Sean Bean is back
Civilization VI tore onto the scene in 2016, and gave us the first mainline Civ in six years. We need way more simulation games in our lives right now, so I was more than happy to receive it, despite some issues and downgrades compared to past entries.
I had the chance to check the game out on PS4, and it seems like up to the task, similar to have the Switch port was in 2018.
I’ve been jumping in and out of Civ VI on PC for a while now, but I think I’ll be playing on consoles for the foreseeable future: at least when it comes to solo play (my old Civ mates wouldn’t be caught dead playing on anything but PC, but I’m kind of ready for a new experience. Brilliantly, there’s a tutorial for brand new Civ players, brand new Civ VI players and those “new to the platform.”
If you’ve never played a Civ game before, you’re basically taking control of any number of different civilizations in a turn-based setting under the guise of explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate (otherwise known as the “4X genre”) with the endgame of achieving a Civ VI-specific win condition (commonly referred to as “win cons”). In Civ VI, you can declare victory through religion, science, domination (military), culture (tourism) or a pre-determined amount of points/stopping point.
People love Civ because it can essentially morph into any number of different tabletop games, spanning Eurogames and worker management. If you want to play it as a pacifist (which has varying degrees of efficacy depending on the game), you can do that. Or aggressively, or isolationist, and so on. On consoles, hitting L1 (LB) or R1 (RB) will swap between menus with ease, and moving about the hexagonal map with the analog stick is a cinch. Given that Civ is a methodical strategic series at heart it makes a whole lot more sense even without a keyboard and mouse.
Even just for pure historical value Civ VI is worth playing. There’s an innocent joy to accomplishing a new in-game goal and unlocking a real-life factoid for the founding of Kraków, or hear Sean Bean’s dulcet tones teach you about Teddy Roosevelt. It’s just a relaxing game on any platform: something you can pick up and put a few turns into on an easier difficulty setting, or really challenge your brain on a higher one.
The console editions are also launching with optional expansion bundles (Rise and Fall/Gathering Storm) which offer 18 new leaders and 16 civilizations in total, as well as new literal win and failure conditions for the former, and a host of natural disasters for the latter. Alone Rise and Fall is a bit middling, but when combined with Gathering Storm it augments Civ VI nicely. There’s a reason why Firaxis Games is low key one of 2K’s best studios, as they’re still churning out hits like XCOM 2 and Sid Meier games in recent years.
Civilization VI is out on PS4 and Xbox One on November 22, 2019, priced at $60 for the base game and $50 for the expansion bundle. Note that the “platinum edition,” which includes all lesser scenarios and both expansions, is $120 on Steam. Gathering Storm is $40 and Rise and Fall are still separately $30 on Steam, but the base game is pretty packed enough.
[This assessment is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]