This title was reviewed on PC, but is also available on Nintendo Switch. Check out our Switch review here.
We have two distinct reviews and scores, which to some may be controversial as it’s the same game. But, Civilization VI on Nintendo Switch plays like a whole different game due to the platform, hence we are standing by our decision for two seperate reviews and scores.
If you’ve played any of the Civilization games then you already know what to expect. If not, then settle in as we go over what the game is about and what changes were made for this new title in the franchise.
Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy game where you start of with a warriors unit and settlers, then grow all the way to a futuristic city with enough power to expand towards the stars or bring doom upon the earth. This is one of those games that you don’t just play on the fly, but rather sink a bunch of time that requires snacks, an empty schedule and one or many drinks. While the game does offer a single player campaign as well as Multiplayer, the real meat of the game lies in it’s custom games.
To start off, it’s essential to mention that the game boasts a total of 19 different nations – 27 with DLCs, each with their own traits that can help shape their play style. This, mixed with a robust game creation menu; changing map geography, game speed, winning conditions among other settings, gives the game longevity due to its high replayability.
As I said before you start the game with a Settlers unit and a Warriors Unit. And so the first order of business is finding the most suitable tile to settle your city on. Once your capital is established, your management duties truly begin.
Beforeyou start, there are different resources to manage, and I shall break it down into three categories with further explanation.
- Gold: Gold can be earned through trading, buildings in cities or from passives of your government and/or civilization. It’s also commonly used to buy and sell with other nations.
- Faith: Either through specific structures or passives that benefits your people, this one can also be used to buy special units and buildings when you invest into it. It also allows you to build a pantheon, granting your benefits to your people, and even from a religion down the line.
- What’s more special about Gold and Faith is that they can also be used to purchase units and structures as well as Great People – Special units that can give you huge advantage, depending on their specialty (Great Prophet can create religion, Great Artist can create a work of art that gives you bonuses and prestige, Great general can level up a unit or simply buff them with his presence, etc).
- Culture: Determines at which rate your governments evolves, opening up new governing policies. These policies grant you special cards that you can use to boost your civilization’s bonuses and help you shape your kingdom to what you want it to be; a military juggernaut or trading hub, among others. This resource can be also earned through specific buildings or passives. Accomplishing certain side objectives can grant you Inspiration which halves the time needed to study a certain policy. Also higher culture means faster boarder expansion.
- Science: Determines how many turns are needed to research a new technology, opening up new buildings to build and units to recruit. Like Culture, doing certain objectives can speed up a research and this is called Eureka.
- Food: Governs the speed at which your population grows. So make sure your population’s needs are met, otherwise you face starvation and penalties. Earned mostly through specific structures or tiles, as well as trading in some cases.
- Housing: Plain and simple, you can’t have a bigger population without expanding your housing to harbor them. Special structures and government policies can offer this much needed resource.
- Amenities: Gained through owning or trading for luxury goods, this resource manages your populace’s happiness, with positive giving your bonuses and negative risks causing a riot in your city where this resource is lacking. Building camps around exotic animals or specific buildings around certain luxury resources can increase it, but also government policies and special buildings.
- Luxury and special resources: this includes exotic animals, iron, oil, and uranium among many others, and these can not only increase your amenities but also be used to trade with other nations for gold or simply resources you may lack.
Phew, with all of that information out of the way, how does it all come together?
Well, glad to report that no matter your playstyle, the game’s robust research, civic and nations’ system can be played and enjoyed whatever you choose to play as. Want to be a trading civilization with emphasis on getting gold – like myself? I was racking hundreds upon hundreds of gold pieces each turn, allowing me to buy a lot of anything if needed. Want to play as the conquering marauder? There is plenty of policies with boosts to combat performance and a huge variety of units to throw at your enemy. Hey, you came into this wanting to be the most cultured and sophisticated civilization? Artists and musicians will flock to your city, so will tourists and the adoration of neighboring friendlies. There is always a downside to each of these but that’s easily expected as one cannot simply have it all, and with this one you don’t need to, because you can play and play again, experimenting until you find that perfect set up; and THAT is rewarding.
But this doesn’t mean I don’t have any bones to pick with Civilisation VI, because of some changes that were made that I’m not honestly liking thus far. Most noticeably of these is the new Worker units that can no longer build roads until you reach renaissance Era, making the first three stages of the game a sludge to go through with units moving at a crawl. Yes now roads will automatically build when you establish a trading route between two cities, but it limits the strategic placement of roads, like in Civ 5, that eased mobility throughout my territory so that I could deploy my units much more easily. Also you no longer start with a Scout unit(replaced by a Warriors Unit), which means that you risk falling behind if you intend on looking for a suitable place to settle if the initial starting point isn’t to your liking. Units gain minimal experience beyond first level, which is somewhat illogical, as one battle makes your warriors experienced, but then the next four they learn nothing from it. I get that this could be done for balancing reasons but it’s still a pain that discourages progress.
Aside from the other nations on the map, there are also city-states that you can increase your relation with by assigning envoys – you can earn these through searching new civic policies, and these can give you major bonuses. My problem isn’t with the bonuses, but the rate at which these city-states recruit military units, and not because I tried to invade them and got destroyed, but rather because I became friendly with them early on and I had no need to build any military units because anyone that would declare war on me got simply overwhelmed. This should be a good thing, right? Not really. As a player, perhaps, because abusing the system is always fun, but as a critic I find this to be a balance issue that needs fixing.
If you’re a returning Civilization fan, than you’ll feel at home with this one, although some of the changes like the way Builders work or Great People recruitment can take getting used to. I enjoyed my time with this one and definitely see myself playing it again and again because it’s how this genre of games is built; there is always that next turn, that next research, that next policy and next step towards victory.