Review: Civilization 5’s Brave New World truly completes the experience
As a history buff that that has been playing the Civilization series since the very beginning, I’m going to just go ahead and say Civilization V: Brave New World fills the remaining void present in Civilization V. Even after Gods and Kings added more civs and faith, trade and culture were still not quite there yet. Brave New World not only adds new content, it fixes the errors previously existing and updates the games for the changes with this new expansion.
Trade routes just make sense to me. Via land or sea, you can trade with friendly cities, city states, and even your own cities. Certain civs, wonders, and technologies will grant you addition trade routes. Once you build a caravan or supply boat, you simply select which city you want to send it to. An arrowed trail will show you the path your unit will take to get there. Yes, this unit can be attacked and killed along the travel – those damn pesky barbarians aren’t fans of you trading. Trading gets you gold, gets you science, and forces religious presence on the city you trade with. When you trade within your own empire, you can send food or production.
The other big change is how culture works. Culture is now your defense against a new mechanic called tourism. As your civilization develops works of art, musical compositions, and great literature, your tourism will become more potent. If your neighboring civilizations have weaker culture than you, they will fall succumb to your way of life. Once all other nations fall to your way of life, you win – this is the new cultural victory.
A new social policy called "ascetics" focuses specifically on culture to help put the nail in the coffin. Once you get industrial and build three factories, you’ll get into ideologies that will tell the rest of the world what your civilization encompasses. Other civs will like or hate what you choose.
Once "archeology" is researched, you will gain access to a new type of unit called an "archeologist" if your city has a university. These guys function like work boats; you build them and they go away after using them at an archeological dig site. These digs help with tourism or culture, whichever you choose. What’s amazing about these sites is that they use the real history of your game when deciding to appear. They will find large battles, barbarian activity, ruin sites, etc. to decide where they pop up on the world map.
What’s beautiful in this expansion is how all the tools handed to you synergize together so well to let you play how you want to. If you’re going for that cultural victory, build a religion around culture, trade with cities in civilizations you are trying to influence, max out ascetics early, and try to bust out beneficial decrees in the world congress. If your religion is dominating, make it the world’s religion. Need more writers and musicians? Make it so. The world congress is a new feature that gives you a vote with all other civilizations to try to pass rules everyone has to follow. Certain civs will like these policies while others will hate you for them – yay popularity!
Much like Gods and Kings, Brave New World changes many aspects already present in the game. Wonders of the World will have more cultural, trade, tourism bonuses. An example is that the Colossus now gives that civ an additional trade route. Spies can now function as diplomats in the capital cities of other civs, this allows you to keep tabs on them and even influence their leaders. Faith and religion has all been updated to include more cultural and trade aspects. In my game, I was even able to use my diplomat to add religious pressure on the city he was in.
The new civilizations include Casimir III of Poland, Pedro II of Brazil, Ashurbanipal of Assyria, Shaka of the Zulus, Maria I of Portugal, Gajah Mada of Indonesia, Ahmad al-Mansur of Morocco, Enrico Dandolo of Venice, and Pocatello of the Shoshone. Each civ adds its own flavor with different passives and a new military unit. I went for strong tourism and ended up playing as Brazil, it was hard for me to turn down the longer Golden Eras or ‘Carnivals.’ These new civs mostly play off the new content in Brave New World but over all just add more variety to Civilization V and how exactly you’d like to play. Besides the Zulus and Portugal, all of the other civilizations are new to the franchise.
I’m a pretty big fan of Brave New World. When I think of an expansion, I tend to think of just some new content. While there is new content, all of Civilization V has been overhauled to adapt to this new content and the new mechanics it brings in major way. The cultural victory, which has always existed, is completely different now, trade routes add flare and options to gameplay, the world congress can bring civs together or tear them apart, archeology is a completely different bag, and new civs offer completely new strategies. The Civilization franchise will always have a place in my heart, and with Brave New World I honestly feel like Civilization V is a solid and complete game now.