By Brian Belko

There is no “campaign” in Sid Meier’s latest iteration of the Civilization franchise. Instead, players simply choose a civilization through which they attempt military victories, create a world, and lead their chosen society from the primitive age to the distant future. The different, playable civilizations are each led by leaders from some point in their comparable history. These leaders offer players different unit bonuses for playing as that civilization. [text_ad]

Players should be careful in choosing their civilization, however. Do you want to use diplomacy to win through peace, or do you want to dominate your rivals through sheer military power and strategy? Fastidious gamers would do well to read each civilization’s bonuses carefully before choosing.

Diplomats Are Going to Have it Tough

The Civilization game series is often considered one of the best turn-based strategy games available, but it can also be difficult for new players to get the hang of. However, changes in the user interface for Civilization 5 make it one of the most user-friendly and approachable entries in the series to date. The amount of options available to players in Civilization games can quickly become overwhelming; thankfully, Civilization 5 provides players with intuitive menus and an advisory council of virtual experts to assist in your chosen path to glory. The changes to the gameplay have led to some downfalls in the game, however. One of the major complaints many players have—especially those seeking a diplomatic victory—is how aggressive enemy troops are on national borders. However, for players seeking to win via military action, this really is no problem at all. In fact, improvements to the combat systems and the graphics make a military victory one of the most satisfying ways to play the game.

Combat No Longer a Numbers Game

No longer is the emphasis of the combat experience placed on having a larger army than your foe. Instead, strategy takes a front seat: outwitting and out-strategizing opponents should satisfy gamers and military enthusiasts alike. The fact that each player develops their civilization from the ground up only contributes to a successful military excursion, mission, or campaign. The game rewards players for out-maneuvering and out-flanking enemies, and this is where the variety of different troop formations comes in very handy for this. It is also important to seal off vital choke points. All of these things lend to one of the most appealing combat systems in a Civilization game to date.

Craft the Game You Want

Civilization 5 gives strategy and military gaming enthusiasts the chance to craft the type of game they want to play instead of conforming to a concrete set of missions or objectives. That freedom, coupled with the almost unlimited replayability and the opportunity to create the exact type of civilization players desire, makes Civilization 5 one of the best turn-based strategy games to ever be released.