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Civilization V Brave New World Review

Developer: Firaxis | Publisher: 2K Games
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 05/12/17 | Genre: Strategy

Sid Meier’s Civilization is one of the most well known strategy games of all time. The franchise has spawned countless sequels and appeared on a variety of platforms. However, deepest, most complex titles have only appeared on the PC and Mac platforms.  Sid Meier’s Civilization V brought the series in a new direction, taking away some of the most beloved strategies to redefine the strategy genre. While it was initially plagued by a few problems, Firaxis has worked tirelessly to create two groundbreaking expansions: Gods & Kings and the recently released Brave New World to finish their vision in creating the ultimate strategy game. The focus of this review will be on the changes Gods & Kings has brought to Sid Meier’s Civilization. 

I want to take a look at a few of the biggest changes to Sid Meier’s Civilization V that the Brave New World expansion pack has brought to the table.  The first I want to look at is the changes to the cultural victory. In the past, you could win the game, via the Cultural Victory, by adopting 5 social policies and starting the Utopia Project. This was difficult to defend against as the game would end if you finished the Utopia Project. Brave New World seeks to help fix this problem by getting rid of the relatively easy Cultural victory. When your civilization has important artists, writers, musicians, painters, etc, their works are shown inside your cities. This will lead to the rise in tourism which will give you a cultural advantage over other nations. Archeologists, however, can have their works built outside of your borders. This spreads your culture abroad. 

In order to win a cultural victory, your civilization has to actual impact the majority of other civilizations in your game world. This is done through your artists, archeologists, musicians, painters, etc. As you are seen as a cultural impact, you are getting closer and closer to a cultural victory. The biggest thing that the cultural changes bring is to keep players from winning the game in a relatively quick fashion. This was never the desire of Developer Firaxis when creating Civilization V.

Another big change in the Brave New World expansion is the Trade Routes via caravans and cargo ships. This was done, prior to Brave New World, by making agreements with other nations in the diplomatic screens. Trade routes bypass this and lets you make direct trades with other cities and city states. The caravans and cargo ships can also be attacked so you have to keep an eye on the path they are taking for their safety. You can even set up trade routes with other cities in your civilization to spread the resources you have and help spread it to the rest of your empire.  

On the subject of cargo ships, these can be a bit more difficult to protect. Barbarians and enemy fleets can patrol vast oceans in pursuit of their foes. Cargo ships make for a good excuse to build up a naval fleet so you can protect your investment in cargo ships you have in your fleet. This also, in return, gives you a great sense of what it takes to run a civilization as you can’t only concentrate on land and ignore the sea.

The final area I wanted to discuss is World Congress. Once you have researched the Printing Press, and met every other civilization in the game, the World Congress option will open up for you. Once you do this, the World Congress will meet every so often, after a random number of turns have passed, and you can talk about passing sanctions, resolutions, or even creating global projects. Players get votes from delegates received via alliances with other nations and city states.  As the game progresses, the World Congress will turn into the United Nations. This also places a great deal of importance on city states. They are the only ones who can call a session of World Congress. If you start destroying the city states, you will find sanctions placed on your army via global taxes. This can cripple you if you hope for military domination. They can also block your ability to get trade resources you need to flourish to punish your bad behavior.

An added bonus comes with eight new wonders of the world, a dozen new units, nine new civilizations, and two single player campaigns: The American Civil War and European Colonization of Africa. These add some great replayability to a game that already has an almost unlimited replay value. This is due mainly to the complete random nation to how each game is set up.

Civilization Brave New World is the kind of expansion that completely reinvents the original. In fact, I feel like instead of releasing a standalone package, this needs to be bundled with all previous content in one package for new consumers. If you don’t pick up Brave New World, you have no business playing Civilization V. It is necessary to complete the experience to the greatest strategy game ever released for any platform.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 07/18/13
ESRB Details: Rated for Drug Reference, Mild Language, and Mild Violence.

This is a strategy game in which players manage a nation from a single settlement to a prominent civilization. Players can develop their nation's culture and technology, manage its economic and social infrastructure (e.g., diplomacy, trade), and expand territory through military conquests. Combat with nations is presented from an overhead perspective, and military units are represented by small armies of soldiers on a gridded map. Battles include brief animations of sword fighting, gun fights, and vehicular combat, resulting in icons exploding, collapsing, or disappearing. Nuclear weapons can be developed and detonated over opposing nation's territories. Historically based text includes descriptions of violence (e.g., assassinations, murders, suicides) and a reference to the opium drug trade (e.g., 'where they could engage in extremely profitable business including the infamous opium trade.'). The word 'hell' also appears in text.
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