Civilization VI – Review
Follow Genre: Strategy
Developer: Firaxis
Publisher: 2K
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Civilization VI – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Incredible new mechanics and features
Bad: Terrible AI
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Take up the mantle of Emperor and lead your chosen nation to glory as you progress from the stone age, into modern times and beyond. It is time to once again, to make history. Civilization VI is here.20161105144044_1Story

Civilization VI is more of a creative sandbox than a story game. You will explore a new world, meeting nations and creating a whole world history of your own. There is no set story to follow, instead you must make your own story as you progress, making friends and enemies as you go. Take part in huge ancient battles, and then excavate the battlegrounds hundreds of years later to display your findings in a museum. It is surprisingly easy to role-play to and you can quickly make a powerful story of your own.20161105144335_1Graphics

This iteration has departed quite noticeably from the usual look of the franchise, with a whole different art style and aesthetic. The new look is much more cartoony than the old and whilst some will love the new look, others will hate it. We actually welcome the change, it is refreshing and it actually works very well. The map artwork for unexplored areas is stunning; it is designed to look like an ancient map with dragons, sea monsters and compasses over unknown areas. The leader animations are smooth and well crafted, but expect the leader denouncement animations to grate on you after a little while (you will likely be getting denounced a lot, regardless of your play style.)20161105144421_1Sound

If you’ve played the previous civilization game then your expectations may be high when it comes to music and sound, rightfully so. Thankfully however the music and sound design is, once again, top notch. The music is stunning, and the sound design really makes all your cities come to life before your eyes. As if this was not enough, the dulcet tones of Sean Bean narrates just about everything in the game for you, which is a fantastic new addition.

Gameplay

Civilization VI is an epic turn based strategy that puts you in charge of a nation at the dawn of civilization and challenges you to become a world leader. You must advance through the ages meeting other nations, researching technology, discovering new lands and founding cities. To win the game you must meet one of several victory conditions such as conquering all other players’ capitals, or building a colony on Mars.20161105144956_1Civilization VI has taken a turn away from the previous games, with cities no longer being crammed onto a single tile. Instead you must expand and build districts on nearby or neighboring tiles. This is a great addition and helps create the feel of a real urban centre surrounded by small hamlets and villages, but makes planning your city far more important than before. World wonders also get a tile of their own, which is much more fitting, but it is kind of annoying that they take up so much of your precious real estate.

The happiness system from the previous game is gone and in its place is something called housing and amenities. Amenities functions in a similar way to the old happiness mechanic except that luxury resources (amenities) are local rather than global, so each city has its own supply of resources. Having too few amenities can cause unrest and even rebellion in your city. This is a welcome change as the whole happiness system from previous games did not really make much sense, it was just a way to punish over-expansion and having high populations. (The more cities and population you had, the more unhappy your citizens were.)20161105144359_1Having said that however, the amenities system is not without problems. There no longer seems to be any penalties that prevent you rapidly colonising/conquering every landmass in sight. Other people have also complained that they feel forced to only settle cities nearby luxury resources, or else face their city in open rebellion, but that was never an issue for us. In fact we always settled where we liked and actively ignored all notifications about cities needing more amenities, and nothing bad ever happened.

The other half of this, is the housing system: Your city must have adequate housing for it to keep growing in population and if you run out of space then your growth slows to a crawl. This makes much more sense than the previous systems and actually works really well. You must build districts or improvements that increase housing in order to keep your cities growing, which is much more immersive and realistic.

Firaxis have also improved upon the trade route system from Civilization V’s Brave New World expansion. Trade routes are now vital to the success of your empire as traders now create roads as they travel between cities, another mechanic that adds to immersion and makes much more sense than the previous way of building roads (which was manually making a builder create your roads one painstaking tile at a time.)20161105144529_1The combat is similar to the previous game but they have now brought back troop stacking (sort of) by allowing you to merge several units together to form armies or armadas. Barbarians are actually a threat once more as new cities are no longer inexplicably strong when you create them. A city now needs you to build walls before you can bombard units with your city. This is much more realistic and makes you play much more strategically. You can’t just wack a city across the other side of the continent and expect it to remain safe from barbarians or other nations.

Apart from this, and plenty of small changes in the strength of different units, the combat is largely unchanged, but as the old saying goes “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. The only problem with combat in Civ VI is that currently, the AI is absolutely abysmal. If you’re aiming for a conquest victory, then don’t expect the enemy armies to put up much of a fight. In fact, they’re probably more likely to get themselves killed doing something stupid than die while doing damage to you.20161105144518_1Unfortunately the AI stupidity does not end with war and marshaling troops. The other nations will frequently do stupid and infuriating things like settling a city right beside you and then demanding that you move troops away from “their border”. They will all public denounce you frequently for no particular reason, even if you’re playing nice. And you may even get called a warmonger by a nation that has just declared war on you, for daring to fight back.

There is also a new diplomacy option with vastly improved features, like allowing you declare war for justifiable reasons, such as claiming back a stolen city or because of religious interference. Whilst all of this is great, it unfortunately doesn’t really work right now due to the terrible AI. No matter what you do, you’re a warmonger and every other nation you encounter is run by a complete lunatic, making the diplomatic options kind of pointless at the moment.20161105144903_1Conclusion

The Civilization franchise is infamous for infuriating AI and game breaking bugs appearing, but they do eventually tend to get fixed. Civilization VI has the potential to be the best civilization game ever made. It looks beautiful, it plays well, and there are mechanics in place that provide the foundations for an absolutely incredible game. And for the most part, Civ VI is incredible, it is just let down by the bugs and terrible AI. Despite all this, we would still recommend it. Civ VI is already a great game, and when these issues eventually get fixed, it will be an amazing one.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Civilization VI - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

2 Comments

  1. […] The original game Civilization VI was released in 2016 and now receives an expansion called Rise and Fall. The expansion builds upon an already excellent game and adds countless extra hours of play. Several new factions are added with leaders like Shaka leader of the Zulus, Genghis Khan of Mongolia, Queen Seondeok of Korea and Robert the Bruce of Scotland. Besides new leaders you’ll have to deal with the ups and downs of your faction in the so called dark and golden ages. Both pose unique challenges and rewards. You’ll now be able to recruit local powerful characters to act as governors of your cities, but be aware each city now has its own loyalty rating and might go into open rebellion against you. The alliance system also received an overhaul to provide more flexible options to respond to emergency situations like when one civilization is getting too powerful. This and several more small updates are sure to keep us busy for a while. You can find our review of the original game right here. […]

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  2. […] they’ve always envisioned themselves to be. Rise and Fall is an expansion to 2016’s Civ VI and adds a plethora of micromanagement options to your cities, ranging from a new ways to play […]

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