Here's an interesting take on the removal of religion from a reviewer on Rock Scissors Shotgun. http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/08/06/a-dozen-or-so-hours-with-civilization-v/ "Its alright. I promise. Its different, but its not especially distressing in practice. I miss religion most, and to the point that if I squint a bit I can picture an expansion pack-shaped hole in the game. Or maybe not, as what theyve done is try to build the raw concept of religion into over state and society ethos. Rather than having religions be a defining reflection of a city or civilizations nature, its now more that the overall civilizations have differing social attitudes dependent on how broadly religious you want them to be. So rather than trying to specifically create, say, a Jewish nation, you can pursue piousness, or you could pursue monarchy. Or you can pursue both. But if you try to pursue both piousness and liberalism youll struggle. All of this is done through, essentially, a second tech tree, which is unlocked as your civilization pumps out more culture. "Its less nebulous than the old way the effects of being more or less religious spelled out clearly, rather than splintered between an array of different faiths that can unlock a slew of different but similar upgrades. You pursue a generalised social ethos, and that can involve being a despot, or a benevolent environmentalist, or a feudal faith-head, or a combination of them all. Cultural victory is accomplished by completing six of the social tech trees, but instead you could cherry-pick the most useful (to you) policies from all over them as a helping hand to another type of victory. "The loss of religion will annoy people, there is no doubt about that. But I honestly think its more reflective of how religion works in society than the bitty, fiddly multi-faith approach of before. Its not a magic bit bolted onto the side: it absolutely underpins a cultures attitude to itself and to the world. "Plus, I like that developing my nations socio-political structure is now an ongoing strategy, with a specific goal in mind, rather than constituting sudden hard-shifts to something that offers a more useful bonus. Though I do miss the old games revolutions whenever you did a sudden about-face on your fundamental approach to human existence. Thousands of tiny voices yelling WTF?"