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Civ 5 Brave New World Review

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Adam Barnes

Is Civ 5 better thanks to its latest expansion pack? Find out in our Civilization 5: Brave New World review.

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Published on Jul 24, 2013

Most reviews for expansion packs are relevant only to those who have played the game’s vanilla version, but with our Civ 5: Brave New World review it might be useful for players who haven’t already played Civ 5 too.

Mostly because, with the addition of Brave New World, this is the most complete, most rounded version of the game to date and if you’re yet to get involved then now’s your chance.

Sure, the mechanics are largely the same; so yes, it’s still as ‘accessible’ as ever (that’s not actually a bad thing, by the way) but the underlying tools are even more robust and fully featured.

When we reviewed Civ 5: Gods And Kings we felt the systems weren’t drastically important for vanilla players and while still great, could be ignored. Not so with Civ 5: Brave New World.

First and foremost this is thanks to the new trade feature. Caravans aren’t uncommon in the Civilization series, but here it’s a much more flexible feature that adds much more than just gold to line your pockets.

The Importance Of Trade Routes

Trade Routes are limited by your technology. Early on you’ll only have access to one route, but as further technologies are unlocked or buildings constructed you’ll unlock more.

These Routes can be ‘spent’, if you will, by a trade unit – a Caravan or a Cargo Ship – and will travel to different cities to initiate trade.

Whether that’s opposing factions, city-states or even your own cities it doesn’t matter. The value of each trade is easily displayed in the Trade Route selection screen, making the decision of which is best for you the simplest of tasks.

Primarily you’ll earn extra gold per turn – though the trade unit won’t actually reach its destination each turn – and depending on the disparity between luxury items the trade city has affects the amount of gold you’ll earn.

Research points are passively earned too, with your civ gaining more research depending on the opposing faction’s technologies and vice versa.

Later on religion is affected, too, so it helps that Civ 5: Gods And Kings is bundled in with Civ 5: Brave New World.

It helps make religion a little more important in the grand schemes of things if you play your choices properly. The strength of your chosen religion is bolstered by trade in trading cities, which makes it easier to better manipulate factions over distances both near and far.

Then there’s the fact that it can be used to bolster your own cities by trading resources from a stronger city to a weaker one, whether that’s food or production points.

This is particularly handy after a scuffle with an enemy civ, where you’re inevitably left with a city you perhaps wouldn’t have wanted (because God-forbid it’s razed it to the ground).

This way you can bolster the production of vital structures to help it support itself, or provide it with additional food to quickly grow the population into something more sustainable.

The Culture Victory And Civ 5: Brave New World

We’ve talked for great length about Trade Routes, then. Perhaps it’s a little tedious, but for Civ fanatics hopefully we’ve emphasised just how important this feature is. It gives you an extra layer of options to manipulate to your benefit.

Elsewhere there are changes to culture, and it’s here that you pacifists will be most impressed. No longer can you simply build a Utopia and win the game (mostly because that was a little dull anyway).

Now you’ve got Tourism, a more complex mechanic that ties into the culture of your world. It’s not especially simple to grasp with a new menu screen tackling all the various options available to you.

You’ll need to tinker and it’ll be a few turns – and certain buildings and technologies – before you’ll understand the concept of Great Works and Tourism.

Changes to policies, however, means that a culture victory isn’t best achieved with just a handful of cities. The expansionists among you should be cheering with glee right about now.

The concept is fairly well-rounded, however, and adds an interesting layer of depth to building for culture. Great Works can be traded – or even captured by taking cities – helping to bolster your Tourism and the overall cultural interest your civ has.

It also means that late-game Civ – basically once the weaker civs have been obliterated – is a little more interesting. Tourism doesn’t add anything else to each turn, but it does mean you can make and execute various plans.

You’ll be willing to take on the Huns just for a chance to grab the Mona Lisa.

Archaeology: The New Resource

Archaeology, too, brings something new to the table. Once discovered this Industrial Era technology starts a new race of sorts: a race for culture.

Battles that had been won, cities that had been destroyed or barbarian camps that had been wiped from existence all return as archaeological sites, which can be claimed by specialist units.

It’s like when you discover a new resource for the first time and quickly scour the globe looking for any bountiful deposits: should you expand quicker to reach that iron mine? Or go to war with Carthage simply because they have access to Uranium and you don’t?

Well Archaeology is like that for culture. These deposits will appear all over the map and while you’re guaranteed a number will appear in your borders, you’ll often find yourself becoming a little more aggressive just to claim those unused dig sites.

It’s a clever addition that twists the way you play. Even cultural players will find their playstyles change thanks to archaeology and though it’s a comparatively minor inclusion, it’s important for Civ players.

It’s getting to the point now where we’re just writing a checklist of things in Civ 5: Brave New World’s with ‘yes’ attached to them – but that's the technical level of details that Civ fans adore and will likely appreciate in Brave New World.

This is even without touching on Diplomats (a new kind of spy), Ideologies (changes to the Social Policy tree in the form of civilization-wide beliefs) and even World Congress (the ability to enact world-wide restrictions or ideals).

There’s the usual selection of new civs, wonders, buildings and units all adding to an already impressive package, too.

Simply put, if you’re at all interested in Civilization 5 then you owe it to yourself to get this expansion pack. It comes with a handful of pretty important features – and that trade route function is extremely useful – that fans will really appreciate.

 

Score Breakdown
Graphics
7.5 / 10
Sound
8.5 / 10
Gameplay
9.5 / 10
Longevity
9.5 / 10
Multiplayer
TBA / 10
Overall
9.0 / 10
Final Verdict
If you’ve been on the fence – or vehemently despised the ‘accessibility’ of vanilla Civ 5 – then maybe this is your starting point. It’s more fleshed out, it’s deep without being complex and easily worth your money.
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Game Details
Format:
PC
Release Date:
12/7/2013
Price:
£19.99
Publisher:
2K Games
Developer:
Firaxis
Genre:
Strategy
No. of players:
1
Verdict
9.0 /10
Expensive for an expansion pack, perhaps, but considering it comes with Gods And Kings and has some fantastic additions to vanilla Civ 5 then it feels totally worth it, especially for fans.
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