Civilization VI – A Review

Holy Cow.  I’m not even really sure where to start.  So let’s start with the obvious, I really like this installment of Civilization, despite the same misgivings that most of my peers on the Interwebs have already voiced.  Let’s hit the highlights:

  1. The new UX took a little getting used to but in the end I think it’s pretty efficient.
  2. The new District approach is amazing – I love the fact that I can spread my city out, that there’s some added strategy to the game based on the terrain and relative placement of the districts (much more so than in previous versions).
  3. There are noticeable advancements to the cultural, religious and political sub-systems – there’s still some work to do but for the first time I was interested enough in those victory modes to purposefully attempt them.
  4. The attention to detail is phenomenal, I particularly enjoyed the new Wonder animation sequences that place the wonder on the specific terrain it’s on AND display the specific improvements around the Wonder.

So now Aspyr, let’s talk about how absolutely sub-par this release and even the 1.01 release is.

  1. I can’t even begin to list the number of cumbersome UX bugs but they are a plenty.
  2. In more than one instance I received advances that the game told me I had earned but the map did not reflect.  The most recent was the ability to see oil deposits on the map without the requisite technology advancements.  No oil was displayed until I had advanced technologically to the right point.
  3. I run the game on a 15″ MacBook Pro 2.2GHz with 16GB of RAM and that is BARELY enough to play.  I know there’s A LOT behind the scenes but there’s nothing you can do about this?
  4. When you lose, it doesn’t seem to tell you who won and how they one.  All of the sudden I just get the “you suck” animation and the game is over.  Sure would like a little more detail.  (Yes I know I can track progress of all the victory scenarios during gameplay – but I still want to know at the end – seems reasonable to me.
  5. The AI is just plain stupid at times.
    1. I know Barbarians are just that, barbaric, but why would a barbarian leave their encampment when I roll up on it, allowing me to take it without a fight?
    2. Barbarians don’t seem to attack early stage cities that are left un-defended.
    3. If someone attacks me and I DEFEND myself, why am I a war monger?
    4. The Casus Belli rules are a nice touch but their behavior doesn’t see to be consistent.  When someone breaks their promise to me the lower war mongering options do not appear.  (Yes, I may be a war monger – just call me Gandhi.)
    5. When I develop the later-stage amenities like toys or perfume, why do all the AI players bombard me incessantly for deals?  I get they want them but if I say no three times in a row, why do they keep asking?
    6. I could keep going but that’s enough for now…

All in all this is a GREAT game.  I find the replay-ability of the game restored.  Sure, I played Civ V for a jillion hours and like many people I kind of skipped over Civ IV.  I also own all the off-world versions and have really really really tried to play them but find un-rewarding.  Here are a couple suggestions for future enhancements that might make the game a little more involved – I know right, could you get more involved? 🙂

  • Piracy – it would be great to have royally sanctioned privateering and piracy and the like to match the historical activities of 16th century shipping.
  • Families – just like real monarchies, alliances born of marriage could be stronger than those of paper.  Perhaps the ability to have kids, wives, court intrigue etc.

As always, please share your thoughts with me – agree or disagree, all comments are welcome.