Monday, July 22, 2013

Reviewing Civilization V: Brave New World

There's not much to say about Brave New World, the second expansion pack for Sid Meier's turn-based strategy goliath Civilization V. If you already play Civ V, you'll love Brave New World. If you don't, it won't make any difference to you. It's roughly the same thing I wrote about the game's first expansion, Gods & Kings.

Managing trade routes

That's not to say Brave New World is unremarkable. If you play Civilization, it's a must-buy. Brave New World adds a ton of depth to an already-deep experience. Developer Firaxis Games has overhauled Civ's culture, diplomacy, and trade mechanics, which is great news for peaceful players like me who want to win matches without resorting to military might.

But the sexiest of the additions, as always, are the new playable civilizations. There are nine: Assyria, Brazil, Indonesia, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, the Shoshone, Venice, and the Zulus. A well-rounded representation of countries from around the world, this brings the total civilization count of Civilization V to an impressive 43.

Archeologists are new units who can excavate "antiquity sites" around the world to add to your culture

The new civs in Brave New World add vastly different play styles to the mix. Venice can't found new cities, and instead relies on buying out friendly city-states. The Shoshone focus on a small number of cities with huge swaths of territory. These civs totally change the dynamic of a match, and are a welcome addition to the tried-and-true Civ gameplay formula.

In a world of downloadable content, the idea of "expansion packs" is becoming outdated. Civilization V itself has had a number of bite-sized DLC packs since its initial release in 2010. In the rare occasion that games today have full-on expansions, it feels like a meaty dinner rather than the slim appetizer of DLC. Brave New World refines Civilization V so much, it's without a doubt the definitive way to play the Civilization series in 2013.

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