Civ V keeps the hex grids and city building we all loved in Civ IV, but adds gorgeous new graphics, new diplomatic options and city-states. One major change from previous Civ versions is the end of the unit stack. You’ll no longer be able to pile up every possible unit into a killer stack and then march over to fight your enemies. Instead, ranged weapons have been introduced to combat. You’ll still have diplomatic routes to make peace or to demand tribute. Once you’ve captured an enemy city, you’ll have the usual options to take it over or raze it, and a new option of installing a puppet leader to keep the citizens happy and also receive resources from your new friend.
Game demonstrators used the nuke on Montezuma, because everyone agrees that he really is a jerk.
Other political leaders are shown in gorgeous cutscenes, subtitled from their native languages. Or ignore the animations and just declare war. I couldn’t get a list of national leaders who’ll be featured in Civ V, but I was promised that they range from the famous to the obscure across world cultures.
Civ V will also include city-states, a new form of NPCs somewhere between the barbarian states found in Civ IV and the other AI or player-controlled nations. Players will be able to make trade alliances with city-states, try to gain their votes in the UN for a diplomatic victory, or just fight them and take their stuff. Political relationships will become more complicated with the addition of city-states, since your relationships with city-states will affect your standing with nations. I wonder if I’ll be able to use my Civ superpower of making every other nation my ally.
Since I don’t like combat unless I’m forced to it (Why conquer cities when I can just let them revolt and join my glorious empire on their own?), I was pleased to see new options for diplomatic, science and culture victories. For a science-track victory, spaceship parts are physical entities that need to be moved and assembled in one place. Civ V includes a new stat of Piety, which will work in conjunction with religion founding to affect political and religious relations, and therefore, the cultural victory conditions. No word on whether that will make Isabella any easier to deal with.
The game will be available on the PC in September, 2010.
Oh, and the promo swag was a Civ Addicts Anonymous button. No more turns!