Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 is the latest installment in Firaxis Games’s popular 4X franchise. It was released on October 21, 2016 for Windows. In this game, civilizations from all over the world are set against each other and challenged to stand the test of time, right from the Ancient Era up to the Information Era. Players can choose to play a science game and colonize Mars to win the space race or play a faith game and spread your religion through all of corners of the world. There are a total of 18 civilizations to choose from, with a 19th available if you preordered the game.
The Civilization series is probably the flagship series in Firaxis Games and it shows in the lead up to the game’s release. For around half a year, the content of the game was teased and the civilizations was revealed one by one and the hype among the fans was almost palpable. But personally, I feel that they delivered on their promise.
One of the most common complain when it comes to sequels of games with a ton of expansion is how much feature would be removed in the sequel. For example, the Sims 4 is missing a ton of content from the Sims 3 expansions like weather and pets. This is not the case with Civilization 6. Tourism, trade routes and religion, three huge features that were added in Civilization 5’s expansions are present in Civilization 6. The only notable absence is the World Congress.
There are also new features that adds new layers of complexity to the game. Religious warfare for example, where apostles and inquisitors duke it out to spread their religion and challenge each other to “debates” to prevent the other side from spreading theirs. This mechanic also lends well to the new religious victory condition, where players must spread their religion and become dominant in all civilizations present in each match. The district system is also a new addition, where districts and wonders are now placed on the actual map itself, which means that players must plan their cities ahead, or they risk losing out on bonuses that could mean the difference between winning and losing.
The music design of the game is superb. The main theme of the game, Sogno di Volare, is fantastic, but the background music is just as impeccable. Each civilization has their own unique melody. They start off using simple instruments and as they advance through the eras, new layers of instruments are added and others are removed until it final becomes a full orchestra piece by the Atomic Era.
A lot of minor features are missing from the game, ones that I have come to love and rely on in Civilization 5. For starters, the ability to rename cities has been remove. (This will be added in a later patch) But there’s also many others, like build queues and civilization reports that aren’t likely to be added. You could still find out how big another civilization’s army is through the summary screen, but details like population or land is missing. Also, there’s no restart option at the start of the game and to make matters worse, the options you chose aren’t saved, so you’ll have to reselect difficulty, map type, game speed each time you start a new game. What the heck, Firaxis?
I also had issues with the aesthetics of the game. I like the style, but because everything is so detailed and so bright, I have difficulty spotting things sometimes. Tribal villages are so easy to miss, and I would probably never get them if there wasn’t an alert every time they come into view. Tile improvements are also difficult to spot, I couldn’t see at a glance whether there’s a mine or a pasture on the tile or not. It doesn’t help that the tool tip pop up speed is incredibly slow.
The AI is weird. I’ve played about five set of games and the AI behavior ranged wildly. There were times when they were all against me and I had to fight war after war and the armies they sent against me weren’t small either. Other times, a civilization of the side of the map would declare war on me and a few turns later, ask for peace, because there was no way we could fight with all the other civilizations between us. Sometimes, the AI is very competent and I almost lost out to culture or science victories and managed to snatch a win by the skin of the teeth. Other times, the AI is just so far behind they’re fighting my tanks with knights. I played all of them on the same difficulty too and the AI behavior isn’t exactly explained by the Leader agendas. For one thing, it was Tomyris who snuck up on me with that tourism output and it was Gorgo who almost won the space race. Both lead pretty aggressive civilizations.
There are a few changes that I hope will happen, but aren’t necessarily bad things. They’re just things I would rather have available for more flexibility. For example, I hope that there will be an option to cancel district building once you’ve started, or even demolish an existing one, because I could have missed something before I plopped it down or I misclicked. I’m also hoping for a speed between quick and standard. Standard can be a drag, and quick is just too fast to really appreciate the game in. By the time your district is completed, two tech tiers would have passed and there just isn’t much room to earn those tech boosts.
I’m looking forward to see what kind of DLCs are coming. We know that the Aztec DLC will be coming in 90 days. A Jadwiga lead Poland is likely coming too, with a Isabella lead Spain, which leads me to think that there might be a religion focused pack coming soon. Either way, it will be exciting to see what other civilizations are coming and what the first big expansion will add for Sid Meier’s Civilization 6.
A new take on the Civilization franchise that is both familiar and strange at the same time. It’s also the kind of game that makes you say one more turn and before you know it, it’s the brink dawn and you have work for the rest of the day. Super fun and addictive, make sure you have ample amounts of time if you do get it.
PS: Check out my Civilization 6 pre-release hype series