While Civilization V () can be great fun, it’s also a bit of a mixed bag. It brought improved graphics and more streamlined combat, but the game’s artificial intelligence seemed distinctly under-par, and it didn’t offer the same range of nations and units as some of its predecessors.
But that, of course, is what expansion packs are for and the Gods And Kings (Mac App Store link, GameAgent link) expansion directly addresses many of our complaints while also bringing some enjoyable new features to the game.
There are nine new nations for you to conquer, each with its own selection of powerful World Leader figures, and Wonders that you can build to enhance your nation’s status and power. There are also 27 new combat units that you can create and send into battle. A particularly important change here is the fact that naval units can now focus on either close-up melee combat or be equipped with ranged weapons so that they can bombard your coast from a distance. The diplomacy options have also been enhanced, allowing you to set up embassies in foreign lands that can be used either to foster good relations or indulge in a bit of cold-war espionage.
The AI seems to have been fine-tuned a bit too, with enemies taking time to build stronger, more balanced armies rather than just chucking a few units against you as soon as they’ve been built. And as well as enhancing the main campaign, there are also three new historical scenarios that you can play, including a fun ‘age of steam’ scenario that equips you with a range of steam-powered weapons and technologies.
However, the big change with Gods And Kings is the introduction of religion. You can, in effect, design your own religion, creating a Pantheon Of Gods that brings specific benefits to your society, such as rich cultural growth or a simple desire to go off to war and slay the non-believers of other nations.
Macworld’s buying advice
If you’re a Civ fan then Gods And Kings will be an essential purchase. It enhances the main game with new nations and units, while the additional elements of religion and diplomacy make for a richer game that will keep you happily absorbed for months to come.
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