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Reviews of Civilization 5

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Chose, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Chose

    Chose King

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    I don't own Civ V and I have not played it. I joined these forums when civilization IV was coming out. For those of you who were here during that time, you will probably remember a lot of hate for Civ IV when it came out. People hated the "cartoon" graphics, they complained about the new combat system, they complained about all the bugs, pretty much anything new or different someone would have a complaint about. Some said Civ III would always be the remembered as the best in the series, and that it would always dominate the forums. But as time wore on, patches and expansions game out, and Civ IV has proved itself to be a great game, it took over the forums, and I think it is much better game than Civ III. It is a much more deep rich game, with religions, civics, land improvements, variable tech tree, promotions and much more.

    Now that I have been here for another release it does not surprise me that Civ V has gotten a lot of negativity. I think this is common for a new release, especially from a community that loves the old game and probably does not want to see change (not to mention the whole steam thing). It is funny because I specifically remember several people saying that Civ IV just gets boring after a few weeks/month, and that Civ III never got old. Now the same thing is being said, just replace Civ IV with Civ V and Civ III with Civ IV. However, there does seem to be more of a negative vibe than Civ IV got.

    All that being said, I just don't understand the huge difference in the opinions of the players and professional reviewers. Civ V has received universal acclaim from the professionals. All the big name gaming sites gave positive reviews. But there is huge negativity from amazon reviews and from these forums. Furthermore, if you look at user ratings from metacritic or ign, they are somewhere in between.

    I said all this to lead into my two questions:

    1.) Why is there such a big discrepancy of the reviews of professionals and the opinions of regular gamers?

    2.) Do you think the hate will dwindle away as it did for Civ IV, or is Civ V truly a bad game?
     
  2. masonryan

    masonryan Chieftain

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    1. most reviewers only play the game for a limited amount of time ex they only scratch the surface if you only play civ 5 for 8 hrs you may think its an ok game. The people that bought the game most know its crap

    2.no civ 5 is striped down, and dumbed down to its core there just is not much that can be done they could add a killer expo but that is clearly not what they want civ 5 to be they want it to be civ rrev 2.0
     
  3. Xenobenignitas

    Xenobenignitas Chieftain

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  4. War_Pig

    War_Pig Warlord

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    Isn't there a Demo out there somewhere? Just saying might want to check it out.
     
  5. Barbarian King

    Barbarian King Prince

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    Having only played Civ5 a little so far, my opinion is this: I am really liking Civ5 as a game, not so sure if I am liking it as the successor to Civ4. I think that might explain the discrepancy between reviewers and gamers, one set is looking at it as just another game (so it looks really good) while the other is looking at it as the next installment of the civilization franchise (so opinions will vary widely based on which direction people wanted the series to take).
     
  6. Bad Brett

    Bad Brett King

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    I must confess that I thought that Civ IV was rather boring at first, mostly because there were too few things to build. But all they needed to do was to add a few new traits, a few new units and the unique buildings... After that I was never bored again.

    However, Civ V can't be saved simply by adding more content, because the core mechanics are so heavily broken that I'd say it would be better to start over completely than trying to save this ugly cousin.

    Civ V was designed to be a tactical war game; It's just ridiculous to claim anything else. Shafer himself has been very clear with that he finds the building aspect to be rather boring compared to the war aspect:

    - Hexes/1upt --> Tactical combat
    - Tactical combat --> Increased production costs
    - Puppet states --> Less city management
    - Increased importane of gold --> Less importance of city planning, increased importance of war
    - No foreign trade routes/no war weariness --> No penalty for waging war
    - No religion --> No peaceful way for preserving peace

    I can understand if people enjoy this game in the same way as they enjoy PG, but as a Civilization game, it's garbage.
     
  7. Michl2602

    Michl2602 Warlord

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    I have to say, that I like most things in 5 much better than in 4, which could have to do something with the fact that I like war.

    What I absolutely don't like are some consequences of the "1 unit per square"-rule, when some is not at war. Why does it make it complicated to even get settlers or other workers through, when you have some other workers working your road somehow? Why is a GG not a military unit, but blocked by workers (or settlers?, forgot exactly what)?
    This rule should only be in use, when there is a war going on. In all other cases this implementation is just junk.

    But for the rest: Great game, thank you!
     
  8. Biz_

    Biz_ Prince

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    professionals are not experts

    the people who review games for a living are by no means competent or knowledgeable
     
  9. lschnarch

    lschnarch Emperor

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    1) So-called "big titles" tend to get better reviews from "professional reviewers".
    There are a lot of reasons for this. Starting with the reviewer sometimes not being really familiar with the genre, it continues with the fact the "big titles" are typically issued by companies who are doing a lot of advertising too. Ever wondered, why your nation's big car companies are getting good critiques?
    Then there are all the means of modern marketing: the reviewer is rewarded by invitations, "pre-release information" and whatnotmore for his critique. Well, it the critique can be tolerated by the issuing company.
    And finally, it's the anticipation of the fans which has to be taken into account.
    Prior to release, even here only a very small minority was willing to accept the slight indications that the combat AI might be weak. Most plainly neglected such comments; in the best case they said: "Ah, this is a pre-release version, it will be improved for release or with the next patch!"

    2) Civ4 was (rightfully) criticized for the ATI-bug, the memory leak and the typical bunch of bugs. The "suicide siege weapons" were a matter of critique, too.
    And the hunger for computing resources (3-d).
    But the main concept, the main design decisions weren't put into question, as far as I remember.
    Firaxis never needed to change core design elements of Civ4.

    With Civ5, it is completely different. Bugs and the hunger for computing resources are complained about, yes.
    But in general the core design decisions are put into question.

    The diplomacy system already had to be completely altered; and it is still not tolerable.
    People are praising that the SoD's have gone, but are still not satisfied with "1upt". Literally every third posting starts with "I really like 1upt. Best decision ever. I just don't want it to be '1upt' for military units of the same type/workers/workers and great persons/whatever".
    The list could go on and on and on. The forum is full of these and similar complaints.

    Regarding the user acceptance:
    If you look at the user ratings, the vast majority of the higher ratings are from the first days.
    People were excited about having something new.

    This has changed considerably. Meanwhile, we're more and more presented with the opinion "this game has potential". Sounds good at first glance, yet is the worst what you can say about a game.
    A game which has to be praised for "having potential" has not yet delivered. We are four months past release. Still, we have to wait for the "potential" coming to live.

    Bottom line:
    The core design has been ruined. It cannot be saved.
    Maybe once the game may become decent, but it will not have much in common with the version which was initially released, as you can see by the helpless attempts of improving the "diplomacy".

    As Bad Brett has stated above, it would be better to stop any attempts to reanimate this thing and to concentrate on Civ VI.
     
  10. radiohodet

    radiohodet Chieftain

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    The people who hates civ 5, coming to this forum every day to tell everyone how shallow it is, how broken it is, and how awesome civ 4 is in comparion on the other hand: Those are the experts!

    Isn't that human nature? Everyone who agrees with yourself are experts, the rest have no idea what they are talking about?

    I don't think the opinion between the players and reviewers are that different. The handful of people coming here in every thread saying the same things over and over again, claiming it's some universal truth makes it seems like that. Good for them I suppose. But I don't really understand why they bother to spam every thread in a forum about a game they hate so much. I guess that's the internet for you.
     
  11. esemjay

    esemjay Prince

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    Chose,

    In short, the answer is both yes and no.

    I read a lot of positive and negative reviews before purchasing the game, but I wanted to give it a chance beyond just reading reviews that I may not agree with.

    After the initial purchase, I realized that the game has a lot of flaws. The AI doesn't seem to be able to competently perform even the most basic of tasks, the diplomacy changed from Transparency to Mystery, and 1UPT is a system that definitely takes getting used to. Let me elaborate on these points, as these are the most likely to drive away a potential buyer; or to give a new purchase buyer's regret.

    Incompetency

    The Combat AI seems to have the same exact motion script as Civ4. While this sounds relieving, you must remember that the AI in Civ4 was very prone to stacking units- a practice that has become impossible in Civ5 without the use of mods. Units are more expensive, so the AI throws less units at you. Cities can defend themselves without the use of a military unit, so the AI will often throw their entire military at you in groups of 2-5; however, the AI will not engage a target without a "reasonable" chance of victory.

    While this all sounds logical, you often get left with a predictable chain of events. The AI will declare war on you, and you may not ever see their military if you don't go to their territory. If you do see them in your territory, and you have a unit of comparable strength, they will not attack it in your borders. Why? Because of the "cultural" defense you get gives the AI a less-than-favorable chance of winning the fight. You may wind up steamrolling enemy units as long as you never leave your territory, effectively farming experience. Eventually, the AI will run out of units and you can decimate their territory with minimal resistance- so long as you have a siege engine of some sort, and even average infantry.

    Diplomacy

    The AI still does not have an overall strategy, but has integrated the "Do not let the player win" thought process. This brings out the flaws in Diplomacy rather well.

    In previous installations of Civ, you could be well along the path to victory, and still have friendly civilizations. In Civ5, your victory progress seems to directly factor into your diplomacy. If you are leading in score, you are on the path to win a Time Victory- in which case, you can expect to be "Denounced". Denouncement is the replacement for a "Pact of Secrecy", with a more nefarious effect. A Pact of Secrecy you may never know about, unless you are one of the parties involved. It basically brings two civilizations together by mutual hatred of a third civilization. That was all well and good; however denouncement takes this a step further. Suddenly, a civilization that dislikes you can announce that hatred to the world- instantly, negatively and significantly affecting your relations with other civilizations.

    What makes this system worse is the fact that denouncement can be done without provocation. If Civilization A asks you to denounce Civilization B, you are put in a situation where you basically have to denounce them. If you are friends with Civ B, it makes that situation even worse. You can either denounce Civ B, lose the friendly status, and get marginal benefit with Civ A and massive negativity from anyone who likes Civ B; OR you can refuse to denounce your friend, Civ B, and Civ A will denounce YOU- causing you to lose relations with Civ B due to them not wanting to associate with someone who has been denounced.

    I'm sure you can see why this is aggravating. You cannot win with diplomacy, because the game will happily put you in a lose-lose relationship. The vast majority of the time, you are better off shoveling money into the City States and pressing "I have no interest in this arrangement" whenever the AI wants something.

    One Unit Per Tile (1UPT)
    This is the mechanic that, more than anything else, is a "love it or hate it" feature. 1UPT, as the name suggests, limits you to leaving only 1 unit on any given tile. The nuances in the rule, and the AI's apparent inability to utilize the system effectively is what makes this "hated".

    The 1UPT is broken out into 3 basic groups. Firstly, you have combat units; this group includes infantry, artillery, ships, etc. Basically, anything that can "put a hurtin'" on the enemy. I will elaborate on the second group in a moment. The third group is Aircraft. Bombers and Fighters can still be stacked within a city or on an aircraft carrier. They aren't actually on the map. Clicking them will not show them as existing on the map. So they do not follow the 1UPT. These are all well and good, and most players can accept these two.

    The problem emerges when you see how Group Two operates. Group two includes literally everything else in the game. Workers, Great Generals, Great Artists... everything. Yes, a worker can block your great general- but not the convoy he is "attached" to. If you can call it attached- you can't use your Great General to give XP anymore; instead, they give a bonus to all troops within a radius. The issue, however, is the fact that the rule seems incomplete. Like, at the last moment, developers got lazy and just said "Alright, everything else goes here."

    The other problem is that the 1UPT causes what many people describe as "traffic jams." If you have 2 moves per unit, and the AI blocks a chokepoint on 2 tiles... you can't go there. You HAVE to embark, which makes you vulnerable. If they are neutral, you REALLY can't go there, because there is no way to expel a neutral unit that has fortified within your borders (other than waiting for an open borders agreement to expire).

    The AI's inability to handle 1UPT effectively, while simultaneously "Screwing you" out of being able to freely move your units around in your OWN territory was a major design oversight.


    Rebuttals
    However- after 300hrs of play in Civ5, there are several things that I find I dislike in Civ4, now. The AI's incompetency is fixable. It'll take actual work on the part of a modder or, hopefully, Firaxis; but it CAN be done. There have been several suggestions on what can be improved in order to provide a military foe that doesn't commit Operational Seppuku at the start of every war.

    The diplomacy CAN be fixed. They tried to make it more complex and fluid, and made it terrible. Diplomacy was better before they replaced "Pact of Secrecy" with "Denouncement". I think this is an opinion most players would agree with. You could get a feel for who your friends and enemy's were, and your relations couldn't be immediately and permanently tarnished by one civilization who's still holding a grudge for that one worker you stole during a war they declared over 2000 years ago. If they removed Denouncement, put a restriction on how it can be used, or if it boosted relations with other civ's that have been denounced by the same player ("The enemy of my enemy"), the system wouldn't be so horribly flawed. All of these are doable; as it stands, there are just too many ways to LOSE relation points, and too few way to RECOVER them.

    1UPT can be retrofitted; even if it's just to "2UPT" or "Can occupy tiles with neutral units", or some stacking rule that provided a combat penalty to stacked units- to allow efficient movement of troops, while still making 1UPT favorable for attacks. There have been several suggestions to improve 1UPT, many of which are both feasible and remain true to the spirit of the mechanic. Many people like it for the "Tactical" nature of the mechanic- allowing you to actually plan troop movements and such. The main fall where this occurs, is the AI's inability to effectively utilize this mechanic- again, fixable.

    So, in closing- the answers to your questions are:

    The split reviews are based on the relative tolerance of the reviewer. Some people feel that 1UPT makes the game less fluid, others claim that 1UPT is an improvement to war-fighting. Most people concur that the Diplomacy is awful right now, and Firaxis makes it continuously worse. Some people respond by going back to Civ4, some people respond by ignoring major civilizations in diplomacy, others seem to be able to effectively manage diplomacy in Civ5, although the third group is an astounding minority. Some people feel that AI is so awful that it could never be fixed without overhauling, or that fixing it is beyond the scope of what the average computer is capable of.

    The game is, in my opinion, fixable. A lot of people genuinely enjoy Civ5, even if it feels like a completely different game than Civ4; as evidenced by the reviews. There are a lot of people who dislike the game right now, who will tell you the parts that make it a poor experience for them. The loudest group are the people who hate the game with a passion that drives them on a sort of gaming-crusade against Civ5, largely due to the feeling of disappointment that they feel to be below the standard for a "Civ" game.

    The short is, if someone says they hate Civ5, and provide legitimate evidence, I suggest taking that information into consideration. They may have a point- if you couldn't handle what they describe, you shouldn't get the game. If they provide subjective, or even (in some cases) NO evidence, I would suggest disregarding this information. If they provide a positive review, remember that the things you dislike are what drive you away from a game. Legitimate, Negative reviews are what you should pay attention to.

    -- Esemjay
     
  12. DaveGold

    DaveGold Emperor

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    Professional reviewers need promotions, interviews, articles, and previews from games companies. Producers want good reviews. They work together and if a reviewer gives bad reviews they get cut off by the producer. It's the same in any industry.
     
  13. civfan99

    civfan99 Chieftain

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    also regular reviewers are more likely to give low or high scores based on just "Likeing" or "disliking" the game. My suggestion is that you check a few well written reviews in favor of the game and a few well written reviews against the game then draw your own conclusion from that as far as the demo suggestion someone gave the demo is limited to 100 turns and can be misleading most of the things wrong with the game you wont think of in just 100 turns.
     
  14. ezwip

    ezwip Prince

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    1.) They appear to be grading the game on a different scale. It seems more from an industry perspective than that of a gamer. For this reason I no longer trust their critiques. Ex. A successful game to them is something you play for two hours or more. Civilization even when hated is going to generate hours of play just to finish a complete game. As they see it that is a victory.

    2.) Civ V is truly a bad game.
     
  15. civfan99

    civfan99 Chieftain

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    this is true along with the fact that I doubt they have time to play games for more than 20hrs given a 40hr work week that would only allow for two games, my guess is they do 4 reviews a week and work around 50hrs, not enough time to see all of civ 5's flaws at first when your playing civ 5 your like cool then after about 30hrs for me its like oh this game is crap. Also you can take into account some of the reviewers may not have been fans of the civ series I have seen action games get low scores because the reviewer just like sports games.
     
  16. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

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    1.) Because fans play Civ5 for longer than a few hours, are not paid for their time, have no vested financial interest in staying in the good graces of a major publisher, and actually have to buy their own copy of the game. While fans are generally likely to make a Day 1 purchase based on their longtime appreciation of a favorite franchise, they are also far more prone to feeling betrayed and taken advantage of when that product does not live up to its perceived reputation. Also, professional reviewers will generally give positive reviews to any AAA title from a major developer that has a distinguished history. Fans are less likely to let those factors affect their evaluation of the product once they've had some time with it.

    2) I think the hate will dwindle, but not because the game will be improved significantly - more likely because people will just stop caring and will move on to other empire-building games that offer more depth and content. Firaxis can definitely continue to nickel-and-dime their fanbase with overpriced DLC offerings (just $10 USD for four mediocre maps!) and add content that way, but fundamental design problems are unlikely to be corrected with DLC. A couple very robust expansions or content patches could rescue the game, but a year from now, how many fans are going to want to gamble $30 more to see if Civ 5 becomes the game they thought they bought for $60 in September 2010?
     
  17. civfan99

    civfan99 Chieftain

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    that puts it really well once you get further into the game it just feels like it lacks depth. I hope an expansion can save it but it does not look like that is the direction they plan on taking the civ franchise.
     
  18. masonryan

    masonryan Chieftain

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    no they do have a point civ 5 is a broken game with many poorly implamented features.
     
  19. esemjay

    esemjay Prince

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    Some of the things I felt they removed that they should not have removed are things that I took for granted in Civ4.

    For example: Recon Missions. Anyone who doctrinally uses Paratroopers understands the benefit of the Recon Mission. Scout ahead with aircraft, drop in your paratroopers, block supply lines and pillage improvements. The weak, "All aircraft now have 6 tiles of visibility" is such a poor replacement that I didn't even know that was a buff until I went looking around to see if the recon mission was hidden.

    When is the last time you put an aircraft on a border city? There's no reason to do it. Even if you just performed a naval assault, you have one of two situations:

    1. You didn't bring any aircraft with you, and pulled off a naval assault with assistance from your coastal bombardment. If this is the case, you probably don't use aircraft anyways; and you probably won't use them until you get inland. Even then, you may have even brought along some artillery.
    2. You brought an Aircraft Carrier along, and can therefor leave your aircraft in (relative) safety on the carrier until you can no-longer reach the cities you are trying to hit.

    So, the 6 tiles of visibility becomes moot- leaving you with NO ISR capability. I always feel like I'm going to war blind, because I now have no way to scout terrain without "leapfrogging" paratroopers to reveal an area.

    A lot of the flexibility has been lost in the new installment. My opinion, OP, is that if you feel that the game is "iffy"... wait. If an expansion comes out, or patches come out, and the community accepts Civ5... then buy it. Right now, it's probably a gamble.
     
  20. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    This is a really good analysis, especially since I thought Esemjay was a big Civ V supporter. I'm not so sure the AI is as "fixable" as he says though, for combat at least. It will take a much more radical approach than a simple mod to fix. Maybe Firaxis will be willing to modify the 1UPT somewhat, but I don't think so, especially since it would be humiliating for them to do so.
     

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