Finally, I get away from playing Civilizations long enough to write a review about this game. The game was actually good. I was pleasantly surprised how much fun I ended up having playing the game. It might be because I liked HoMM3 or because I like turn-based strategy games in general. Only played this game for 2 days and I already clocked 11 hours, then finally won my first civilizations game with diplomacy (that Steam never recognized to give me achievement).
The game is relatively simple to play, although you could play the tutorials before playing the game itself, or learn as you play. You can even edit the game settings to determine how hard the game is. You can choose whether to play on single-player or on multi-player where you can either forge alliances with other players or go to war with them.
There are 4 main ways to win the game: culture, technology, war and diplomacy. You are still able to continue the game when you win the game, but the focus will no longer be focused on winning. Depending on the map size, there will be a number of cities that you can fight, trade or create alliances with, and there will be smaller cities that you can use gold to influence (bribery!), gift them a military unit or go to war with the smaller cities.
I did enjoy how you have various choices in the game. From what they should produce (structures, wonders, units or dedicate their production to creating more points for wealth or research points), deciding how to deal with smaller civilizations and/or the major civilizations you need to win over to achieve victory, deciding whether a city you have conquered via military conquest should be a puppet state or be annexed into your empire and what to research to get closer to achieving victory.
The game play is relatively smooth; you decide which tile your unit goes to, what your workers should build on the tile they are standing on and where to create your city. You can also purchase tiles to expand your empire (although it is limited, then you need to rely on your empire naturally expanding its borders). Every once in a while, your city will give you a great person who can build specialized buildings to boost your empire and you can give them up to enter into a golden age. However, some great people like the great scientist or artist will have an alternative option to them. You can sacrifice the scientist to gain a free technology of your choice (via research) and the artist can be sacrificed to do a ‘culture’ bomb which will give you some extra land adjacent to a tile you own.
I heard that this game has gotten bad reviews, or mixed. I do not know since I don’t really read up on reviews on games. I mostly watch game-play videos or play a demo of the game, before deciding whether to purchase the game or not. I suppose it is up to the person playing the game whether they enjoy a game or not. I enjoyed myself for the most part, although it was annoying how I had 2 plane units that I constantly had to press spacebar since I had no orders for them at the time. I could just delete them though. It is a shame that you lose the scout unit in your options of what units you could build I would had like to keep having them as an option, especially in larger maps, I guess they become obsolete when all the land available in the map is taken.
Still enjoy the game though. It might have become an addiction though since I play this game for 4 consecutive hours. I get addicted to new games I own too easily. There are dlcs which add new content and such to the game, however I do not own them. There are mods on the steam workshop for this game that I can look at, so I don’t think I will need any dlcs anytime soon.