Having not a great deal of experience with previous Civilization games, I was expecting myself to find this installment of the series hard to get the hang of, imagining myself spending hours trying to work out how to start up a civilization that will "stand the test of time". Instead, I found the game to be extremely helpful and newbie-friendly. Like other strategy games, you learn the basics then gradually build up a better understanding of the game and its mechanics, feeling more and more like a pro with every minute gone by. After about four hours playing I felt pretty confident, but even today I am learning things I never knew or had any comprehension of in the game. The simplicity which has been introduced to help newcomers coupled with the fact that the game maintains the same look and feel with older generations is a really positive thing that was pulled off very well.
The game offers serious levels of depth due to the vast number of playable races, multiple methods to seek victory and the ability to play on completely randomly generated maps every game, with available templates to choose from if so desired. I have only played a handful of games right to the very end since they can last for many days, especially if each session isn't particularly long. Every game feels very different to the next, providing this title with a lot of replayability.
The AI is sometimes criticised but I think that it is well done in this game with a large range of difficulty levels to choose from, ranging from literally zero experience to the grandmaster level. They can often be somewhat unpredictable but I personally see that as a good thing, I mean, what's the point in playing such an in-depth strategic game like Civilization V when you can anticipate what the AI will most likely do? Part of the magic of this game is that it immerses you into the position of a leader, facing situations where you have to make decisions on the spot with no idea what your opponent is going to do.
Overall this is a great game worthy of your money, but I would advise waiting for it to come on sale as it frequently does, it isn't the newest game in the world either.