Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Review

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, might both be on their way out. But despite of their rather significant lifespan – for consoles, that is – strategy games are still a rarity on both consoles. Sure, previously we had some turn-based tactics games such as X-COM 2, Darkest Dungeon, or Phantom Doctrine, but neither of those games was, or is a complete strategy game. While some through-and-through strategy games did make their way to the PlayStation 4, notably Tropico 5 & 6, and Sudden Strike 4, then such were, and are a fair way off strategy epics such as Europa Universalis, and the much more relevant Civilization VI. However, Civilization VI can now be crossed-off from this list, as it has just been released on all major consoles.

Civilization VI, has been finally released on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, alongside both of its major expansions, Rise & Fall, and Gathering Storm. However, keep in mind that while those two expansions are available day one, then they do not come as standard and have to be purchased separately. Which is a bit of a downer, as without owning the expansion you are locked out of over a dozen of different leaders and a wide array of other content.

If you were to jump into Civilization VI without purchasing any of the expansions, you are bound to miss out on some of the content. However, all previously released DLC packs, which until now have only been seen on PC, come as standard with the core edition of Civilization VI – so you are not being completely undercut by 2k, after all. But considering the depth and scale of Civilization VI, even if you were to play it without any DLCs or expansions, for that matter, you would still be way over your head on your first, or even on your tenth playthrough.

As far as strategy games go, Civilization VI is a good as it gets. From macro, to micro management, Civilization VI has it all. As everything from single combat units, through cities, all the way up to nation’s religion and social policies can be customized. And best of all, unlike games such as the prior mentioned Tropico 6, Civilization VI allows you to guide your nation in whichever direction you desire. You want to turn the Ottoman Empire into a godless, liberal state where religion is frowned upon and the sin is appreciated? – you are welcome to do so. Do you prefer to turn Poland into a God-fearing fascist state and take over the rest of the world? – knock yourself out.

Selection of your country, and most importantly leader of choice is not just cosmetic. As while you can guide your nation in a direction which you desire, then different leaders will affect your growth in varied, and interesting ways. For example if you decide to play as Peter of Russia, you will gain extra territory from his Mother Russia ability, whenever you set-up a new city, and furthermore your cities can then be turned into quote-on-quote leech states, due to his Grand Embassy ability, which allows you to gain +1 whenever you set up a trade route with a city with 3 civics or technologies ahead of your own.

There is more to other in-game leaders, even Peter himself, but in order to list everything there is, I’d have to spend days, if not weeks going into detail on all leaders, their abilities, and the implications which arise from such. This is not just incredible, it is simply outstanding, as this single feature gives the title so much depth, that it puts other strategy efforts on the current generation of consoles to shame. Fortunately for you, and unfortunately for your spare time, there is much more to Civilization VI campaign development, than just the leaders. In-fact, they themselves are just a minute fraction of the game as a whole.

In short, Civilization VI is a fairly daunting experience – at first. It is easy to get overwhelmed upon the first, or even the second start-up of the title. There is simply so much to do there, that it is not just difficult to understand what’s going on, but even comprehend what you should be doing. But with time, you’ll grow accustomed to the title’s ridiculously large size and scope, and within days, you’ll be surfing across the title’s numerous tabs and menus, without a care in the world and this all thanks to the control scheme which has been introduced to console version of Civilization VI.

Sure, learning all the ins-and-outs of Civilization VI will take you weeks, if not months, but the button-based control scheme, which has been introduced with the console release, eases that process significantly. Sure, you can use your analogue sticks to carry out different functions – but within Civilization VI, there’s no need for that, as in-game, every action can be carried out with face buttons, bumpers, and triggers. This includes everything from unit management, through social and religious development, all the way down to diplomacy. In truth, analogue sticks are only ever used when guiding a unit on the field and while they do serve more functions, then you can ultimately forget about those, as those can be carried out with greater ease with the face buttons.

Civilization VI, is the best PC to Console port I have seen to date – as far as controls go. Sure, X-COM was great, but X-COM’s scale is miniscule in comparison to Civilization VI’s and the fact that everything within Civilization VI can be done with relative ease, makes it all that much more impressive. Hell, Civilization VI even has a shortcut-action located in bottom right corner, which showcases the most urgent actions to be taken, and such doesn’t require you to enter menus or dig through tabs, all it wants you to do is to simply press square. This is so incredibly simple, yet baffling that nobody has ever implemented a similar solution before.

Civilization VI is all about sandbox games against either the AI, or other players. However, Civilization VI also comes with a host of narrative scenarios which require you to achieve certain goals, within a pre-set amount of time. And while such are rather light on additional content, then they do add an additional layer to the proceedings, especially with the inclusion of additional leaders, which come as sub-leaders to the mainline historical figures. However, just like the main leaders, the sub-figures are also true to life, as they all share their names and certain characteristics, with the historical figures on which they are based.

Overall, the in-game scenarios are a nice addition, but it is hard to get invested into all of them, as they really have to be right up your street in order to warrant your interest and, most importantly, time. This is simply because they’re not as captivating, and/or interesting as the open-world sandboxes, which feature many more diverse leaders, content, and most importantly battlegrounds. But in the end, the narrative scenarios do enough to break up the title’s pace a little, and add just enough variety to the game, that it doesn’t get stale.

Ultimately, Civilization VI is by far the greatest strategy games on modern consoles. It works great, it plays incredibly well, and best of all it feels great to play. And overall, it is one of the most complete experiences on both PlayStation 4, as far as the genre goes. Sure, it could with a little more polish, as visually Civilization VI may come across as a little lacking at times, but considering that you will spend most of your time looking at tabs and menus, rather than the battlefields, then this is not really a great issue. And in all honesty, if any title is worth your money, then it is definitely Civilization VI.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Review
  • Gameplay - 10/10
    10/10
  • Graphics - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sound - 9/10
    9/10
  • Replay Value - 10/10
    10/10
Overall
9/10

Summary

Civilization VI, might have taken its sweet time in coming to modern consoles. But now that it is there, it is clear that it is the best strategy game to ever make its way onto home entertainment systems

Pros

Great, Easy to Use Control Scheme

Unprecedented Depth and Variety of Content

Exciting and Captivating Gameplay

Cons

Could do With a Little More Visual Flair