Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Civilization V: Gods and Kings

Review: Civilization V: Gods and Kings

5:15 PM on 06.20.2012 // Daniel Starkey

Civilization has always had a special place in my heart. As a turn-based 4X strategy game, it is the antithesis of damn-near everything in the shooter-saturated landscape that is the modern game market.

When it was initially released in 2010, Civilization V was one of the biggest changes the series had seen -- moving to a more approachable, art-deco interface, cutting out a lot of “unnecessary” bits, and changing countless combat and conquest mechanics. 

Civilization V: Gods and Kings (PC)
Developer: Firaxis
Publisher: 2K Games
Released: June 19, 2012
MSRP: $29.99

Gods and Kings
adds a lot of the features that were lost between IV and V like religion and espionage with mixed results. There are a total of nine new civilizations including Austria, Carthage and the Mayans. Naval AI has also received a ton of tweaks and there are new units including the Great Admiral, the maritime equivalent of the Great General.

Religion is easily the most robust and interesting addition. Faith works just like other resources. There are certain buildings, abilities, and tiles that produce faith each turn, and when you've earned enough of the resource you can either purchase units or buildings, spawn a great person, found a pantheon, start a religion, or upgrade that religion. All of these are tied very deeply into the Civ mechanics and mesh pretty well with what is already there -- a far cry from the system employed in Civ IV.

Each pantheon gives the player a certain set of bonuses akin in both type and magnitude to those afforded by the various world leaders, like extra happiness for cities founded near rivers. Later, the option to found a religion will become available. Again, the player selects one of several buffs, while also establishing a name for the faith as well as picking a symbol. Religious bonuses are a bit different, however, in that they almost exclusively rely on spreading to new cities and civilizations. They aren't usually static either; the more you push your religion on others, the greater the buff for you and your allies. You can found up to three religions, and they are spread city by city, so you don't have to commit your entire country to "MutantJediNinja-ism".

My general strategy in V has always been to wonder rush with Rameses II, and I found that religion was very easy to incorporate.  All the bonuses I chose gave me bonuses to science and productivity with additional trade routes. These buffs allowed me to raise tons of money, buy Settlers, expand aggressively, boost science output, buy new productivity buildings and start cranking out more and more gold and science. This kept me on the bleeding edge of tech development so I could grab wonders before anyone else had a chance.

Of course, evangelizing is also important. Real-world moral quandaries aside, the system that Gods and Kings uses is fairly intuitive and easy to apply. Once a player has gathered enough faith, they can buy a great prophet. Generally, these units travel to up to five different cities converting up to ten citizens. This puts a lot more control in the hands of the player when compared to the system that IV used.  

This creates a really cool dynamic that both highlights the actual applications of real-world religions and allows you to faith for diplomacy, especially with human players. Giving buffs to followers as well as founders means that you can convert-a-friend and help them out. None of the effects are deleterious or trade-offs. It serves to add more nuanced dynamics to what is probably one of the weaker facets of Civ’s gameplay. Effective use of faith and religion will greatly benefit astute players.

Espionage is the other new gameplay addition. After researching the tech, players have access to another screen that shows all of your available spies and all known cities. Spies can be placed in rival cities to help steal technology, in city-states to help rig elections and gain favor, or your own cities to provide counter-intelligence and prevent your tech from being stolen. 

The interface is very well-executed, but the whole system is largely pointless.  I could see civilizations that are pretty far behind being able to steal tech from more advanced players, but they will likely have all of their spies guarding their own tech. 

Espionage also comes into the game so late, comparatively speaking, that it’s difficult to smoothly mesh it with the rest of the gameplay. The Civilization IV expansion, Beyond the Sword, handled spies much better by allowing you to sabotage cities, poison water, destroy buildings and stall production. Here, technology and elections are really the only trick in the bag. It’s more than a little underwhelming.

In addition to the new gameplay additions, Gods and Kings adds a new mode called “Empire of the Smokey Skies”. Resident Captain of Awesome, Ryan Perez, wrote quite a bit about it in his preview back in May. The mode hasn’t changed too much since then, capitalizing on the steam punk aesthetic to mix up the rigmarole.

It would be nice to modify some of the rules of “Smokey Skies”, because I really enjoyed messing around with the new units. Sadly, however, you can’t play “Smoky Skies” with others, and there’s no option to use dirigibles or landships in place of bombers and tanks. The scenario pulls away from known history around the discovery of steam power. uranium, aluminum and other modern materials all receive funny-sounding names indicative of their alternative universe origin. Other than that though, very little is changed.

Players will be given five goals including the usual military and economic dominance objectives. In order to win, a player must be leading in three of the the five categories. At that point a timer kicks in and counts down giving everyone else one last chance to clinch victory. It's a nifty little addition, but I only played through it twice. It just isn't different enough to keep me coming back.

If you were a fan of the changes made in the vanilla release of Civilization V you’ll probably enjoy most of the new bits. Gods and Kings is a strong expansion overall, but it fails to live up to the series’ own pedigree. Religion adds so much subtlety to advanced strategies that, by comparison, espionage comes off as a half-assed attempt to add back an old mechanic.

Oh yeah and they fixed the opening movie problem. 




Civilization V: Gods and Kings - Reviewed by Daniel Starkey
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Daniel Starkey, PC Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dcstarkey Tips
Some say he never sleeps and eats only gourmet amaretto cupcakes. Others claim he's a hyperactive optimist. To citizens of the Destructoid empire, though, he's Captain Starkey, Intergalactic Game... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Civilization V: Gods and Kings

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

How YOU can save DOAX3 (with diagrams)

Recap: Metal Gear Solid 2

Backward Compatibility Is More Important Than Ever (Maybe)

My beef with Sony

It's beginning to look a lot like censorship.

Solar Pony Django's Review on: Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival

Indivisible exposes why forced diversity and its proponents keep failing

Steam Controller Review

RAE - Back in Town

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Torchman avatarTorchman
Finally got my surface pro 3. Holy shit I love this little guy. And Windows 10 is better than I thought.
Putting more effort into iOS game review than African American history book report. This is not what Dr. King died for. Or maybe he did, I wouldn't know because I'm not doing the book report. Wha-hey!!
Lawman avatarLawman
More info and footage on that cancelled first-person THQ Avengers game is shown. The heartache's still real.
Archelon avatarArchelon
DailyFloze avatarDailyFloze
So just dropping in, just finished my first hands on with the new Bloodborne DLC..... in one word...Potatoes!!? #theoldhunters #dropitlikeitsyarnham #aintnothinglikeafromsoftwarething
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Indivisible's campaign just made it to $1.300.000! if you can back it please consider doing it.
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Slow day at work. [IMG][/IMG]
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
22/31 missions completed on Prototype, fun game with a ton of destruction but crashes on my desktop PC and barely runs on my dad's laptop. And it's distracting me from playing more Fallout 4. But hey, I can slice+disguise as tank commanders and that's fun
Virtua Kazama avatarVirtua Kazama
Virtua Fighter month begins tomorrow! First blog will be coming sometime this week (mostly Wednesday).
voex avatarvoex
*Sigh* time to figure out how much a Fallout 4 capable PC upgrade is gonna cost me...
ooktar avatarooktar
Ordered this on Thanksgiving and surprisingly got here today. The case is amazing and Now I got all the Persona Cards. [img][/img] [img][/
Jiraya avatarJiraya
You probably already saw this - but it is gold - Fallout 4 One Punch Man Mod [youtube][/youtube]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
I just got my new Mega64 Blu-Ray! But now I have a problem... Do I watch that or keep watching Claymore...
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Hey, my new blog is up! A few days ago! Go read it! Before......before its too late. Please. *walls start crumbling, reality starts oozing out, things begin to eeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Alright so I'm looking for a few games for my newly repurchased DS. I'm already set on RPG as it's all I have pretty much. Were there any good puzzle games? I've heard good things about Professor Layton.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I made chocolate and banana cake because why not.
able to think avatarable to think
After hearing Persona 4 Dancing All Night come out of my surround sound system; I can safely say my $20 Playstation TV purchase was totally justified. The bass on Best Friends (Banvox Remox) literally shook the floor. It's freaking awesome!
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
I wish I could say I made this 'shop. [img][/img]
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Triple brown, triple brown, triple brown meow. Triple brown, triple brown, triple brown meow.
Alfie avatarAlfie
Was on the front page and was greeted by a new post, which I clicked to find "You cannot see the future". Then refreshed and it was gone. I saw Chris's post on Eight Days' cancellation as it was brought, new and unready, into the world! Rare and wonderful
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -