Few games can whittle your entire night away like Civilization V. The turn-based strategy game is rife with complexity and incredibly balanced gameplay. Managing a civilization throughout history has never been so engrossing. Now, the full-sized expansion: Civilization V: Gods and Kings has been released and the game has never been better.
For those who enjoyed the more complex Civilization IV, Gods and Kings brings back some of its features to the fifth installment. More specifically, religion is back and better than ever! What seemed like a missing feature in the core game has returned. This time you are able to construct your own custom religion from a variety of preset options. This allows you to gain the benefits from your religion that you want. Religion is now handled with a new faith resource. Build temples to generate enough Faith and you can eventually have prophets for your new religion. But religion is a first-come first-served ordeal, with the best faith bonuses going to the civilizations to found religions first.
Also included in Gods and Kings is the return of espionage. Although this time the feature feels a bit shallow. You start to get spies fairly early in the game, and you can send them to cities to watch the other civilizations, but there is not much to do besides that. The spies will constantly give you updates about what the other rulers are doing, and you can act on that information, but there are not as many tactical options with espionage as in earlier games.
Gods and Kings also has all of the extras you expect in an expansion pack, like new nations to play and new scenarios. One scenario is a particularly cool steampunk themed mission with entirely different units and upgrades. User-created mods on this particular mission are sure to be wonderful.
Finally, there are some tweaks with combat in Gods and Kings. Combat damage has been scaled up, allowing for more variations on combat and a hint of more subtlety. Naval combat has been dramatically strengthened with the additions of new ships and abilities. Ships are now able to capture cities by themselves rather than just being support units. This allows strong navies to be incredibly powerful and makes the island maps more fun.
Overall, Gods and Kings is a wonderful addition to Civilization V. Those who loved the original game should immediately get the expansion, if only for the inclusion of religion. It truly changes the game for the better in a fundamental way.