrition can be simulated with a lot less fuss, and what's more it is a lot easier to write good AI for it when it is simplified.
Either allow for mini-map tactical combat (doesn't need to be as complex as Total War, hell even the old board game Titan or Heroes of Might and Magic had worthy and very simple tactical combat systems), or conversely admit that this is a strategic game and that tactical combat has no real place in a game with this sort of time and distance scale. Civ's middle way just doesn't work in terms of adding rather than detracting from the game. Scrapping pseudo-tactical combat would allow a lot more room for empire management and heretofore almost completely neglected aspects of real empire management like internal politics, which historically soaked up an immense amount of time and effort on the part of emperors.
I think Civ4 was always a wargame to some extent. I have really enjoyed Rise of Mankind & Fall from Heaven2 mods.
I never played it that way, though obviously I had to fight some, typically early in order to get enough space. But the vast majority of the game for me was spent building and teching for various non-conquest / non-domination victory conditions. I never got around to playing any of the mods either, despite several hundred hours of time spent playing Civ 4. I heard they were good, but the game was deep and re-playable enough (with the expansions) that I never felt as though I had mastered it.
From what I'm reading here Civ 5 isn't going to really allow me to avoid combat enough to focus on the management while still remaining interesting. I play Civ to build stuff and make my brain hurt from trying to balance various strategies and actions vs their opportunity costs. There are a lot of strategy games out there that do a much better job simulating military strategy, combat and economics than the Civ series has done. If I want to play a wargame, I'll play one of those. Civ has thus far been unique in its scale and focus, and I'm worried that Civ 5 is losing that focus.
Personally I think part of this problem is the new smaller army sizes because of the 1UPT. Units take a lot longer to build cause you are expect to keep them alive. But it's really easy to focus attacks on taking the AI units down while suffering minimal damage yourself.
When the forces are wiped out because it takes so much longer to build units then the AI can not replace it's forces fast enough to put up any sort of fight. This combined with the fact that units move twice as fast as they did in previous Civs and you got a recipe for disaster.
Basically once you crush a persons front line unless they have some more troops in reserve you will be able to easily sweep through their lands and take everything. Against a player they can probably do a little better job of managing their troops but the problem still remains. They mess up and their pretty much out of the game since cities do a poor job of defending themselves and garrisons don't help much.
I really wish they had done something like that for global unhappiness. I thought Rev mod was one of the best mods out there and really did a good job of balancing things so it was hard to have a large empire. Not to mention it was fun all the new Civs joining mid game because of civil wars.
I never really considered ignore them. I always want their bonuses though not sure like you said if the gold trade off is worth it. Mostly I get them though because I like large cities so I have a lot of culture to expand my borders.
I do however notice the same thing that happened with civics. I tend to pick the same ones over and over because for the most part they are the best to suit my play style. If I change tactics though I might go for different policies just like in the old games where might pick a different civic. But part of the reason for the change was to make it not so linear. Not sure it does that too well.
Even if playing in strategic view didn't help improve my performance and reduce crashes I'd still play in it because of what you mentioned. Civ5 is not the only 4x game recently release that also has a "Simplistic icon style view". And personally I'm fine with that.
I've never been a big fan of this whole push to make 4x games in 3D. The problem is these are turn based strategy games on large maps with a lot of stuff going on. It's actually a lot easier for people to recognize icons then it is to recognize a bunch of 3d objects which can be seen at different angles, distances, locations, and etc.
It's like the old "Where is Waldo" books which had a ton of similarly dressed people scattered around the picture and it was hard to spot the real on. Well all the fancy 3D graphics and such are ending up doing the same thing to this game. Sure it's cool to see them in 3d for about a couple mins then you wanna get down to action.
I've gotten so use to strategic view now that when I first load it up and it's in "normal" view I can barely make heads or tails of it. because there is so much clutter on the screen. Which I like how in one of the dev videos they guy talked about getting a save from a friend and you can't tell anything at a glance so you go to "strategic" view and use all it's filtering options to get a better feel of what's going on. That right there should of told us something.
I can understand giving it a pass but I don't really agree. At first glance it does seem rather nice. But the more I play the more I find information lacking, like you mention regarding maintenance.
Also I find some of the layout choices to be rather bulky and a complete waste of space. Choosing what you city focuses on took up a tiny square in Civ4 about 1.5 the size of an icon. The new one takes up a huge section in the right side eating up close to maybe 1/12 the total screen.
The specialist in Civ4 also were limited by what buildings you had (unless you got a curtain civic) so that's not new even though I heard one dev in an interview claim it was. But now they have each building have it's own row with 1-2 spots to put a Specialist. When you have a lot of specialist buildings this can end up taking up 1/3 of the screen and you still have to scroll up and down to see them all. While before it was confined to a nice panel that took up maybe 1/9 the screen if even that in Civ4.
The building select takes up a HUGE amount of space at the lower left to show what is currently being built. While the build menu is smashed between it and the production display at the top. Far fewer items can be displayed because of this then in the previous Civ4 build menu layout. I find myself scrolling a lot more then I did back in Civ4 to try and find things late game. In fact I suspect this is the reason they forced the build order for each line of buildings like Monument goes to Temple and so on. To keep things off the build list so it remains easy to navigate.
All that was just from the city management screen. I can point out a ton in other areas as well but I think you get the point. I love the idea of making the interface sleeker and more stream lined. I just think they did a terrible job of it in many areas.
I enjoyed the review, but I have to take exception to your statement that "(The point of a review is to review the CONTENT of a game, not the LACK OF content. Therefore, Firaxis loses no points for removing unhealthiness, amongst other things.)"
This cannot be true. As an extreme example lets assume you were reviewing a new chess set. All the pieces were fantastic in size, shape, apperance, and quality. Unfortunately there were no bishops in the set! Under your theory the bishopless set would get a top rating as you are not here to review the "lack of content".
I would suggest that a large part of a review is on how the whole thing comes together. That, to steal a phrase, is the whole greater than the sum of the parts? To make such a determination it would be necessary to evaluate if all the necessary parts are there. So while I enjoyed the review I do think it reasonable, even necessary, to consider "lack of content" in a game review.
I understand (and am surprised no one brought up this point before). Basically, I'm not judging them on the lack of content, because the lack of content is not a problem the Civilization series faces. There were always plenty of choices, be it in the tech tree, social tree, or when choosing production.
Can't wait till the game gets ironed out with patches. I should not be wining Deity games.
Totally agree. Unfortunately, in the video game industry, a 60% is an A- on the curve.
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