Civilization V: Brave New World PC Demo Review
I've been a Civilization player since I was four or five years old. I can remember sitting next to my dad as a very small child and building Leonardo's Workshop and the Great Library. My brother won the entire first grade a reward when he was seven because he knew from playing Civilization that the capital of the Aztec empire was Tenochtitlan and he told the principal of his school at an assembly.
Due to my heavy nostalgia about the Civilization franchise I want every new incarnation of the game to be absolutely spectacular. I want them to loyally follow the top-down turn-based strategy model I know and love, but add to it with the graphics, computing, and complexity that our modern technology can bring. Usually I'm disappointed because many games in the franchise complicate the original formula too much by allowing infinite units scattered everywhere and too many resources to play with.
In my mind, Civilization V is the first sequel in the series that really is perfect and Brave New World DLC package adds some polish and new mechanics that will enhance the already spectacular experience. I have played 45 hours of this game in the last three weeks because it is so addicting. The thing that makes Civilization V so spectacular is that every game is different and every decision matters so that when you start up a map, you are in an entirely different situation, which you can conquer only through extremely precise management.
The original Civilization V is a great addition to the series because it isn't complicated. It doesn't take long to learn, but after a few games you'll be markedly better for knowing some nuances of strategy. Brave New World also seems to offer this. At face value the trade routes, policy, and culture changes the DLC adds are fairly minor and easy to learn, but after fooling with them for a while I've found they are huge advantages when used correctly. A well-placed caravan can now save a floundering city.
The policies in the game are much more desirable than they were in Civilization V sans Brave New World, so you now have to rework old strategies to put more emphasis on culture. Art and writing make culture victories way more interesting. Overall, the DLC adds a lot of complexity without making gameplay more complicated. In single-player games you will have more things to think about if you want to play the higher levels.
Where the DLC really shines though is in multiplayer matches. The AI is fun to trade paintings and resources with, but they are extremely predictable. Your friends, family, and even strangers will make deals the AI never would that will help you win more spectacularly than ever before. Caravans and cargo boats are new with Brave New World and they will let you play much more skillfully with players than you could without it.
I haven't figured everything out yet and I expect it will take me a few hundred hours and maybe a bit of slogging through the civilopedia to do so, but I highly recommend downloading Brave New World even if you are slower than I am to get the nuance. It's fun to play with friends even if you are only defending against onslaughts of infantry and bombers with your warriors and cavalry. A demo is available right now on the Steam store.