Civilization IV is still one of the games I fire up regularly at home, using the excellent Dune Wars mod, but the fifth full game in the turn-based strategy series has never managed to capture my attention in similar fashion.
I always felt like something was missing and then I remembered that even the mighty Civ IV was not the best strategy title in its category until it got two expansions, Warlords and Beyond the Sword.
Therefore, I launched the Gods & Kings expansion for Civilization V with great hopes and so far, after a few hours of play, it seems to be a solid evolution of the core mechanics. Moreover, in the long term, the religion implementation might be one of the smartest things the series has done since moving to the one unit per tile system.
Religion is basically another way of pumping up your own civilization and creating a more specialized effort to reach the victory conditions that a player has chosen when setting up the game.
There are a lot of options when dealing with custom religions, especially when it comes to the secondary bonuses received when upgrading a religion, and some of the effects, like getting extra Research when spreading religion, seem to have the opportunity to become overpowered.
Espionage is less interesting and will probably have a smaller impact when it comes to the late game and it seems that Firaxis cannot make the concept work in any of its strategy titles.
I haven’t played enough to know whether the developers have really managed to improve the performance of the Artificial Intelligence, which was a disappointment in the original release. Yet, I have found that civilization seems to be more peaceful than ever (just one war till 1500 AC).
Worth a full Softpedia review? Yes