One can only see how the master mind, mr. Sid Meier (bowing and taking my hat off to him) didn't involve himself as thoroughly as he did in the previous games of the series. While this post may be considered as a "whine", all I am doing is pointing out things that didn't manage to get in the final version of the game. And it isn't right, seeing as things like the ones you will be reading next, are present in previous Civilization games. I'm not asking for the impossible, I'm only asking for what has been delivered to us in the past to be delivered to us again in these days.
With these things in mind, here comes my list of features that could've ended being a part of Civ5, but they did not:
- trading technologies - for many years, this was the bread and butter of the Civilization games; removing this I think it was rather pointless;
- health system (I didn't find plagues in the game and now Hospitals add health);
- an appropriate trade system, implemented only until Civilization II Gold and Alpha Centauri, where there would be trade units (caravans), trade techs and trade options in the diplomacy dialogues; trade used to mean more than just a road connecting two cities - and the player could choose with which civ would start doing trade;
- a pollution system - in older games the nuclear technology used to bring a huge disadvantage with it, which required player skill and the proper using of ecological system to counter it;
- a form of logistic on water - As the game is now, every unit can embark and start sailing on water; and not just on shallow waters, but on oceans and deep waters, too. There is no time cost or price of resources / production that would make a tank embark on a boat and cross a sea. Either if we are talking about simple ships or made upon steam technology, or newer. Those ships have no building cost and now there is no point in having transport ships in the game. A minus for the strategy in this game.
- espionage - no point in commenting on this, there are other threads here that do that; and we all know what espionage used to be in previous games, so there's no point in talking about it;
- religion - yes, I know... now there is Social Policies. But, you see... this is different. There are no religious units in this game, and I mean non combat units that used to have some meaning in the game, not just some crusaders or some other fighting units.
- government forms - Again, there is the Social Policies panel... but that doesn't have an effect as important as the civic decision the player used to have in previous games; some social policies are even useless for a few ways of playing the game. They do help with the cultural victory, though.
- some means of controlling the income, taxes, luxuries and money spent on research - this used to be a very important feat of the previous Civilization games, and this one lacks it totally;
- happiness used to have a more important saying in the matter. Right now, the way the game is made, it doesn't really matter if some backwater city is full with unhappy citizens, as long as the people in the capital are happy. Happiness used to be specific on every single city, not just on the nation as a whole.
- an informative interface / HUD. I guess that developing a game for consoles made some developers forget how are things done on the PC. The interface is huge, even with that option checked that minimize it. Huge interface, huge fonts... We are PC gamers, we play this from the front of the monitor, not from 4 meters away from the television display. And since we're talking about interface (and control)... for god's sake, what have you done with the right click mouse button? The right click button used to be the most informative tool in a Civilization game. It was like that since the beginning of the series. This shouldn't have changed.
- in previous games (Civ4) culture used to have a nicer role: it expanded the city's/state's borders. And it was a nice way in turning enemy territory into your own. Doing this required a lot more strategy than buying a land tile. Needless to say, in Civilization V you can't turn enemy lands into your own unless you conquer a city. Culture as it is now has lesser importance in Civilization V than it had in its predecessor.
- talents. Later in the previous games you could learn to turn some people into various enhancing things... like librarians, doctors, scientists, etc. This was a really nice feature that now lacks. It's pointless in discussing about the strategic importance of that feat... everyone can figure it out for themselves.
- speeding up production of a building - no comments here. We all know what was like building a Wonder in the same time as some other civilization that was ahead of us, and spending some precious money (saved just for times like this) to even out the odds.
Now, don't get me wrong... I appreciate the new additions we received in the new game, such as hexes, city-states, social policies, strategic resources used in the production of the units (number of resources = number of units, and every resource counts), not stacking units anymore (giving more strategic importance to every combat unit on the field)... But the new things we got, compared to the old things we lost... It just doesn't cut it.
And I'd like to end this post with a quote from a user review...
And I know it's not wise to say this on the publisher's forums... But, yes. I saw how Civilization V received great praise from all the game press sites... but to me those are just marketing stuff, meant for selling copies of a game, not really analyze it. This is not a post intended to be read by the publishers, this is something meant for the devs to read, since they designed the game the way it is. So that they will know how to make Civilization V a better game or, better said, a real Civilization game, as we all know and love. So that both publishers AND gamers would be happy with the final product.I rate this game based on its wasted potential. On its own terms, it should be a good solid product once bugs and technical issues have been fixed. In any case, Civ 5 clearly shows that there isn't much life left in PC gaming. The dumbing down of the game's design (see other user reviews on this) and the big-button, console-style interface scream of an effort to avoid complexity for the sake of mass-market appeal. The assumption on which the game was designed is presumably that the majority of players cannot handle or do not wish to be forced into overly complex or difficult choices. What's left is a simplistic war game that lacks originality and atmosphere. Nothing in its design really distinguishes it from simple strategy games of the 1990s, even though the technical possibilities of 2010 should have allowed for something much better. Expansion packs and DLC might restore some of the missing features, but why spend money on these if Civ 4 already contains everything in one package?
P.S. Could mister Sid Meier get himself involved in game developing again, and amaze us all with how a strategy game should really be like? No offense, but this is Sid Meier's Civilization in name only. To me, this is NOT a Sid Meier game. And I should know, I played them for the last 15 years.