Game: Civilization VI
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Firaxis Games / Aspyr Media
Publisher: 2K International
Price: € 49,99| $59.99 | £44.99
Age rating: Europe12+|America 10+
Release Date: 16th November 2018
Also available on STEAM and iOS
Review game kindly provided by 2K International
After various articles about Civilization VI coming to the Switch, it is finally time to make an official review for the game. Civilization is a 4x strategy game and 4x stands for explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. The exterminate is kind of a strong term there, isn’t it? Makes me think of the Dalek in Doctor Who! So in the end there is a goal to Civilization: to gain some kind of victory. But that is not what is so appealing in gameplay. The fun is in the journey getting there! Or like the fans like to say: just one more turn!
Tweak the game whichever way you want
It feels amazing to me how much customisation you can have in such a little game cartridge. You can choose to play as one of 24 country leaders from the past. Special ladies, like Victoria of England or Catherine de Medici of France take centre stage. Or play as Teddy Roosevelt or Philip II of Spain. Just choose the one you like best. Each of them has a special feature. For instance, Philip II has Conquistadores as fighters and only in his civilisation you can build a Mission. Victoria has a Royal Navy Dockyard and Redcoats.
Plus, once you have chosen your world leader, you can choose too who his opponents will be for victory. You can choose your game difficulty, the game speed, the type and size of map you want to play on. Influence the abundance of resources, in what age of the world the game has to start, the temperature, the amount of rainfall, the sea level…you name it, you can change it.
This is amazing but it also makes beginners like me feel a bit intimidated. A good thing there is a long tutorial, hours long in fact. The tutorial is thorough, explaining everything in detail. Not only the game mechanics, but also the historic background to it all. One thing is annoying there: you can’t save your progress in the tutorial! However, the advisor who holds your hand in the tutorial can also be switched on in your full games, so you need never be without advice.
When I started writing this review I was wondering how to go about describing the game. For people who are already familiar with Civilization from the past, it’s pretty much self explanatory. But for newcomers, it’s hard to describe what kind of gameplay you can expect. Let’s start where it all leads.
The goal for Civilization is to be victorious. You have 500 turns to gain a victory and it can be a victory in various fields. You don’t have to gain a victory by battle, though it is hard to play without combat. After all, not all of my neighbours are as mild in their dealings as I am. What I like is that you can also be victorious through other routes. Through religion (convert them all to your faith), through culture (be the hotspot where all tourists want to visit or by science (be the first to launch a satellite and land on the moon). Lastly, you can also be victorious based on score.
If I’m honest, gaining victory isn’t what keeps me playing: for me it’s the fun of exploration. Seeing what’s behind the next part of the map that gets unlocked. Get to know the State Cities that surround you. And the allies you gain. Or enemies, as all have a hidden agenda too that you might just trigger without even knowing.
A political leaders’ work is never done
Once you are up and running there is so much to keep tabs on. Build your first city, know when you can take the move to create another city. Make sure your citizens are fed and happy, and make sure you don’t go bankrupt. Choose your research wisely and fill your Technology Tree, broaden your Civics Tree determining what kind of politics you want impose on your citizens.
Send out scouts to find other countries and city states. Open trade routes to your neighbours and send envoys to other nations. Make allies with other countries. Or war, if need be. Obliterate the barbarians or they will come for you. Choose what to build next to make your cities larger. Take into account that it’s good to build farms and mines to up the production, but that you also need citizens to run it all.
It’s all a matter of balance, and I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface of it yet. I’m having such fun, but I think I need to make even more of a study to really understand all that I’m doing. It’s something you have to like in a game, but I truly love it.
Single gameplay in handheld
You can play the game as single player, playing against the games computer. You can also play multiplayer, but only through local multiplayer. It’s a bit surprising that there is no online multiplayer and I think a lot of longtime fans will miss that feature. For me, it’s not a problem though: I am very content playing the game on my own. Nobody watching over my shoulder, no fear that I make stupid mistakes. No pressure!
If all of the customisation and choices aren’t enough for you, you can also choose to play scenario’s. A scenario is a game with specific rules, leaders and goals. For instance, play as Jadwiga and defend Polish homelands from invaders coming at you from all sides. You get 60 turns to prove your empire is the best one after those turns.
What makes this version of Civilization so special is that it can now be played on a handheld device. And the Switch has proven to be a perfect home to the huge game. I can easily see all details (with my reading glasses) and zooming in can even enjoy the beauty of the Hanging Gardens, an Oracle and other historic features.
It runs perfectly on the Switch, looks beautiful and the music score is impressive. The voice of Sean Bean recounting it all adds to the magic of the game for me.
When I started writing this review, I was wondering though how to go about this. People who have already played a game in the Civilization series before will look at it from another angle then the players who are new to the game. As I can only judge the game on my own experiences, I will just go with the beginners thoughts.
If you like strategy games, Civilization VI is a game that is a must to add to your collection on your Switch. And even if you never tried a strategy game before, this might be the one that shows how it’s done best. It plays perfectly in Handheld mode, giving you hours upon hours of gaming fun. With so many options to play with, it never gets boring. If you want to, you can even go for additional DLC. Like the Khmer and Indonesia Civilization & Scenario Pack or the Nubia Civilization & Scenario Pack.
I can think of only one rating for Civilization VI and that is the highest praise we can give here on LadiesGamers. If I were to go to an uninhabited island and I could only take a handful of game, this would be one of them.
So, I give Civilization VI a heartfelt Two Thumbs Up!
I sure hope Animal Crossing is also on that uninhabited island with you.
You bet! And Breath of the Wild!