This game is insanely complicated – I’ve got over 400 pages of notes on how to play from civfanatics and I’m still not done. If you have that Excel analysis mind-set this is the game for you. If you don’t then fortunately you can dial the difficulty down and you get a similar experience to the Total War series or other turn based games.
There are several dozen methods of play –you will have to understand the game mechanics to beat the AI on anything other than easy. Each difficulty setting requires a different method of play, forcing you to learn new tactics.
The tech specs are such that even quite old machines should be able to run it. It’s starting to age – the overworld map looks clunky, but still has enough charm to pull past that.
There’s clearly been a lot of work put into smoothing the difficulty curve – there’s plenty of tooltips, tutorials and the like. It says something about the depth of the game that I felt these were nowhere near enough.
I recommend it only if you’ve got lots of time on your hands – you’ll get the most out of this game if you sit down and work to understand it.
I’ve heard Civ 5 streamlines some of the game mechanics, so it might be worth going straight for that. Overall, this is a great, if intimidating game.