Civilization VI Review

Written by Jake Tucker

October 25, 2016 | 11:04

Tags: #civilization #civilization-iv #sid-meier #strategy

Companies: #firaxis

Civilization VI review Civilization VI Review

Which is probably why it's canned unhappiness, or at least unhappiness as it used to exist. Your people can still get sad, and frequently do, but they'll get annoyed now because you haven't provided enough amenities for them to use, often whining about said lack of facilities while you're engaged in a brutal war and too busy to make sure every citizen has a fax machine at their disposal. The name of the game now seems to be giving people enough food, as it always was, but also making sure they have enough housing to grow into and amenities to keep them amused. Do this, and you can grow as wide as you like, although as housing is often generated from physical hex-based improvements, you'll struggle to grow forever.

Combat is much the same as Civ V's hex-based efforts, although changed with the ability to make armies and corps that results in a bigger and better crowd of units inhabiting the same square. It's not a full return to the Civ IV Death Stack of old, but it allows you to create an effective fighting force with a bit of work, which can be useful when space to attack is at a premium.

Civilization VI review Civilization VI Review

Another particularly cool reworked mechanic - because, again, there's no room to talk about everything so I have to extract nice things; that's how vast this game is and I'm now digressing painfully so back on track right now - is roads. Roads have long been a problem for Civilization: how do you stop everyone just building criss-crossing roads across every single bit of their territory?

Civ V tried to do it by charging maintenance upkeep for roads. In a lot of ways, this worked, but it did mean that you were punished for expanding too far by paying expensive road upkeep. Civ VI seems to have cracked it - it's traders that build your roads, not builders. Set up a trade route to another city, and your trader will build a road there as he travels, giving you roads to send people down. These can be pillaged and destroyed if you have a bit of a tiff, but largely it means you'll slowly and organically connect yourself to the greater world around you as you mix and match your trade deals.

Civilization VI review Civilization VI Review

My opinion of Civilization is overwhelmingly positive, and it's my favourite strategy game of the year barring 2K's other big strategy title, XCOM 2. However, there are a couple of niggles: the UI, for example, particularly in multiplayer. Trying to find people that have luxury or strategic resources you need to trade is agonising and you'll often miss important tool tips in the tiny mess at the right of your screen.

Diplomacy sucks too; the AI often don't seem to care about mutual benefit, and would rather denounce you and refuse your deals most of the time. That's not to say you can never be friends, but it's definitely a pain right now, especially with how slow the diplomacy screen is.

Civilization VI review Civilization VI Review

These are big niggles, and genuinely very annoying, but in the context of Civilization VI as the big exciting strategy monster that it is, they're not enough to impact my stellar recommendation. The AI can be tweaked and rebalanced, and I've no doubt it will be a little bit, and many of the smaller bugs (I've heard of and reproduced a game-breaking one with the Scythian empire that's a real hoot) will undoubtedly be gone in a few weeks. Civilization is a tough beast, because ever since Civ IV, the Civilization games have been at their best a couple of years down the line - usually when the second expansion comes out.

This Civilization feels different in that it's immediately tight and playable and, as far as I can tell, the multiplayer works without any real patching too - I played multiple games over the weekend, with the biggest being six players.

Civilization VI review Civilization VI Review

It's been a really great year for gaming, and with Civilization VI we've found another winner. Whether you've played a Civ in the past and want to jump back in, are a long-term devout follower or just fancy playing an empire builder, book a week off of work and buy Civilization VI.
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