REVIEW: Sid Meier’s Civilization VI - Great Strategy for Consoles & PC

December 26, 2019
REVIEW: Sid Meier’s Civilization VI - Great Strategy for Consoles & PC

Until recently, there were games that were simply impossible to imagine playing on consoles. The execution, the gameplay of some games simply couldn’t work before because the development teams didn't know how to make the transition from the keyboard and mouse to the gamepad. There were several problems with orientation, control, and most of all the problem was the lack of buttons on the controller.

As time went on, certain titles we couldn't even dream of playing on consoles were released for them. Let's remember Diablo III. It wasn't that well received and it was said how the experience on the X360 and PS3 consoles simply wasn’t that good, but it turns out that everything combined is almost perfect. There are certainly many more examples from both the distant and near past.

Generally speaking, the console gaming market is simply focused on games, with each development team looking at how to make the transition to the consoles and give the opportunity to other types of players to enjoy their games.

It’s been impossible to imagine and make The Civilization franchise work on consoles. Not so much because of the execution but because every Civilization game was simply too demanding for not so strong CPUs in consoles.

Never before would we have imagined that we would play a full Civilization game on consoles, which is probably why we got Civilization Revolution in the X360, PS3 era a long time ago. It is practically a “lite” version of the title from this franchise that was so stripped of the details that it came out for mobile phones as well, and of course worked well on the old generation of consoles.

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Late last month, we got to play the latest Civilization game in the franchise on today's consoles, and what's fascinating is that the game is available for the Nintendo Switch in addition to the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. Yes, the development team has done an absolute miracle and launched the entire game with all the expansions on such a small and weak console, as some would say.

Civilization VI has brought a bunch of novelties when it came out for PC in 2016, and the gameplay has undergone major changes. The biggest change is certainly the division of the city into districts by functionality. The success of each district (how much money, production, food, culture, science, and other civic resources it produces) depends on what type of land and next to which district / coast / river / mountain it is located. In addition to the district, now wonders of the world take up one whole precious hex and because of that you are no longer able to put a lot of them in your city like before.

The next big thing is related to technology research - there is no longer one Tech tree but two! The first one binds itself to the science resources and researches technology largely related to the natural sciences. The second one uses the cultural resources and deals with social sciences, military systems, and governing policies.

The most interesting addition to technology research is that you can speed it up by solving mini sidequests and that gives you “inspiration” boosts that double the speed of research. For example, to get inspiration boost for discovering the secrets of archery, you need to kill a unit in the field with a slingshot.

Inspiration boosts can also be obtained from historical figures. Historical figures are a lot more interesting, and now, apart from the different types (great writer, great scientist, great general…), they also have different roles, mostly related to the current era of your civilization. For example, a well-known scientist can give you inspiration boost for researching a particular technology, or speed up your work on a space project and similar.

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Religion is quite similar to religion in the previous game, with one change: religious units can now fight other religious units. Then, in addition to researching governing policies with cultural points, you assign these policies in the form of cards to your system of government. The system of government can range from chiefdom, feudalism and monarchy, all the way to fascism and democracy, and each has a different number of slots for certain types of policies, which bring you advantages in different segments of the functioning of your civilization.

We all know that any title from the Civilization franchise is a slow game, or better to say, there is no rush while playing, you can decide everything at your own pace. It is up to you to just immerse yourself in the title and enjoy it. The biggest flaw of every Civilization game is waiting for the turn of the opposing civilizations after you chose your course of action.

As the game progressed, the actions of all nations became more complex, maps became more crowded, and the game tortured even the most powerful computers both 20 years ago and 3 years ago when the Civilization VI title was released. This is exactly why I thought it would be a painstaking experience on consoles, but I was wrong to think that.

Civilization VI on consoles plays just as perfectly as on PC - there is no waiting, no lagging, no problems with navigation. The control scheme is perfectly done. Each unit action is transferred to the d-pad, while you find your way around on the map with analogs. The zoom option is solved with triggers. After about ten minutes you will get the hang of it because everything is intuitive on the controller. In addition, the console is silent and it seems it doesn’t push the hardware to its limits as I thought it would.

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However, the fact is that Civilization VI doesn't look that beautiful, at least not in all aspects of the game. Some parts look a lot better than in Civilization V and others simply look worse, uglier than before or are identical to the ones before. Perhaps that is why we got to play this 2016 title with such ease on consoles.

I need to note that the game works "perfectly" on both base consoles and Pro and X console versions. Practically whatever console you have, you will have a great experience without ever sacrificing anything that this title provides.

True, as the story unfolds and after 5+ hours of playing one mission, of course you'll wait for more turns because of a greater number of actions of all AI opponents, but believe me, it's similar on PC. Civilization is one of those franchises that one plays for hours, days without interruption. It’s a kind of game that simply comes and takes up all your free time, no matter if you play it on PC or console.

The most striking thing is that the game works absolutely perfectly on the Nintendo Switch console as well. No lagging, no waiting, everything is there, everything is perfect. It’s perhaps the best platform on which you can play CivVI, mostly because it’s portable. So at any time, wherever you are, you can just take out your Switch and play a few turns.

Final impressions

Civilization VI has been perfectly transferred from PC to consoles, both with controls and performance. The transfer was literally painless, and I hope 2K Games will think about releasing console versions of a new Civilization game right away when they decide to release the next title. Civilization VI definitely deserves your time and money. I played it on Xbox One X and I give it 9/10.