A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about world history and strategy in this informative world simulation game. In addition to content carried over from the original Civ V -- including "Civilopedia" entries detailing historical figures, events, and technologies -- it provides descriptions of new "world wonders," national leaders, and religions. Plus, the introduction of religion provides insight into how popular faiths can shape nations, deepening the game's strategic elements. Civilization V: Gods & Kings serves as a hands-on way for kids to augment their study of world history, specifically the impact of religion.
This game both celebrates and casts a critical eye on humanity's historical achievements, events, and personalities. It gives players reason to judiciously examine the world, past and present, analyzing the causes and effects of political, military, religious, philosophical, scientific, and artistic forces.
Positive Role Models
The game's only real characters are its real-world historical leaders, from Austria’s Maria Theresa to Attila the Hun. However, they don't have much personality beyond their initial descriptions. They may be depicted as ambitious, righteous, aggressive, intelligent, tyrannical, fair, popular, or despised, but their actions in game are determined by players.
Ease of Play
This is a highly complex game filled with deep strategies that can take hundreds of hours to master. However, frequent in-game prompts make it easy for rookies to work through all of their options each turn. Plus, multiple difficulty levels and customizable parameter settings allow players to set up games that suit their experience and skill.
Violence & Scariness
Tiny units armed with everything from axes and spears to guns and missiles attack and kill each other on the game's large world map. Defeated characters fall down and disappear, and no blood or gore is shown. Weapons of mass destruction can level entire sections of the map, with the implication that thousands or millions of soldiers and civilians have been killed. Much of the game's text -– including descriptions of weapons, eras, and historical characters -- discusses war and battle. The opening cinematic sequence depicts soldiers in combat with swords and shields, but, again, without blood or gore.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Descriptions of the game's historical rulers occasionally reference their sexual nature, but only in vague or mild terms.
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The world "hell" appears in dialogue.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Opium is mentioned in the description of an historical era. Players can grow vineyards, with the assumption that they will produce wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings is an expansion pack to Sid Meier's Civilization V and that a copy of the original game is required in order to play this one. It is a deep, turn-based game of civilization simulation and tactics that, in some ways, also acts as a basic but broad-spanning history lesson concerning the people, events, movements, technologies, and personalities that have shaped our world. There is violence, but its depiction is from far away, and brief references to sexuality and drugs are made only within historical context. Parents should be aware that this game offers a multiplayer mode capable of facilitating communication between strangers.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of Civilization V are all but guaranteed to enjoy the new features that Gods & Kings adds to the experience. Religious elements haven't just been tacked on; they've been integrated into existing features so that the accumulation of the new "faith" commodity is felt almost everywhere, from researching new technologies to diplomatic relations with "Holy" city states. The game may not exploit specific dogma within each religion (a prudent decision), but it successfully simulates the effect that popular faiths can have on a culture and the world at large.
And religion is just the start. The addition of new civilizations, "world wonders," and unit types, as well as three original scenarios and a few key rules tweaks all help make the game feel fresh again, even for those who've already spent hundreds of hours with it. Its $30 tag is pricey for an expansion pack, but this is a case of getting what you pay for.
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Our Editors Recommend
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