Is Sid Meier’s Civilization V (2010), Worth Playing?
Despite its age, Civilization V remains one of the best 4X titles in the 40-year history of the beloved subgenre.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: 4X Strategy
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2k
Price: $29.99+
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Supported Modes:

Undisputed Market Leader.

The Civilization franchise is the leader of the historic 4x genre. While there are many excellent games out there to enjoy (and I play multiple different civ-likes, including Humankind and Old World), without some catastrophic misstep by the 2K and Firaxis Games, Civilization will always remain the king of the 4X genre and the standard against which all other historic 4X games are judged.

While Civilization V was eventually surpassed by Civilization VI, being the best historic market for roughly eight years  (2010-2018), especially when its successor launched two years previously (2016), is nothing short of impressive, and fans of Civilization V as well as its creators should be proud of that accomplishment.


Long Lifespan.

As of September 2023, Civilization V is the second longest-lived Civilization title in the franchise’s history, enjoying almost six years of support before it was superseded by Civilization VI in late 2016.

  • Sid Meier’s Civilization (1991-1996): A lifespan of five years.
  • Civilization II (1996-2001): A lifespan of five years.
  • Civilization III (2001-2005): A lifespan of four years.
  • Civilization IV (2005-2010): A lifespan of five years.
  • Civilization V (2010-2016): A lifespan of six years.
  • Civilization VI (2016 – 202?): A lifespan of seven years and counting.


Civilization Controversy.

At launch, a large percentage of the Civilization fanbase despised Civilization V and everything it stood for, just like they also hated Civilization IV at launch, and Civilization III and so on.

While this could partially be attributed to an entitled community (which is partially true), there are very valid reasons for feeling that each new entry is worse than the one that comes before it, for the simple reason that is often the case.

Now, before you pick up pitchforks, let me explain at launch Civilization V was a better game than Civilization IV was at launch, like Civilization IV was a better game at launch than Civilization III was at launch.

However, by the end of each title’s lifespan, after major patches and expansion packs, the previous game was in every case much better than its successor was at launch, often including many more features and mechanics and, without question, offering far more civilizations.

Because Civilization is essentially a grounded franchise with little room for creativity (such as new alien or fantasy races), the developers have very little room to create new systems. Instead, they must expand upon systems and, where possible, improve upon them while maintaining the moment-to-moment gameplay that fans have come to love.

Civilization V is especially egregious in this regard, launching without three major systems (Religion, Espionage, and the United Nations) from previous titles and reintroducing them as part of a paid DLC.

While these features upon their return were vastly better than those found in previous titles, the fact remains that Civilization V launched with fewer mechanics than Civilization IV, something which angered fans in 2010, enraged fans in 2016, and would likely cause a negative PR campaign that the gaming world has rarely ever seen if they attempt to do so in 2024/2025 with the launch of Civilization VII.

Will I buy Civilization VII at launch? Absolutely, and that is part of the problem; Civilization games are so good that the vast majority of the Civilization community will purchase every new release the day it is released, even if we know that it will be at least two years before it is as good as the game we already own.



Despite being released over 13 years ago, Civilization V remains one of the most played strategy games on Steam, with an impressive daily peak of around 17k players and a monthly peak north of 20k concurrent users.

While these numbers are not as impressive as those enjoyed by Civilization VI, the fact that a 13-year-old game can retain such an impressive community seven years after the release of its successor speaks volumes about its quality and the dedication of its faithful community.



While each Civilization title has introduced or improved aspects of the game that came before it, Civilization V was particularly innovative, introducing many new features and improving upon various titles from previous games.

City States (Base Game): These single-city civilizations can be interacted with in a variety of ways; while they lack the ambition of global domination, they can become powerful enemies or allies in the right or wrong hands, and players are free to ignore, befriend, or besiege these relatively powerful yet ultimately unambitious minor factions.

Combat (Base Game): Players can no longer stack units. Instead, players can take advantage of the terrain in new and exciting ways, while ranged units can now attack from farther away.

In addition, besieging cities has been entirely overhauled, and cities now have a health bar and the ability to attack nearby enemies, helping to ensure that cities are far more difficult to capture than in previous entries in the series.


Religion (DLC): While religion has always been part of Civilization in one way or another, it was not until Civilization IV that players could actively engage in spreading religion, and it took until Civilization V’s Gods & Kings DLC before players were given the option of shaping their chosen religion by selecting from a wide array of tenets that when applied strategically can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Espionage (DLC): Very much like religion, espionage in some form has always existed in Civilization. However, it was not until Civilization V that players were given full control over their civilization spy network, such as issuing orders to steal technology or rig elections, ensuring that players who wish to avoid open warfare had avenues to weaken their rivals, assuming that is they were not discovered and targeted for annihilation by the intended target of their subterfuge.



Civilization V has a more grounded and realistic aesthetic than any title before it or since, and while I like it, time has not been kind, and most textures look grainy and blurred when viewed on modern monitors at high resolutions.

In addition, the UI is very dated and overly cluttered. However, this was a “good design” when released and does not distract from just how good a game Civilization V is.

Larger Unit Sizes.

Civilization V uses much larger unit sizes than in any other title in the series (including its successor), and while a dozen or so soldiers do not accurately represent an entire unit, it looks much better than seeing 1 to 5 men representing an entire unit, or in the case of Civilization VI an entire army.


Modding Community.

Civilization V has a vibrant modding scene with over 11k mods available on Steam Workshop, including new factions, features, mechanics, and even total conversion mods, which allow players to experience Civilization V in entirely new ways.

Civilization V FAQ

Sid Meier's Civilization V is a 4x strategy video game developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2k, it was released on September 21, 2010 and retails for $29.99+.

Platform Availability.

Sid Meier's Civilization V is available exclusively on PC.

Are The Developers Active?

Civilization V is no longer in active development, and the developers have moved on to other projects.

Is There Group Finding/Matchmaking Support?

Civilization V offers the following matchmaking options:

  • Server Browser

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • Console - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Civilization V is rated PEGI 12+ and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

Despite starting to show its age, Civilization V is still one of the best 4X titles on the market and honestly surpasses most modern civ-likes by other publishers, despite suffering from a magnitude of restrictions imposed by the hardware that it was originally intended to be run on, and by visuals that were far from cutting edge even when it released in 2010.

In short, I fully recommend Civilization V, but unless there is a reason why you do not wish to play Civilization VI, there is no real reason not to buy it instead, as while it had a rough start, and Civilization V was the better game until 2+ years into Civilization VI’s lifespan, as of 2023, Civilization VI without a doubt is the better game, and is far more palatable to modern audiences and veterans alike.

Is Sid Meier's Civilization V Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Sid Meier's Civilization V" a rating of 8/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

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