Civilization has been one of those series that never left my side since I first started playing them. I think I was 12 when I started playing the second one, with its somewhat simplistic graphics and unbalanced gameplay. It was terribly hard to get into at first: Mechanisms seemed complex and mystifying, but the appeal of leading your own civilization through time was so great, that I was able to surpass those starting problems. That's what Civ 2 looked like, back in the day. Simple, but very easy on your CPU/GPU, unlike the newer ones...
Many years later, I got my first hours on Civilization 5 as part of a review I had to write on it for the newspaper I do my reviews for. I was quite skeptical in my review back then, stating that I was worried that the simplified mechanics led to an overly superficial gameplay experience. I wrote that review after 25 hours of gameplay, but I was not sure, if I my impression of it, as mixed as it was, actually holds true after more time. So, what are my conclusions after 100 hours of gameplay?
First of all, yes, mechanics have been trimmed down quite a bit, in order to make the game accessible. Of course, that is not a bad thing at all. Does it really reduce my enjoyment of the game? Not really. Or rather, not anymore. One thing I had to get used to is, that I need to set up a higher difficulty for the game, to find it as entertaining as I found the fourth game. The AI in the game isn't really the brightest up until Prince difficulty. If it came to a war, I had absolutely no problem defeating three different opponents at the same time and getting huge deals out of those following peace treaties. That was way too unchallenging, and made Dominance Victories too easy to achieve.
Alternative victories are way more interesting in that perspective. While a cultural victory is just a grind-fest, political victories are the most interesting and hard to achieve ones of the bunch. Countless options and the new DLC help a lot to keep the motivation high, and there are mods, conveniently placed into a separate mode. It's no stretch for me to assume that I am going to arrive at 200 hours playtime too. All in all, I am surprised how well the game keeps up, even after those difficulties at the beginning.
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