Announced in early 2010, unveiled on the occasion of several previews rather promising, Civilization V has been a few months to bring together the expectations of a community of fans growing number who like to rewrite 6000 years of human history each new component. But also to attract a broader audience that Firaxis, Sid Meier's studio, is betting the change in continuity.
Reconcile the expectations of gamers, in perpetual demand of complexity, and those of novices, the simple evocation of turn-based is likely to alarm: this is still a big challenge, successfully met by one John Schafer. Lead designer on Civilization V, big fan of the franchise spent his time designing maps before being hired by the studio Firaxis and be entrusted with the key project. The goal? Refresh the series, allow it to evolve and return to modernity without losing its rich gameplay and sharp. To do this, John has inspired the work of his own vision user, which allowed him to restate certain game mechanics without betraying its spirit.
Civilization V offers two game modes: single and multiplayer, and centralized management of mods to facilitate the sharing, integration and use of tools and content developed by the community. This article will not address the multiplayer, it has been impossible to test. Suffice it therefore to lament the disappearance of the hot seat option which complemented nicely in the previous installment, offering online gaming and LAN. The single player mode lets you play on maps defined in terms of random variables or carefully parameterized by the care of the user. Size and type of map, number of opponents, starting age, level of difficulty, game speed, limit of rounds, timer, geographic and climatic conditions, resources ... : All - or almost - can be changed at will. Lovers of historical epics cons missed by the lack of campaign mode, which could afford to take in hand the destiny of a people in the scripted missions. Aztecs, French, Iroquois, Japanese, Persians, Romans ... : The game gives you a choice of eighteen civilizations, each led by a charismatic leader with its own personality and opening each one or two special abilities. Failing to qualify for specific objectives, found in the fifth episode of the conditions of victory that made the success of the above. They are now four in number: military (being the last to have a civilization capital), scientist (be the first to send a shuttle to Alpha Centauri), diplomatic (get a sufficient number of votes at the UN) and cultural ( adopt social doctrines enough to build the project Utopia). I will return in due course.
By then, the road is long for the player who starts the game with a small group of settlers and a unit of scouts drowned on the world map. This is an opportunity to see the evolution chart provided by V. Civilization Hope to attract new fans, the team at Firaxis should make a complete cosmetic facelift as the visual no end to be roughly dusted off since the first episodes. The work at the interface commands respect. Simple, elegant and effective, it highlights all the essential information includes the most detailed data in different retractable panels. A damn good notification system to display each alert to demand in order to avoid multiple windows. Integrated unobtrusively, the player aids (tooltips, tutorials, and advisers must Civilopedia) are obviously deactivated. The whole very pleasant to take in hand, only suffers from some minor criticisms, such as the need to click twice to access certain panels (the ones that discomfort can fall back on keyboard shortcuts) or unable to set the directions of the mini-map. The extent of visual improvement is also measured on the main board. Cloud cover which acts as the fog of war and the ugly textures of the landscape gradually fade early in the game to let you see the traces of human activity on the surrounding world. The animation unit is a continuation of the work on Civilization Revolution. Finally, the screens displaying diplomatic leaders modeled with special care and a touch of humor. All based on superb dynamic musical themes, adapted to each civilization.
In short, the veterans as the newcomers should enjoy this a very successful, serving a slightly modified gameplay mechanics that perpetuate proven. The game is played turn-based, with a system of action per unit per turn. After careful to explore the surrounding wealth, we must quickly establish and develop a first city (the capital) while beginning to explore the rest of the card. The exploration can identify new resources, to locate his opponents, but also to be the first to discover the ancient ruins and Wonders spread over the map (a novelty) to take advantage of the bonus awarded. Beside that, whatever victory condition in question, it should more than ever in Civilization V to carefully manage the economic component. Urban sprawl is indeed very slow (although it remains possible to push their boundaries a fee), which grows to take full advantage of the lower wealth around, knowing that the citizens can not exploit that land previously managed by workers. In doing so, it is possible to focus on the desired area: the development of culture extends the zone of influence of a city, the harvest of food encourages the growth of its population, the supply of gold fulfills the scientific research funds and accelerating technological breakthroughs. Recent opening access to new buildings and new units, they must be planned with great care. For that, you can consult at any time the tech tree, rich discoveries of 74 possible. Yes, it is much less than in the previous installment. But where are the missing past technologies?
In fact, technological discoveries are limited now only to technical progress. Economic progress, political and religious are now integrated into a new concept: the social doctrines - and this is probably just as well have distinguished the two components. These social doctrines are in the form of 10 trees, each dedicated to developing an aspiration (tradition, freedom, honor, piety, philanthropy, order, autocracy, rationality, equality and trade). Each tree has several branches to unlock, subject to a number of culture points, with different bonuses to boot. It was in complete unlocking five trees that the player can engage in the construction of the Utopia project, which represents the cultural victory condition of this opus. But beware, some conflicting doctrines can not be activated at the same time the functioning of social doctrines is still a bit shallow for our tastes to the extent that trends are not really taken decisive (no bonuses granted are accompanied 'no penalties). They seem primarily designed to facilitate a particular victory condition, with no significant effect on relations with other civilizations. It regrets in particular the disappearance of the religious and cultural influence, which is sorely needed. And since we are to discuss the cuts, what about the inability to adjust the tax rate, the overall management of the happiness of citizens, spies or even disappearance of the automatic conversion of land units in ships transport once deployed on the water? Fortunately, the user finds that some bias does not imply an impoverishment of the gameplay, with strategic depth is intact.
Because besides that, Civilization V marks the adoption of a hexagonal grid, folding a single click. This evolution is typical of a series rooted in board games and wargames, makes the map more realistic, more fluid movement and favorably alters the tactical combat. It must be said that the clashes have another significant change: the limitation to a single type of unit per box, which upsets the hawkish approach that had prevailed since the first game since it is now impossible to stack several military units to take advantage of the hexagon is more favorable (either automatically cede place to another). In the case of a seat, we must take great care to deploy a front-line and occupying the land without suffering the penalties that may be linked. This is not always obvious, even if the troops can take advantage of the hexagonal structure (which has six possible angles of attack, so two less than before) to support each other. Another novelty, another threat: the ranged attacks that some units may start (hopefully very vulnerable in hand-to-hand) over one or more hexagons. As for opposing cities, they fail to meet. They start by bombing any enemy unit stationed near them, then they defend themselves against any attack, even without a unit in garrison, the latter serving only to boost their firepower and hit points. The clashes are much more strategic than before. It is no longer produced in number of military units (including the construction has also been slowed down) and send them overwhelm a city opponent. Each unit must be cherished and micro-management is more than ever on the agenda.
That pacifists should not worry: the use of arms is only necessary when one of diplomacy has failed. It is possible to interact with other leaders to exchange property, negotiate secret agreements or undertake joint research. But novelty is a big shake up the diplomatic side of the game is the emergence of city-states on the world map. Get in touch with one of them can get a little gold. It is then possible to stay there or try to curry his favor by responding positively to requests that it communicates. They may be destroying the camp of barbarians who threaten its security, to protect against an enemy attack or to provide him with a famous person. This saves influence with her, which will decrease progressively less regularly put out to the portfolio. A city-state combined with a civilization he regularly provides benefits that are a function of orientation (grown, sea or militaristic) and shoulder against his enemies, so it is advisable to protect the officially taking under his wing. For their part, the city-states never attack the player directly, but are likely to go to war with the alliance game. One can also regret that what should be a simple addition is finally in the center of all the diplomatic challenges: the end of the game, attacking a city-state is often trigger World War III! Few words, finally, on AI, I have found particularly convincing though perhaps a little too scripted (extend its borders to those of another civilization systematically leads to conflict with it). I would have even more stories to tell you if the space was allocated me!