Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Review

There’s an old saying that goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” It’s a cheesy line that was used — probably too much — in the early days of television to promote places like the Lone Star State. But it also applies to Sid Meier’s Civilization VI; this iteration is the biggest game (not just in its own series, but period) from Firaxis yet.

Sid Meier's Civilization VI Review
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Review

I’ve spent ten hours with Civilization VI, and I still don’t think I’ve scratched the surface. There is so much to do, so much complexity to consider, and so many choices that need to be made when beginning a game that it almost defies comprehension… and it can be intimidating.

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While I love the changes Firaxis have made to the underlying systems of Civ VI, it’s clear that a lot of work has gone into making the whole process of playing a game as easy as possible on new players. But this doesn’t come at the expense of veterans, who are going to find new depths to master here that will likely keep them busy until Civ VII launches in a few years.

I’m going to tell you about Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, but first a small (potentially major) disclaimer: I’m a city building monkey at heart. I love Sim City and all the Sim titles that followed it, along with the obvious favorites of having an entire world to manage like in Caesar.

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Give me a city builder that can turn me into Marie Antoinette if I play it correctly and I will be happy forever. On the other hand, if you handed me Master of Orion II without telling me it was supposed to be a strategy game I would have been delighted – just let me build stuff!

Civilization VI : Verdict

Civilization VI is the 6th installment in the popular ‘Civilization’ series of strategy games created by Sid Meier. If you’re unfamiliar with this massively popular franchise, it’s a turn-based game where you control a civilization from the stone age to modern era, conquering land, developing new technologies and building wonders. Each civilization has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, which adds a lot of replay value to each game.

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Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is a massive game that lives up to its legacy. From the moment it boots up, you will be drawn in by an incredible soundtrack, incredibly detailed visuals and art design, countless references to previous civilization games and even some fun comic book-style cut scenes that give a huge amount of personality to the game.

As a huge fan of the entire series, I received this game with high hopes. Seemingly unnecessary features were cut and improvements were made to streamline everything we love about Civilizations. I’ve been playing the complete game and getting more than a few hours into it — and it’s always difficult to take in a new entry in this series, because there’s so much to do, see, and learn.

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Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is fantastic. Gameplay is addictive, turn-based strategy and resource management are satisfying, and it will eat up all the free time you can give it. But there are a few pieces of the game that could be improved, particularly in regards to its duration.

If you’re a fan of previous Civilization games, I think Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is a solid, fun addition to that series. And if you’re new to strategy games and just want something relatively simple and welcoming to dive into, it’s even better.

Even without its strong additions from the expansions, Civ VI is easily the most dramatically visual and satisfying 4X game available today. I’m looking forward to digging in further with some of the features I haven’t yet explored; the one-unit-per-tile combat looks interesting, and could potentially add an extra element to the tactical choice of when to take an early rush or choose a more peaceful path.

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Gameplay

Whenever it was my turn to play, I was always on edge. The pacing of the game early on feels fine, but even on standard speed and a small map, when you really start going…the AI seems to still take as much time as it needs between turns.

Firaxis has been giving the same statement since releasing Civ 5: “The AI relies on its ability to handle its own turn efficiently, which is a large amount of why it will only get faster over time.” In Civilization VI, there’s no way to automate any parts of an AI player’s turn—with the exception of one button that allows you to boost speed but only after you’ve already passed your turn and hit the “End Turn” button.

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Civilization VI game are as good

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (or Civ6) was released during a period in which my gaming time was fairly limited. I have a ton of games that have been ignored on Steam and have never been picked up by me since the last time I had a weekend cleared just to play.

Civ6 is one of these games, though the reason it didn’t get more time is because I played the game for about 8 hours over the course of two days when it first came out and really enjoyed myself.

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What kept me coming back to it? The Civilization series has always had a somewhat complicated relationship with me. Its fantastic blend of turn-based strategy, 4X elements and historical conquest has a great deal to offer anyone looking for a long, deep strategy experience.

However, its requirement that you play both sides of the turn-based combat has always pulled me from being able to fully invest in those other features.

Playing your units through their strategic turns would often suck up enough of your own time that you’d find yourself with almost no turns left for your own civilization. Since Civ6 does away with that mechanic by making every action both offensive and defensive simultaneously, it allows players like me to enjoy every part of this now legendary franchise.

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I’ve played a lot of Sid Meier games — Civilization, Pirates, Alpha Centauri, Covert Action, and others that I don’t feel like looking up. The good news is that while they’re all different in their own ways and have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, they all have one thing in common: they’re all really fun. Some are downright addictive.

While every game offers something unique in some fashion or another, there’s definitely a common feel to the Civ games — something that lets you know you’re playing a combination of the previous outings. They always manage to get it right because the core gameplay loops are just that enjoyable. And the franchise has stayed relevant because those core mechanics are adaptable across historical settings and time periods with varying degrees of realism.

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In Civilization VI, you build a civilization from nothing to the space age and beyond by managing cities, tech research, building your military and waging war on your enemies. There are many paths to victory; do you win by conquering all other civilizations? Achieving cultural or religious dominance? Going for a science victory? Only time — and actually playing the game — can tell.

Civilization VI is a very good game. It can be maddening, infuriating, and frustrating at times. It can also be immensely rewarding. In terms of the depth, mechanics, and freedom of your average 4X strategy game, it’s ahead of the curve in so many ways. But as a sequel to Civilization V that has been marketed as an evolution over its predecessor, I think it takes a step back. Where Civ V added more content, improved combat and balance by erosion, and streamlined things tremendously, CivVI feels like it takes a few steps back in all of those areas while adding a few new features that don’t quite land.

Sid Meier's Civilization VI Review
  • Gameplay
  • Storyline
  • Graphics
  • Characters
4.4
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