Oct 20, 2013

Short review: Civilization V - Brave New World

Disclaimer: This review is written by a Civ fanatic with a critical eye on its features.

The Brave New World DLC adds a few noteable updates to Civilization V.

You now get a different method of cultural victory, using your superior culture to spread your nation's culture through a new resource called tourism, to the other civilizations.  If the other civ's own cultural developments can not keep up with your pop culture, you win.  Contrary to marketing, this is not a new feature, but a replacement for the old Utopia culture win.  That aside, it makes the culture race much more interesting with civs now having an offensive and defensive stat to compete in for culture.

Culture is a powerful thing
Major Social policy overhaul:  BNW adds Ideologies upon reaching the industrial age, where you'll choose to follow Order, Freedom, or Autocracy.  You'll need to pick this wisely as your civ's happiness can easily be swayed by other civilizations if their orders are proving influential.  Policies overall are completely redone, and the just recently released Civ V fall patch changed it up even more.

Congress:  There is now a world congress which forms quite early in the game, compared to the G+K United Nations congress.  The world congress will not enable diplomatic victory, but there is a lot of very powerful choices to propose and vote for/against, which can turn tables completely.

Diplomats:  Your nation's spies can now infiltrate other civilizations dressed as diplomats.  They can not steal techs, but they have other uses...

Trade Routes:  Introduces new units for land and sea trade caravans. These are completely defenseless units which you can send to other civilizations or city states on frequent trade missions to bolster your economy.  In addition to income, these routes will also leak science and religion based on which cities are the most developed, so pick your routes carefully. And for the love of [religion], pick your routes carefully so they're not ransacked by barbarians.

New civs: Nine of them. Poland, Brazil, Assyria, Zulu, Portugal, Indonesia, Morocco, Venice, Shoshone and Ethiopia.  They're all good.  More civ flavour, what's not to like ?

Wonders: 8 new and returning wonders are now available for construction including hits like the Parthenon, Broadway and the Globe Theater.

Scenarios: Scramble for Africa and American Civil War.  I've played a couple games on Scramble for Africa, it is a really good and fairly open scenario that lets you do what you want (and fail of couse) in the race to civilize Africa.  I haven't played the Civil War scenario yet.  May update this review when I have.  But Scramble for Africa is really good!

War. War never changes.
This post is so far just a long list of DLC features, but what do I think of them ?   From a balance standpoint, culture is now much stronger and will happily steal a win versus science or conquest if given the chance.  Tourism is a good new resource, but it has no means of countering meaning players will always want to get as much as they can of it, always, this is helped by very strong tourism bonuses given through policies and ideology.  If you want to win non culture now, you really race against the clock.  This is of course balanced by the civs going for this win having slower tech and military. It usually plays out quite well.

I pretty much love all the new cilivizations.  Won't spoil anything. I think they're all very solid, add flavour and gameplay variety and make Civ V a richer experience, not a bad word to say about them.

I'll be honest, trade routes need some revising.  If you're lucky, you'll have a central placed, quickly growing city with good connections to send routes to. If so, you're in the money.  If you're not, you will fall FAR behind.  If you got your routes going and other civs don't, you can ally every citystate easily, but if you don't you're not going to be able to make a purchase, almost ever.  I like the feature, but it desperately needs balacing. As it is now, being able to set up a good trade city wins or loses the game.  This is somewhat evened out by the fact barbarians LOVE to ransack trade routes, forcing you to rebuild them frequently if you have risky routes going, but this once again makes an early city with safe routes for caravans that much stronger.

 Everything summed up, it is really hard to argue against Brave New World. It adds so much stuff, on every level.  Not all of it is in my subjective opinion good, true, but it really can not be argued that this DLC adds depth on every level of the game, and for that, I can only recommend you to get Brave New World if and when you can. It makes your Civ V better, just like Gods and Kings does (get that too btw).  Every Civ V player who enjoys their game should get this upgrade, which is unfortunate to say about a DLC, but I choose to treat "Gods and Kings" as well as "Brave New World" as expansion packs.


Mandatory if you like Civ 5 and want to expand your experience.
Pass or get on a sale, if the game is not a big deal to you.
Pass if Civ 5 doesn't do anything for you, it adds more of everything, sure, but it's probably not going to change your opinion about the game.

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