Civilization V puts history into perspective, all within its
beautifully encapsulated experience. It perfectly captures the glee of
discovering a new world, and the horrors of finding it already settled. It
replicates the paranoia of being surrounded by strangers, and the thrill of
conquering their lands. With Civilization V: Gods & Kings, Firaxis expands
on the formula established with the 2010 release with a hefty helping of new
additions, and while they don’t prove to reinvent the experience, they
certainly give fans an excuse to start some new expeditions through history.
Gods & Kings brings with it nine new playable
civilizations, over two-dozen new units, and a slew of buildings and wonders. There’s
also a completely new scenario called Empires of the Smoky Skies, which veers
away from reality in favor of a Victorian-era steampunk future filled with
airships and men in top hats. These additions are all wonderful, and flesh out
the minute-to-minute gameplay with new options, but they’re completely eclipsed
by the two largest bullet points on the box: the return of Religion and
Espionage, both of which found homes in previous incarnations but were left out
of the initial release of Civ V.
Religion finds its roots during the early years of founding
a new society, allowing civilizations to specialize in faith – a new resource
pool tied to many of the new abilities. After enough faith is gained you’re
able to form a full-fledged religion, which comes with customizable bonuses to
let you build the belief-system around your play style. Those looking to win a
game through might can buff their holy warriors and purchase units with faith,
whereas those interested in scientific or cultural victories can adapt their
religion to those.
But besides picking and choosing the passive buffs you want,
you’re also able push your religion onto others with Great Prophets and
Missionaries, who can be placed outside of cities to spread the good word.
Cities, too, passively spread it themselves, creating “pressure” on nearby
towns that slowly converts their people. This can have a nice domino effect,
and there is some fun strategy to attempting to convert a rival’s people to your
religion in hopes of being able to use your passive buffs against them.