“One more turn
When you first start the game up, the option to select DirectX9 or DirectX10/11 graphics if your video card supports. What does this mean? If you have the ability to view the higher end graphics on your rig, you will have some better lighting effects partnered with some really cool looking water effects. Not only does Civ5 support DirectX11 graphics, the developers have chosen to go with a hex grid allowing for some gorgeous graphics and changes in the gameplay elements. The hex grid was one of those deviations that improved Civ5 immensely.
The hex grid allowed for some great-looking graphics while also adding a more fleshed out map layout that looked closer to what you would expect in real life. The hex grid also allowed for a more diverse palate of terrain than what was seen in previous versions. In my opinion, changing from the square grid to the hex grid plays a huge role in what makes Civ 5 such a great game. Not only has the gameplay improved, but so have the visuals.
Everyone remembers the stacks of doom, right? Players used to stack together a boatload of units and the mob would run around the map conquering city after city and only a well placed nuke could stop it. This strategy is now a relic of the past: The max amount of units you can have per hex are 2. One support unit (a settler or a worker) and one combat unit. Ranged units actually shoot over a number of hexes now and terrain has modifiers that can make one unit survive a massive onslaught that should have ended in defeat. Civ5 combat now relies more than ever on a keen tactical mind and foresight is needed to make sure that units are not in each others way. Overall, this change was much needed and makes combat a treat versus it being a mindless activity.
Another combat oriented change was the ability of cities to finally defend themselves. I older versions of the game a city needed a garrison unit to be able to survive an assault. Now the city has a defensive rating that can be increased by building combat related structures and it can actually fire at units that are a couple of hexes away or defend itself when a melee unit runs in to crush down the gates. Once a city has been conquered, you have the option to raze it, annex it, or install a puppet government. Annexing the city will give you complete control but it will take some time and the construction of a courthouse to stabilize the inhabitants. If you install a puppet government, the city becomes part of your civilization but remains under AI control. These changes are welcome and cause the player to worry even more about strategic placement of cities.
Dealing with other civilizations is a staple in Civilization and one more wrinkle has been thrown into the mix: The city-state. Imagine if your civilization only constructed one city and sat there waiting to be discovered and then can either be conquered or allied with and you have the idea behind city-states. If you approach them diplomatically and perform tasks for them or supply them with money, protection, or units, they provide all of their resources to you and another special gift depending on what type of city-state they are. This can range from units to more food for your cities. City-states are another nice variable that the player can either use to further their own ends or just conquer them and add another city to the collection.