Civ V’s music evokes intelligence. I haven’t listened through the entire set, but so far, I haven’t run into a single bad track within six hours of gameplay mixed with listening to the folder itself when I’m playing other games, Starcraft II especially. If a game does not absolutely demand atmosphere, I am listening to the folder.
I look at this and I say, wow, that’s a deal. Even if you dislike the changes about the game, the size of the music folder, which is playable with most players, is far beyond the $50 pricetag. I mean, on iTunes, we’re talking at least $200 of music from around the world. (I was about to say 300, but there are a few tracks that hover around the measly minute range.) While it may not seem like it, I’ve been persistent in my quest for the ideal study music. I’ve tried ambient, but the artificial quality often distracts me. Subsequently, I know nothing about musical history, save for a few compositions that I can only name by reciting the chorus. Civ 5 just made it easy. Almost too easy. Everything is in one place to be consumed.
Every time I sit down to listen, I feel glad that I installed quiet fans and upgraded my soundcard to a Xonar DS over a X-fi xtreme gamer. The soundscapes are calming and provocative in the same instance of thought. Even when playing intense games of Starcraft II, scrambling to keep up my macro and micro, the tone set by a majority of the soundtrack allows me to maintain clarity through cognitive fog of war. When I’m not distracted by other activities, I find myself drifting into cinematic daydreams, tying the excellent compositions to nameless cinema. Small snippets of silent film, rendered with emotional paint and detailed with the intricacy of the score. Civilization is probably best experienced through the music. The visuals pale in comparison to the full and varied landscape of cultural pieces, filling hours and hours of what might be thoughtless time.
Now, be mindful that the soundtrack is rendered somewhat useless by the presence of the music folder. You didn’t actually ‘have’ to pay the extra 10 for a mobile form of the music. However, it isn’t without purpose; the soundtrack is a fine sampler of the folder with tags and other nice organizational bits that make for a clean library. You might feel outraged by the glass-half-empty, but before you go on a mad tirade about how Civ V ripped you off, remember how colossal the folder is and what you have been given for free.