The greatest 4X game in existence, Civilization VI is a strategy masterpiece. Having 5 older installments really helps out of course, but as with Civilization V, every game has to be compared to the legend that is Civilization IV.
I’m sure that I can convince you that this game is an improvement upon its previous installments. This review will be split into a storyline, gameplay, visuals, and finally, a final thoughts section. Without further ado:
Table of Contents
One of the best parts of this series (and trust me, there are a lot!) is the fact that you kinda create your own story.
The main premise is that you are the head of one of the greatest civilizations that ever spanned the earth. Specifically, every installment might have some of the same civilizations, but you might get different leaders.
Anyway, your purpose is to forge your civilization’s path in a way that it “stands the test of time”. Practically, this means that you must excel in 1 out of 5 possible directions.
Throughout the game, many events will happen that will shape history (world wars, natural disasters, nuclear disasters etc), and by the end, you get a full history book of yours and every other civilization’s greatest achievements. Fun!
As mentioned, your Civilization must excel in (at least) 1 of 5 possible directions. Let’s dig into that.
Every Civilization has its strengths and weaknesses. In fact, some civilizations might share a leader, which further capitalizes on strengths and weaknesses. Generally, each civilization has 1 trait and every different leader another.
Now, the 5 possible directions are:
- Culture, which means that you are the superior Civilization in terms of tourism.
- Science, which means that you are the first to inhabit another planet.
- Domination, which means that you practically conquered the biggest part of the world.
- Religion, which means that your religion is the one true religion among the corners of the Earth.
- Diplomacy, the newest one, which means that you become the world leader in the world council through your peaceful ways.
As every faction has its strength and weaknesses, that means that most factions have an optimal path they can take. Sure they can use the other directions as well, or even aim to excel there, but every civilization is built around 1 (or 2) of those directions.
Gameplay-wise, these are your 5 win conditions. There is a sixth hidden one that is used in case of a time out (which means that you reached a specific age without any civilization hitting a milestone). It is called Score victory, and takes your collective score and compares it to the others’.
Before I explain the (regular) win conditions analytically, I must explain the actual gameplay first.
You begin the game with a settler and (usually) a scout. Your first objective is to use the settler and build your first city (and capital) of your glorious nation.
Usually, you’ll be building in the first hex you spawned, but you might find that there is a better hex nearby and decide that this place is better for your glorious capital. Thus, you might lose a turn, but hey, you’re the leader, you know best.
After you settle, you decide on what the city produces, what its focus is, and maybe do some exploring with your scout. The time to produce is determined by something called production yields.
Typically, a city has 3 kinds of yields.
- Production, which determines how fast you produce stuff.
- Gold, which is… gold.
- Food, which determines how much (and how fast) your city will grow.
Some resources or Natural Wonders will also provide bonus Science, Culture or Religion. There are Leader abilities that may also do the same.
In due time, more yields will become available, and you can choose the main focus.
Furthermore, you must decide if your first scientific and cultural advancements, each taking a specific amount of turns based on your science and culture yields per turn respectively. Every civilization begins with specific advancements unlocked.
The advancements allow you to build more things, do more things and generally, be more productive. At some point, you’ll produce another settler, which will found another city, and step by step, your civilization grows.
Of course, while claiming the land is important for various resources, you must find the balance between settling everywhere and managing your cities. Plus, there are going to be some unhappy leaders when they see that you try to claim everything.
At some point, you will meet some new civilizations. You can then ally with them, trade, or even fight. Fighting is a bit complicated though, as you need a Casus Belli, a valid reason to declare war (such as clamoring back a town, holy wars, or wars in the name of allies).
You can go to war without having a Casus Belli, but afterward, every leader will be distrustful towards you.
As science and culture progresses, so do the amount of action you can do. You can travel the sea, or create new resorts and monuments.
At some point, you will be asked to create a Pantheon based on some predetermined options. If you collect enough religious points, you can found your own religion (which can be named anything for anyone interested in shamanism or satanism I guess).
The number of religions able to be founded is exactly half of the total number of civilizations in the game. So if you want your own religion, you better hurry, as many civilizations will be looking to grab a spot.
At some point, as everything evolved, so will diplomacy. A world congress will form and votes will be taken in important things such as the new world leader.
Now, back to the win conditions. Cultural victories are based on tourism. Generally, you produce tourists by building great monuments, or by having great works of art by various Great People that you can claim during the game. You win when you have more tourists from each civilization that they have domestic.
Science is technologically advancing to create a colony on Mars.
Dominion, which means conquer all. To do this, you must be controlling every original capital of every civilization. This is by far the hardest victory type.
Religion. You must expand your religion to all non-believers. Essentially, to do that, every civilization must have half of its cities converted to your religion.
More often than not, the religious game is a totally different game than the other, as you don’t bother with the traditional units and mechanics, not do you care for war.
Of course, it’s your duty to enforce your peace-loving true religion to everyone, even by force! You can do that using Holy Wars, which is another valid Casus Belli.
By diplomacy, you must be the world leader. While that sounds awesome, it means that you collected a lot of diplomacy points by generally either building important diplomatic monuments or partaking in a lot of decisions. Many players can sabotage you here so be careful.
The game also has espionage. Naturally, some civilizations will be better at it than others.
Nevertheless, espionage is very important as it is the only way to know how close someone is to winning. The game doesn’t notify you about your rivals, it just gives you a scoreboard that basically tells you who’s leading where.
Another awesome thing about this game is the replayability. The amount is insane. You can choose your world size, type, temperature, rival civilizations, and you can set them all to random.
With the expansion Gathering Storm and onward, there is also another parameter to look out for. If you (and other leaders) use too much coal, oil or uranium to power up your cities with the new power system, you will be emitting CO2 to the atmosphere.
After enough has been released, the world will change, more natural disasters will occur, and more coastal tiles will permanently flood.
You can also disable some of the win conditions to spice up the game. And even if you decide to play the same settings over and over, you’re still gonna get different maps and events. You can play this game… forever!!!
Even the SFX is amazing and you can see that a lot of work is put into them as expected from a game of this caliber.
Every civilization has its own cultural background music, there is some level of ambient sound and most importantly, every leader speaks in his/her native language.
You can tell that the actors did a terribly good job as some of the languages don’t even exist today! (Looking at you Ancient Greek).
The graphics are flawless. The game is a Triple-A game that requires a great PC to run. It has some really heavy requirements.
That said, you can play the game on lower-end specs, but expect the turns to last forever in the later stages of the game due to the sheer amount of processing that must be done.
The game is awesome. You can tell that a lot of work is being put into it with lots of frequent updates for balance and new features and civilizations.
As for the comparisons to its pre-predecessor, I have 2 things to say.
First, they try to bring the experience as close to it as possible. When it started, there really was no point in comparing the 2, but now, Civilization VI has no reason to be jealous of Civilization IV.
Secondly, I have an opinion: new is (almost) always better. And this game is no exception. And there is legit hope that Civilization VI will be the first game in the franchise to receive a third expansion. If that’s not a sign of greatness, I don’t know what is.
What never ceases to amaze me is how the developers cram every bit of history and source to everything in this game, so it can serve an educational purpose as well.
Personal Score: 10
The only negative is its kinda steep price but it’s well worth it. Do you play Civilization VI. Have you ever played any of the previous games? If so, what is your opinion on this game? Write me down in the comments.
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The images I used are from the following site: