This is not a Civilization V review


I would love right now to be telling you about how great Civilization V is. I would love to be hailing the new innovations like city-states and hexagonal tiles. I would really enjoy swapping war stories with you all, or sharing my thoughts on the best route to a scientific or cultural victory. And I'd love to have an opinion on how it compares to Civilization IV. But I can't, because I can't get Civ V to work on my PC.

I got the computer in question about four years ago, and at the time that I bought it, I wasn't necessarily expecting to be playing any games that would require state-of-the-art technology. Other than a Doom here and a Diablo II there, I've mostly been a console gamer, primarily because I don't have the energy or resources to keep up on the latest in hardware required to play most of your better PC games when they're first released. So at some point, I just stopped paying much attention to what PC games were worth checking out. This means I've missed out on things like Deus Ex and Thief. It also means I didn't even play Civilization IV, which I love, until last year. Perhaps naively, then, I assumed that Civilization V would run just fine on my machine; after all, Civ IV ran with no troubles and I sank, like, thousands of hours into that - which is why I was so excited to play the new one in the first place. I mention all of this to point out that I wasn't necessarily thinking about what graphics card I was getting when I purchased this computer. This may explain my problems with Civ V.

Anyway, after download (via Steam) was completed, I went to launch Civ V in Directx 10 mode. Nothing happened for about ten seconds, and then I got a message telling me that "Civilization V has stopped working," and assuring me that Windows was looking for a solution. Hmm. I then tried the Directx 9 mode, which at least opened a window . . . that then disappeared after about ten seconds. After a quick google, I figured out how to do a few things that might solve the problem: I disabled the opening cinematic, I updated my graphics drivers, and I even changed Windows usernames after reading a post on the game's official forum explaining that names were giving some people trouble when trying to launch the game. And still after all of that: nothing.

So I installed it on my fiancee's computer - hers was also not built for gaming, but it's a newer, more expensive model than mine, so I thought there was a chance. And in hers, the game seems to launch fine, but the text is so garbled as to make the game completely unplayable. This is apparently not an uncommon problem, but as of right now, I haven't found a solution.

I leave to you readers, then: other than getting a new computer or purchasing a pricey graphics card, what can I do here?

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