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Genre: Strategy & War    Expansion For: Civilization V
Min OS X: 10.6


Civilization V: Gods & Kings
July 3, 2012 | Andrew Lennox
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An army of spies

Espionage:

In the few reviews I've seen available for Gods & King a common reviewer complaint is that the espionage mechanic does not meet the same high standard as the religion option. I can see where they are coming from with those comments, yet I must say that I do feel espionage still remains a great addition.

As soon as the Renaissance era begins a new menu pops up in the top right hand corner which shows the new spying ability. This new option is complimented with one new spy unit. You are limited to a few as time progresses, requiring you to be very picky about where you place them. In true stealth fashion spy units can’t be seen on the battlefield. They are maintained purely within this menu and are invisible. In my opinion this is both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it makes sense why they would have them invisible. On the other, it is a bit confusing to the player and, personally, a little less satisfying.

Another great thing about spying is in the defense side of things. While you can send out all your spies around the world, it is also beneficial to have them remain within your cities to prevent spies from other civs attacking your city. The advantage to this is that you can counter any other civilizations attempting to steal technology and money. I first noticed this feature when I sent my highest rank spy back to my capital while I was thinking of where to transfer him next. My spy quickly uncovered and killed an enemy agent. While it didn’t tell me what the spy’s intentions were, it did give me a good idea of who I should look out for. Even if you refuse to put your spies back in the homeland, occasionally a friendly AI civilization can alert you of enemy civilizations spying and planning to attack. While it is hard to know the AI’s personal agenda it adds another layer of skepticism for the actions of your friends out in the world.

After fiddling around with its functions it seems to me that, for the most part, Espionage works exactly as designed. I don’t feel as though it is a waste of time. It is a real benefit and a great way to counter the moves which the enemy could be plotting against you.

Other Additions:

Beside the two major additions of Religion and Espionage, the developers have also added a few tweaks to enhance gameplay even more.

One tweak worth mentioning is the alteration to science. While previously there were a few definite gaps between time periods, now there is a more subtle change towards the future end of civilization. This reshuffling could change ideas about which path to go down in terms of technology. I did find that these changes more frequently cut you off from the rest of the technology options. Where you set your early goals in terms of technology won’t eventually unlock everything. It appears to be much more direct and focused than before. This makes it much more difficult to choose which aspect of technology to research over another.

Another tweak that was supposed to cause a dramatic change is in the area of combat. There were supposed to be changes designed to create longer battles and require more strategy than just surrounding your enemies. Despite those intentions, I couldn’t really tell the difference between this and plain old vanilla Civlization V. If you’re a player looking for this sort of change on the battlefield you might not find it with Gods & Kings.

And finally, no new Civilization pack would be complete without a suite of new leaders to play and new scenarios to conquer. Similar to previous DLC Packs, this provides a great demo for what you get in the pack. All of them seemed well done through my experience. But, if there was one I had to choose as my favorite, it would have to be “Empires of the Smoky Skies”. The great thing about the scenario is its “Bioshock” like charm. It focuses on an alternate technology track as well as having its own special leaders and unique combat units. Empires of the Smoky Skies creates an entirely new experience and something worth remembering.

Conclusion:

In comparison to the previous stream of DLC that has come from Firaxis, the Gods & Kings expansion represents a giant leap forward. While others have just extended what the game was already capable of, the expansion creates whole new strategies and ways to play the game. Firaxis should be commended for the brilliant execution of the major new additions of Religion and Espionage, as well as the other little tweaks. The question remains whether it’s worth the price tag. Since it is such a large expansion Firaxis has raised the price quite significantly from previous DLC available, making it tougher to decide whether or not it is a must buy. However, if you are a fan of the game and want to add even more gameplay to Civilization V, then I can safely say its worth your money. It is simply a fantastic addition to an already fantastic game.

Pros:

• Religion is great
• Espionage is still great
• New Civilizations are a solid improvement

Cons:

• Espionage is not as prominent as I would like
• Price might be a little high for new players

Andrew Lennox is an IMG Writer since mid 2011 and has been a proud member of the Apple Macintosh family since 2006. He loves reading about the latest in the tech industry, and playing the latest games on the Mac as well anything good on the consoles. Even though he is still studying hard at school, he tries to find time to sit down and give honest opinions on the ever increasing banquet of games available for the Mac platform



Civilization V: Gods & Kings
Mac Version: Aspyr Media
Buy Civilization V: Gods & Kings now at MacGameStore.com


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