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Civilization VI review: Learning from some (but not all) of history's mistakes

Hayden Dingman | Oct. 26, 2016
Click softly, but carry a big stick.

It’s a disappointing way to wrap, and I hope we see those latter-day eras expanded on in a future expansion.

There are also some weird bugs. For instance, one tech is boosted by building two forts, but the unique Roman forts (constructed by Legions) don’t count. Why? No idea. Same with a tech that asked me to construct seven unique districts, but the unique Roman “Bath” district (an Aqueduct replacement) apparently didn’t count.

All the small things

Anyway, those make up the majority of the changes—Active Research (and the new Civics tree) plus Districts. I think they’re both smart additions with a lot of potential, and a bunch of flaws I expect will be ironed out in the coming months and years.

Civilization VI

Now for the smaller things, and I’m just going to bullet-point these out for the sake of expediency.

The Good:

1) The menu music is fantastic. Christopher Tin, who you may remember from Civ IV, returns here and outdoes himself. I’ve yet to load up the game without sitting and listening to the menu for a bit.

2) Trade is important. With production-oriented buildings relegated to the optional Industrial district, the main way to build up a new city is now to drop a few trade routes in its lap to get those valuable bonuses. And since roads are now built by trade routes (sort of genius, if you ask me) it’s a win-win for merchant-heavy empires.

3) Fewer strategic resources means more backroom dealing. Starting a game without a valuable resource like Horses or Oil is a common occurrence in Civ VI, and it means you’d best have allies who are willing to trade—or a military you can use to take their goods by force.

Civilization VI

4) Great People now feel actually interesting and useful. They’re subdivided into a ton of classes (Engineer, Artist, Writer, Scientist, etc.) and draw from a pool of real-life people. Some provide absolutely incredible bonuses—for instance, one Great General turned my sole mechanized infantry unit into a top-tier mechanized infantry army, while a Great Scientist gave me an instant 500 Research towards my current pursuit. These are game-changing effects.

The Bad:

1) The UI is a mess. Here’s a good example: If you’re re-basing a Trade Caravan to a new city, a sidebar pops up. You need to select a new city from the sidebar. If you click directly on a city, nothing happens. But if you’re re-basing a Great Person? No sidebar. You need to click on one of your cities (now highlighted in green) directly. It’s literally the same exact action, but with two different ways of going about it.


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