Review: Civilization VI is the best in it's class, maybe even best in all classes
I was skeptical, I tried it, I loved it
Platforms: PC, Windows (reviewed on), iOS
The Civilization games have always held a high standard and been regarded as a quality franchise amongst the strategy games community, but the latest installment holds an even higher standard than fans of the franchise are used to. Civilization VI might even be the best Civilization at launch ever!
Civilization VI is new yet familiar, it is the classic build a city > build buildings > trade > get confused about why the AI goes to war with you when you did nothing wrong > build units-> go to war > win formula. It may sound like Civilization VI is just a re-skinned version of the previous games in the franchise but it is not, it is improved in so many ways, both big and small.
Civilization VI is a great game for longtime fans of the franchise but it also manages to let new players feel welcome as well.
Like coming home, but it's new and improved
People who expect a new story with a captivating narrative that builds on the earlier games have come to the wrong place. Civilization VI improves on almost everything, if not everything.
One of the worries I had before the launch of Civilization VI was how they were going to improve the tech tree and what building and units they would add to the game, how were they going to make it feel fresh, you can’t really get "new" technologies or flip around where you get them, it's based on history after all.
This is something Firaxis improved in ways which feel logical but were never thought about before and one of the ways they do it is with the “Eureka”, or boost, system. Doing certain actions boosts certain technologies, like settling on the sea boosts sailing, this makes it feel like your civilization can actually think a bit for themselves like “hmm, it would be sweet if we were able to go out on the water we live next to, maybe we should try something”. These Eurkekas also cuts the research time in half making boosting vital for success. There have also been several additions to the tech tree to bridge the gaps or some have replaced others.
The tech tree is not the only thing that Firaxis improved, they also changed around how culture works. Now culture gets the same treatment as technology and players have to pick the next culture “technology”, Civic, they want. When a new civic has been discovered players also have to pick if they want these new civics to be a part of their government, something which has been re-introduced in Civilization VI. Once a new civic policy has been discovered players gets a new policy card and they have to choose whether or not they want to spend it on one of their limited Military-, Economic-, Diplomatic-, or Wildcard card slots, giving further depth to the game.
The technology- and civics tree are both entwined making it harder to only focusing on science or culture, forcing players to broaden their game more than in Civilization V. Units like the Privateer is locked in the civics tree, things like Drama and Poetry used to be in the science tree in Civilization V but in Civilization VI it has been made into a civic, and Eurekas for respective tree at times come from doing something from the other tree, making for a more tactical gameplay experience.
Be strict with your district
Another big change to Civilization VI is the district feature. Earlier players could build practically everything they wanted and the restrictions on building buildings were few. Earlier players just built everything in the city center and wonders were just placed randomly around the city they were built in, now players have to think carefully what they want their city to specialize in because the number of districts players can build are limited to their population and districts take up a tile of their own.
As if forcing players to pick what district they want to build while waiting to reach the next population milestone wasn’t hard enough, players also have to think carefully about where to put them, districts also both gets and provides adjacency bonuses. Should you put the Theatre Square (cultural district) down where you get three more extra culture per turn but it removes a resource? Or should you put down the Industrial Zone on that tile where it gets 2 extra production, but it provides 3 adjacency bonuses or should you put it down further away where it gives you five extra production but no adjacency bonuses? A lot of thought needs to go into the placement of districts and the decision on which one to build, adding yet another layer to this already amazing cake.
Wonders also take up a tile this time around making world wonders feel a bit more special while it also removes the wonder rushing that Civilization V had a lot of. Now wonders don’t give players anything if they fail to complete them in time and they all have their own criteria that need to be fulfilled before they can be placed, making wonders much more high risk; high reward.
Some wonders are rather straightforward, the Oracle, for example, needs to be placed on a hills tile while other wonders like the Great Zimbabwe are a bit more complicated and must be built next to a Commercial Hub with a bank in it and also be placed next to cattle. This finally makes the wonders in Civilization feel a bit more realistic, they now take a whole tile and you can’t put the Pyramids in a marsh next to a rainforest anymore. But to reward players who manage to build a wonder they get a short animated movie of the building process, so that’s something .