Siobhan Keogh is the NZ Herald's gaming blogger.

Civilization VI will make you say 'just one more turn'

A scene from Civilization VI, the latest game in the franchise which lets players go to war.
A scene from Civilization VI, the latest game in the franchise which lets players go to war.

Everyone who has played Civilization has at some point thought to themselves: "Just one more turn". In that respect, and many others, Civilization VI is much like many of its predecessors.

The Civilization series is a classic, and one that inspired a generation of entries in the turn-based strategy genre. In Civilization VI, as in most games in the series, you begin by founding a city at the dawn of, well, civilisation.

At the same time other players, whether humans or AI, do the same. After that you start doing what you do in a 4X strategy game: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate.

Civilization V revolutionised how the game was played simply by turning the spaces you can build things - imagine placing a building on the board of a board game - into hexes, rather than squares, and by implementing military unit stacking.

In Civilization VI, developer Firaxis has attempted to change the game again by introducing districts. Districts serve a specific purpose, to increase your science output, your culture or to create and spread religion.

Previously, players have been able to build buildings without worrying about where precisely they go. With the introduction of districts, some buildings can only be built in very specific places, and often only if the district is next to a river, for instance.

Districts do add an additional layer of complexity to the game, but like many of the changes in Civilization VI, the addition feels relatively minor.

Take win conditions as another example. The goal in Civilization is to achieve one of the victory conditions before any of your opponents do. Achieving one of these victories largely consists of players racking up enough culture, science, or religion, then completing two or three extra goals toward the end. While the conditions have changed slightly - religious victories have replaced the diplomatic victory from Civilization V - the methods are largely the same.

There are two other ways to win: a domination victory, which is achieved by wiping out all your opponents' capitals; and a time victory which occurs when the game reaches the year 2050 and is determined by your points score. None of this is very new.

There were some changes which were genuinely challenging and interesting, like the limitations on housing, for example, which has you constantly scrambling to build more places for your ever-swelling population to live. Housing and amenities seem to have replaced happiness as a means for ensuring your citizens don't start to riot and burn down everything you've worked so hard to create.

You can also go to war and take lower warmongering penalties, depending on your diplomatic history with the civilisation you're going to war with. And you can even start a Holy War, fighting your battles with no military troops whatsoever and instead through religious conversion.

A scene from Civilization VI.
A scene from Civilization VI.

All that said, Civilization VI is great game. The graphics are solid, and at times quite stunning. And while the game doesn't feel like it's changed a lot from Civ V to VI, it's still the game you know and love.

If you've spent 200 hours playing previous entries like I have, you're still going to want to pick it up. But if you're looking for something new it seems like it's more about perfecting the last Civilization game than about innovating and moving forward.

Civilization VI
Rating: PG
Platforms: PC, Mac
Stars: 3.5
Verdict: This one's for the hardcore Civ fans

- NZ Herald

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