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Download Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings

Prepare to lose sleep as you fall in love with V all over again. Civilization V: Gods and Kings enhances the base game immensely, so much so that I can’t imagine playing Civilization V without it. The other, more standard expansion content, as well as the really fun scenarios ensures that there’s plenty of ways to more than get your money’s worth. Longtime Civ fans and newcomers alike have plenty of reason to go forth and find faith Gods and Kings.
 I love religion. Not any one in particular, mind you, just how they interact with one another, influencing individuals, cultures and nations in times of peace and war. Religion is just so uniquely human – a force for good and terror, and one of the biggest factors in shaping the remarkable and bloody history of mankind.

Keeping this in mind, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I was sorely disappointed by the removal of religion between Civilization IV and V. While Civ V managed to be the most approachable Civ to date, and a whole lot of fun despite its flaws, I’ve not-so-secretly harbored an intense longing to bring some sort of god back to my people. As if somehow my whispered prayers and rants on podcasts were heard, developer Firaxis and legendary game designer Sid Meier have released Civilization V: Gods and Kings. The core of the Civilization V experience remains intact, but new additions like religion, espionage and a host of smaller items and tweaks revamp what was already a fantastic game. Prepare to lose sleep as you fall in love with V all over again.
The heart of Civilization V isn’t changed by Gods and Kings. You still start by selecting the type of world you want to play in (continents vs. Pangaea, for instance) and seeing if you can develop your would-be superpower into something for the history books. Advisors return as well, ensuring that even vast empires never feel overwhelming to play, and that you can always get up to date advice as a situation develops after every turn. Likewise Civ V’s excellent tool-tips persist, quickly showing you relevant information like whether or not you’ll win in combat and why, as well as offering in-depth explanations of how key game systems work, such as happiness and resource gathering.

Much of the content in Gods and Kings is predictable expansion stuff. You get new leaders such as Gustavus of the Swedes or Pascal of the Maya, new units, and new buildings. City-States can now be bullied, and you can demand tribute from them at a loss of favor. Units also have their hit points put on a 100 point scale instead of a 10 point, allowing the designers to make combat last a bit longer, and give time for more exciting and strategic fights to develop. Having more content to experiment with, more variables to toss in when you’re randomly generating maps, is fun, but that’s not exactly what you pay any considerable amount of cash for.

What you do pay $30 for are the substantial changes and additions, such as the surprisingly fun scenarios. Normally I only play randomly generated games, but the included scenarios are a great change of pace from a standard Civ V game. Not only are they shorter, but they all offer unique victory conditions, forcing you to change up your strategy. Even cooler still, the Empires of the Smokey Skies scenario takes you into a world of steampunk fantasy, complete with exclusive leaders, units and tech tree options. You could easily spend hours playing these scenarios over and over with a variety of different leaders.

The most substantial addition by far, the very reason to get Gods and Kings, comes from the addition of religion and espionage. But this isn’t the religion you know. It’s an entirely new system based around the new Faith resource. New structures exist to build Faith, and once you gain enough you can found a basic form or religion called a Pantheon. Eventually you can accumulate enough Faith to create Great Prophets, using them to create a religion of your own devising by selecting a number of traits from a pool shared amongst everyone. This means that as you pick a trait for your religion, say, +1 happiness for each city that follows it, no one else can have it. Ever. Hence a new race begins in the early game, with civilizations competing over who can get the best religious traits. Additionally, the types of traits you pick can greatly shape how you play. Want to be an aggressor? Pick traits that allow you to use Faith to buy units, or that give you bonuses to fighting near towns that believe in what you do. Alternatively you could go for an expansionist route, selecting options that give your believers a faster birth rate, or help them when dealing with City-States.
Likewise, espionage informs the way you play through enhancing current systems rather than creating entirely new ways to win. Eventually you will be awarded spies as you progress through the tech tree, which you can then plant in enemy cities to find out what they're making or gather intel you can give to other civilizations for small political gain. Alternatively, your spies can be planted in your own cities to serve as counter-agents, or even hop into City-States to rig elections or attempt coups. Your interaction with your spies is limited to little else than telling them where to go, but wise placement can have far reaching consequences. For instance if you're going for a political victory, you could have spies turn City-States to allies, making them vote for you in the United Nations. You could also steal important technologies, progressing you down the science victory route at an advanced rate. It's just really satisfying to set them loose for a few turns, reaping the benefits without having to do a lot of micro-management.

For all the things Gods and Kings adds, including additional options for diplomacy, there still doesn't feel like there's much you can do against the hyper-aggressive AI. When you first meet a rival they'll likely be nice, but as soon as your borders come lose they'll start denouncing you and escalating tensions towards war. No amount of appeasement seemed to matter when it came to slowing down an enemy advance. The bottom line is this: if you're weaker than them and close to their border, they're going to attack. Meaning that, just like in vanilla Civ V, you need to maintain a sizable military if you want to survive. It feels contradictory to my goals when I'm going to a cultural, political or science victory, and makes the AI feel a bit binary. Either you're a military might and they're complacent, or your nation of brilliant scientists or philosophers better prepare for a beat down no matter how good they are to their neighbors.
PC System Requirements
OS: Windows® XP SP3/ Windows® Vista SP2/ Windows® 7
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 64 2.0 GHz
Memory: 2GB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB Free
Video Card: 256 MB ATI HD2600 XT or better, 256 MB nVidia 7900 GS or better, or Core i3 or better integrated graphics
DirectX®: 9.0c
Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
OS: Windows® Vista SP2/ Windows® 7
Processor: 1.8 GHz Quad Core CPU
Memory: 4GB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB Free
Video Card: 512 MB ATI 4800 series or better, 512 MB nVidia 9800 series or better
DirectX®: 11
Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card

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