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Civilization VI

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 9 - 2016

If I could rule the world.

 
The Civilization games are a mainstay on my gaming PC, as I am sure they have been on the machines of many other gamers. Since Civilization III, a Civilization game has been installed on my machine after every reformat or rebuild, and hundreds of hours have been lost over the years as I play out my own global domination fantasies. Through the ups and downs of the series, each new entry tries to change things up without making too much of a change to the core gameplay. Now we have Civilization VI and it is time to dominate the world again.

 
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Those who have never taken on the role of a great world leader and attempted to lead their civilisation to greatness will find in Civilization VI a game that is surprisingly easy to understand. Civilization VI is a deep and complex game, but the way the game is layered means that players can jump in at the deep end and learn as they go without feeling too overwhelmed. Or they can simply work through what is a very capable tutorial should they want a little more direction. Either way, Civilization VI is a very welcoming game.

 
The core gameplay remains the same as it has always been. Players will choose a civilisation and leader, and then found a city on a randomly generated map. From there, players will move through history while expanding their borders, founding new cities and researching technologies. They will also have to deal with other civilisations as they head towards one of a few different victory conditions. Diplomacy, trade, religion, scientific advancement, there are many different aspects that will be involved in building up a dominating civilisation, and each game, which will last hours by the way, will be different.

 
The first big change that will be apparent to returning players are the visuals. Perhaps to make the game that little bit more inviting for newcomers, Civilization takes on a much more colourful, cartoonish look. The fog of war takes on the form of a simple hand-drawn map, but as the player unveils the world around them, it pops into life with bright colours and an impressive level of detail. That level of detail can also be found in the civilisation leaders who, despite a more cartoon style, are incredibly expressive and as mad as ever.

 
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The next change, that I should have taken notice of, is to the victory conditions of the game. While score, time, domination, culture and science victories are still present and correct, the diplomatic victory is currently missing from the ways to win the game. In it’s place is a religious victory, which happens to be how I lost my first game to Gandhi. To win a religious victory, the player must ensure that their religion becomes the predominant religion for each civilisation in the game. As I thundered towards my own science victory, and I wasn’t far off, I paid little attention to Gandhi’s Missionaries and Apostles zipping around all over the map. It was my own fault for not paying attention when the screen suddenly declared that I had lost.

 
The city building is much more involved than it ever has been before, and it all starts with the simple builder. Whereas before it would have just been a matter of setting your builder units to automatically improve, now each builder has only a set number of improvements that they can create before they disappear, and the player will be responsible for moving the builder around the controlled hexes on the map and choosing which improvement, such as farms or mines. Cities now have districts which require their own hex, and placement of districts will determine any bonuses they receive.

 
These districts are specialised areas that determine which other types of buildings can be built in a city. For example, creating a Campus district, which is all about science, will allow the building of a library or university when they become available. The Commercial district, where trade is of most importance, gives access to the market or bank. Of course, as each district requires its own hex, players will have to think carefully about which one to place and where to place it, especially as placing a district removes any improvement that is placed on that hex. They will also have to compete for space with the wonders, each of which also require their own hex. The cities in Civilization VI now spread out gloriously as new improvements are built, districts are assigned and wonders created, making quite the visual spectacle. However, it should be noted that these districts can now be pillaged separately by opposing civilisations and barbarians.

 
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Despite the removal of a diplomatic victory, which may well return in a future expansion, diplomacy has more options than before. Dealing with the other leaders, players are able to build up their relationship, or try to repair it after a falling out. Sending a delegation or even establishing an embassy, is all quite easy through the information filled leader screens. There are even valid reasons available to go to war with other civilisations, with far less harsh penalties than those inflicted for general warmongering. Leaders have their own agendas built into the game, some of which are random and thus leave the player facing something slightly different each time they play. There are a few quirks however, such as one leader declaring they are impressed with my mighty Navy after I had built only one ship, and another warning that I was heading for financial disaster despite making more money than I could spend.

 
The other big change, amongst a myriad of little tweaks, is that the tech tree has now been split into two, one involving just the tech, while the other deals with all of the cultural and political gubbins. This gives players more choice in how they advance their civilisation, especially as new technology or civic upgrades can now have their research time cut dramatically by achieving a related objective. Many of the civic upgrades give access to cards which offer bonuses if chosen as part of the civilisation’s government. Different types of government can choose different numbers of different types of cards, giving the player yet more to think about.

 
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Civilization VI does give the player a lot to think about, yet much of it can be simply glanced at if the player chooses. This sixth entry in the series does feel like the most accessible yet, but also feels the most complete at launch. Fans of the series will likely already be plenty of hours in, but the game is also very welcoming for the newcomers. While the changes may not be dramatic, Civilization VI is the most exciting Civilization game so far. Just buy it.

 

 ★★★★★★★★★½ 



 

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