If there is a game that shows how meticulous and strategic it is to build and run a nation to prosperity, the Civilization series is the best example. Developed by Firaxis Games, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the latest in the series of nation building, governing, leading your people to glory or defeat based on your actions. The game is very popular for its long-term strategy gameplay, excellent music score, difficulty in mastering, and overall fun in customizing. It’s so popular that mods have been developed for the games starting with its last big title, Civilization V, and the tradition continues in Civilization VI. However, while the game might seem familiar to veterans of the series, what would a newcomer think about this game?
The first thing that came to mind when I played Civilization VI is that this is much different from most Turn Based Strategy games I’ve played. Most of those games focus on dominating your opponent by building an army and conquering land. While you can do that in Civilization VI, you have the freedom to pursue other options as well. You can develop a reputation for being the most cultural, religious, or scientific force on the planet. These things can be achieved by building wonders, spreading your faith, or advancing in technology. Each gameplay experience is different based on various changes such as your point of origin, who your rival civilizations are, and what conditions are needed to win the game. Each new game will play differently and keep the gamer focused and interested. One can slowly grow used to the game and develop a feel for it at a pace that best suits you while trying different ways to win.
Each game is started with one settler unit and one warrior unit. After finding the right spot for your capital city, you can take your civilization into any path you want wish. Want to focus on discovering land and new civilizations with your scout units to build up alliances and trade? Go ahead. Build an army to fight barbarians and ravage city states? Feel free to do so. Desire to advance your technology to open campuses and attract great scientists? It’s all yours to do.
The game is long and most games can last hours at a time depending on how many rival civilizations you have. You’ll find yourself constantly planning both domestic and foreign affairs while adjusting to changes such as war, diplomacy, and even revolts. It’s important to expand your territory, keep your people happy, and decide what to research at the time. This all seems to be much for a player to learn, but the game comes with a tutorial, an advisor for helping decisions, and a guide-book for how each gameplay element affects you. To be fair, it may seem too advanced for players who are more into action the pace.
The game’s visual is very beautiful as well. Firaxis Games always goes with interesting art styles for their games and the latest Civilization series is no different. Blending a perfect balance of realism and animated looks, the art displays a very lively world with a nice blend of colors and characters. Seeing your civilization grow from a single capital to an empire filled with cities, churches, pyramids, harbors, airfields, and more is a breath-taking experience. You’ll also find yourself intrigued by the various leaders of the civilizations who include famous figures in real history such as Queen Cleopatra, Peter the Great, Saladin, Queen Victoria, and President Teddy Roosevelt. Each leader not only looks like their historical counterpart, but the facial expressions and animations are very lively as well (it’s always a laugh to piss off Queen Victoria!). The leaders also speak in their respective nation’s language as well, so there is that element of extra effort the develops put in.
If there were to be any negatives about the game, I would say that there are two things. One, the game is hard to master; even at the less difficult levels. The AI is very brutal and is stacked to beating you in all sorts of ways. It’s better to start off on the lower difficulties and work with, at most, four rival civilizations to start before advancing. Online matches tend to be challenging as well, since most who play are people who have mastered previous versions of Civilization. Second, it’s very long and playing online matches tend to drag out a lot of time. You should only play this game when you have the time to play it, while being prepared to learn it through loss and challenge. There are ways of speeding the game up a bit, but if you’re the type of person who likes online games that end within thirty-minutes, you’re going to be disappointed here.
The final thing I must talk about are two unique factors when it comes to this game. First, this is one of the best musical soundtracks I have ever heard. Each nation has its own theme for times of peace, war and progress. The music becomes more modern sounding music as you advance into different eras. The second, is that this game makes you want to learn more about the real civilizations in our history. You’ll want to know why Teddy’s unique unit is called “The Rough Riders” or why Hojo Tokimune likes civilizations with strong military, culture, and faith. You read up about them, their nations, their units, their policies and more. Rarely does a game want you to learn so much about history and culture like Civilization does.
I enjoyed playing Civilization VI. I encourage those who prefer strategy games to play this one. I also encourage people who enjoy a personal hobby of human history and culture to play. I give this game an 8 out of 10 for his great gameplay, music, and historical accuracy with some minus points due to the difficulty and time it takes to play this game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.