Editor: Matthew DeCarlo

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The fifth installment of Firaxis' popular turn-based strategy series was launched last Friday, September 24, and we've decided to greet the title with a battery of tests. Published by 2K Games, Sid Meier's Civilization V is a classic example of what many like to call a "4X" game, as players manage an empire where they "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate."

4X games are noted for their complex gameplay, with emphasis placed on economic and technological development, as well as a range of non-militaristic paths to supremacy. Games can take a long time to complete as the amount of micromanagement needed to sustain an empire scales as it grows. Those mechanics often lead people to criticize the genre, and several games have tried to address these concerns by limiting micromanagement.

Unfortunately, turn-based strategy games are not our cup of tea so we'll avoid commenting on the gameplay, focusing instead on how the game performs when using various GPUs and CPUs. Before diving into the benchmark results, we'll at least provide some brief background information on what Civilization is all about, along with what's new in the franchise's latest entry.

In Civilization V, players develop a settlement from prehistoric through futuristic times on a procedurally-generated map, achieving various victory conditions via research, diplomacy, expansion, economic growth, as well as government and military conquest. It is based on an entirely new game engine with hexagonal tiles instead of the square tiles used in previous iterations. Many elements from Civilization IV and its expansion packs have been removed or changed, such as religion and espionage.

The combat system has been overhauled. Military units can no longer stack, and cities can defend themselves by firing directly on nearby enemies. In addition, maps contain computer-controlled city-states as non-player characters that are available for trade, diplomacy and conquest. A region's borders also expand more realistically, favoring more productive terrain, and the concept of roads has changed.

So far, Civilization V has received positive reviews. gave it 9.4 out of 10, while G4TV awarded the title a 5 out of 5 rating, dubbing it a "fantastic turn-based strategy game." IGN gave it an "Outstanding 9.0," saying it's "the first Civilization for PC that is worth just about every person's time." However, many reviewers complain that the AI is overaggressive and suffers from weak diplomatic skills.