Civilization 6 Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Civilization VI. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
A Civilization game needs to stand up to longer and more direct scrutiny since it's play sessions are often so long. After nearly seventy hours and more turns than I can count, I think I'm finally coming to terms with the changes developer Firaxis has made to the long standing strategy series and the result is a better game. It's still unclear if those changes make this the best Civilization game to date since I've had so much time for previous games to become ingrained into my life but Civilization VI unquestionably belongs in the stellar lineage of it's predecessors.
The end goal in Civilization VI is the same as the games before it, take a Civilization, guide it from the stone age to the space age through decisions routed in diplomacy, trade and of course, your pure thirst for world domination. In truth, the vast majority of Civilization VI acts, plays and feels a lot like Civilization V but with tweaked features and options. It's clear from the time that you start the game that the goal of the developers was to make Civilization 6 deeper but still easier to access for new players. That's a lofty goal but it's unquestionably one that the team at Firaxis has achieved. Civilization VI is incredibly deep and unforgiving at times but what surprised me most was just how malleable it is, and how much it allows for experimentation.
The biggest change from the previous game to Civilization VI is how much city layouts matter. Buildings and wonders are no longer crammed into a city's center and are instead spread out into districts which will change the way even long time players will look at city building. Cities are now sprawling and much more spread out but it's more than just looks as city and district placement is more important than ever. You can technically place any district anywhere on the map but doing so will severely damage that district and your Civilization's chances at succeeding. You'll get a buff for example to your science and technology research from building a campus district near a forest or natural water source. It's a trade-off though as building certain types of units on tiles will negate some of the resources and buffs that are naturally built in.
Much like its predecessors, there's a lot to handle at any given time in Civilization VI but somehow the game manages to handle all of the information and tasks much better than previous games. What struck me the most was how well Civilization VI took systems and menus from previous installments and bundled them together to make everything easier to manage. There's a new research bar located directly on the main hub making it easier to track the direction of your districts and there are now two skill trees to pay attention to with the addition of the civics tree. The Civics tree takes a whole lot of info that used to be found in different parts of the game and lumps it together to make it easier to find. Want to change a government policy or direction? The Civic tree is your key in Civilization VI.
Of course, building and research can only get you so far in a Civilization game and eventually you're going to have to venture out and do business with other cities and districts. You can create alliances and trade partnerships, embracing diplomacy or you can let your inner warmonger free and choose to take on all comers. Be aware though that your decisions will affect everything from the way your districts advance to the happiness of your citizens and a fair warning, Civilization VI seems to be much more aggressive than previous games. Perhaps it was just my time with the game but I faced quick attention from my enemies and their allies when I got a little too happy with my trigger finger. The game does a great job taking your advances and scaling a response to them thanks to the new merged units feature which allows for a quicker, stronger response.
Unquestionably though, the biggest change to diplomacy in Civilization VI is the smarter AI for most world leaders. In previous games leaders would just kind of hate you just because and you'd have no real clue as to why but in Civilization VI each leader has an agenda and you'll actually understand why you're getting attacked. One ruler for instance may respect leaders who have as much cultural expansion as them and despise those who don't. It's easier then to turn the tide in some cases and change these agendas as you have a clear road map to what you need to do.
I've been playing Civilization V for years now and it's highly likely that I'll be playing VI for a similarly long amount of time. It has the depth and customization options that the series is known for, but with extra features that help tweak the Civ formula. The best part? After all this time with Civilization VI, I feel like I've only skimmed the surface and that there's always so much more to discover.
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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