Game Review: Civilization VI

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Pick a leader, uncover the fog and decide policies… Civilization 6 carries the legacy of its previous versions forward

It’s been more than five years since the last Civilization game, and the latest one has big shoes to fill. Civilization has been pretty consistent, over the 20-plus years it has been around delivering a great game every single time. This streak largely has to do with the central mechanics of the game that has never truly been changed… and that’s a good thing. Civ 6 follows in the grand tradition.

You start with picking a civilisation. This comes with a famous leader who will guide you to world domination. You can, of course, choose India and have a Mahatma Gandhi who in the game preaches more than just non-violence.

The game is turn based, which means after you complete a turn, your opponent has a go, similar to chess. The graphics and maps have a good board game sort of feel and the leaders are well designed. The maps are procedurally designed, which means they change every time you play a new game and play you will. It is easy to clock in at least three hours in just one session.

So, what’s new?
There are a lot of small touches graphically that make this game the best looking Civ yet. For example, the undiscovered fog is in the form of an old-style hand drawn map. As you discover the regions, the fog turns into gorgeous tiles with a lot of activity happening on them. Once you make a city, the surrounding hexagons can be bought for expansion. You can even set up districts, unlike the previous version where everything would happen within the city.

The location of the city on the world map also demands you change how you approach a particular game, depending heavily on resources in the surrounding area. This is a major change from the previous version where you could rely on whatever strategy you had in mind.

There is also a change in how your government and its ideologies work. You get a bunch of policies as the game progresses and you have to select them as you go along. Each policy card has a few perks and mentions your default stance on military, diplomacy, economy and wildcard. This system changes the way the game functions and is a very interesting twist that makes this game re-playable till the next Civ shows up.

The tech tree has also been split up. You have your standard tech tree, which takes you through various ages and technologies and you have a civics tree that lets you research ideas. It is an interesting twist that makes the game slightly more complicated. However, it has been represented well enough for you not to be confused with it. The leaders of other countries are a little predictable now, but not always. They will condemn you for violence but at the same time each leader has some quirk that might get you in their s**t-list just by playing the game normally. The leader screens have been upgraded and they look much better with animation and reworked character art. The music is also amazing. There are a lot of newer additions that make this game a worthy successor.

What’s bad?
There is very little wrong with Civ 6. And these details mostly arise from ignoring factors important in the previous games. For example, going to the next age, say from Stone Age to Bronze Age, is not that big a deal. The game takes a huge amount of time loading larger saved maps — again, a small annoyance. For experienced Civ gamers, even though there is an option to play the tutorial that explains only what is new, we suggest play the complete tutorial. The flow on that tutorial is much better than the only Civ 6 one.

Fans of Civilization don’t need this review to pick up the game, it has been consistent enough to know that this one is going to be great too. That said, the game is in much better shape at launch than its predecessor, which got good once the expansions came out. The twists bring a lot to the table and make the game a lot more interesting and complex. So, it is a no brainer for fans. For the non-fans, it is a question of if they like turn-based strategies. If you do, then this game is a must-have; if you don’t, then this is a good start. For the rest, you don’t know what you are missing out on. This game is easily in line for game of the year.

Civilization VI
Rating: 4.5/5
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: PC, Mac
Price: ‘2,499
(Steam download)

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