I lost terribly in a grinding end.
I played the Ottomans at the east end of a large continent with England, Russia, Greece, and America as neighbors. There were others, but they seemed to be on the other side of the continent (Germany, Japan, Iroquois, etc).
Standard size, wet, 10 civs, 20 city-states, and Prince level.
Does this game work out off the box for you? No! a stunning 47.33% of the responders answered! MP is nearly unplayable someone claimed! Are we talking about Civilization V? No! These are comments about Civ4!. Just after it's release the Civ IV Forums were flooded with complains and cries for help. Was Civilization IV a tragedy? Not at all. After a slow start many (if not most) considered Civ4 to be the best Civgame ever! Even one of the most skeptical Civ-Fans, yin26, in the end had to Eat the Civ4 box as he promised to do if Civ4 would live up to his high expectations!
How did Civ4 become such legendary iteration in the series after such a slow start? The answer is: Patching! And not only patching, also the expansions, Warlords in 2006 and Beyond the Sword in 2007, expanded the game into something great! What may that say about the Civ5 support in the future?
Civilization V makes for a very odd testing scenario. There are no corridors to run down, and shooting the enemy doesn't result in anything more than two little characters poking at each other on a map. As a result, we had to break our testing down into two parts. To beat down the CPU, we actually timed how long it took for the game to complete the AI's turn. This was an amazingly taxing calculation on the CPU that was easily measurable in the tens of seconds and highly repeatable. Video card testing consisted of moving across the same map at the most zoomed-out setting, which dropped frame rates by more than half and proved to be quite consistent. Both tests were performed on a late-game scenario that had numerous computer AIs vying for superiority on a large map. Smaller maps with fewer AI opponents didn't stress the system nearly as much.
Gamespot placed a review of the Modding and Multiplayer abilities of Civilization V online! It talks in-depth about Modding: "The worldbuilder itself is remarkably easy to use" the review says. It's even possible to 'tune' the game you're playing: "You can also use the game's "tuner" tool in-game, which lets you change in-game values and units in real time over the course of an actual game." One of the mods-in-progress Gamespot saw was: "a tactical mod that starts all players with a preset handful of military units, which appear to be gigantic on the world map, and that plays less like a game of traditional Civ and more like a game of chess." Mods can even work together: "you can set Civ V's mods to work directly with other mods (or to be exclusive of other mods)"
Brian Leahy got to play around 2 hours of Civilization V multiplayer against three human opponents. In general, for him it was a good experience but he had some concerns about the simultaneous-turn multiplayer mode, which is the only mode Civilization V supports right out of the box. His concerns are that the simultaneous-turns may increase computing time, so that even on the quickest settings a game takes hours. And that a turn ends automatically, when all the units have been moved even if there may be some city management left. But this issue is supposed to be addressed before game release.
However, Brian liked the special multiplayer user interface. There is a quick access to diplomacy screen, without the need for a full leader animated screen, and battles are not animated and so resolve, quickly.
Just two weeks before the release of Civilization 5 (In North America) the magazine Game Informer published an article about City States. It's a feel good article that just describes how City States alter the game, how the mechanics work, why despite the at first sight huge costs pay off in the end. The article reads very entertaining and gives a good idea on how these City States will be a game changer.
The new PC Gamer (printed) is the first magazine to review Civilization 5. The magazine gives a very good score to the game: 93%! According to the article Civ5 "isn't necessarily better than Civilization IV" because that's almost impossible. "This is more of an equal that exists in parallel, offering a fresh and invigorating style of play with more emphasis on combat"