This Week in Gaming: September 21, 2010

We get Civilized with Sid, suped up with Schumacher and Serious with Sam (in HD!) this week in gaming.

Sid Meier’s Civilization V (PC)

Price: $49.99 ||Official Site

When you make a game as complex as those in the Civilization series, you walk the fine line of pissing off long time players while trying to innovate in the space. Sid Meier’s latest literally changes the space, switching from square to hexagonal territories and it’s common knowledge that more sides are better, just ask any level-four druid with a 12-sided dice fetish. In case you’ve never heard of the series or have zero imagination, this is the latest game that lets you grow a culture from infancy to empire and it shines with some intuitive advancements that make gameplay more fun and rewarding than before. The game’s depth is astounding and just playing through as the 18 different Civs while trying to find your favorite is a challenge in itself, especially because each starter civilization offers up their own unique technologies and strategy for world domination. The addition of opponent leaders being full fledged characters with their own voices and animations is a cool touch but we have to admit that Catherine of Russia’s push-up bra definitely dissuaded us from ruling over Russia with an iron fist. How’s that for realism?

Number of Beers to Enjoy: 10, but first you actually have to figure out how to brew it, Montezuma.

F1 2010 (XBOX, PS3, PC)

Price: $59.99 || Official Site

Yes, we know that this is North America and its citizens prefer their wheeled sports in this particular order: NASCAR, Murderball and then F1. Having said that, a racing game that includes the Ferrari team is at least worth a look. F1 takes to the Xbox, PS3 and PC this week and includes such improvements as ultra-realistic track effects, team-specific challenges and, you know, right turns. Your persona makes a big difference here and romping the same AI opponent will turn rivalry into reward when you get to max out your car’s potential in a three, five or seven season career mode. The game also includes a post-race interview feature where you can become a media darling or a massive jackass. Our rule of thumb; when there’s a helmet on your head it’s much harder to put your foot in your mouth, so just worry about the racing and let the burnt rubber do the talking for you.

Number of Beers to Enjoy: 6, easy there hoss, this isn’t NASCAR.

Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter (XBLA, PC)

Price: 1200 points || Official Site

With NBA Jam high-deffing it up very soon (sorry Wii owners) there are lots of good games that deserve the HD treatment and, lucky for you, Serious Sam’s Second Encounter is dropping a 720p-bomb this week. Is it cheap that studios are using graphics updates to resell us games we’ve already played? Maybe. But this time we don’t mind. Serious Sam is the kind of game that stands up to the test of time and it doesn’t hurt that Majesco decided to pay players back for their loyalty with a bunch of new secrets, modes,  maps and, of course, 8 player co-op. If you were a fan of Sam like us, you’ll agree that he’s never looked or played better, largely because of Croteam’s use of the Serious Engine 3. Co-op survival mode is a great new way to play, so don’t be surprised when weekends are lost to it; there’s nothing wrong with never going outside and friends are still friends whether you see them at a house party or an Xbox Live party.

Number of Beers to Enjoy: 12, seriously.