FINALLY! There has been a solid game that I have played this year that could definitely be worthy of the 2016 Game of the Year honors. 2016 has not been a good year for gaming. Unlike other years where there were two or three awesome titles competing with one another, this year has been a series of disappointments, bombs, and forgettable Triple A turds with a resurgence of quality mobile games and a hand full of powerful indie darlings. When Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End sat in my Top 3 for the better part of a year and the only reason that a fun, but otherwise, forgettable game sat there for so long is because other games were just plain bad… That is saying something. But man, do I get that good ol’ fashion great game feel after playing Civilization VI. Finally, a game released in 2016 that I can play for hours on end and never get bored.
I’m a huge fan of the series as anyone will know, so the game would certainly have to fuck up pretty bad in order for me to not like it. But to tempt me away from my Civ V comfort zone and away from arguably the best game in the series is not easy task. But I will be damned if they aren’t seriously tempting me with some awesome new additions that make some of the lack of content disappear from my mind’s eye.
Double the Starting Civilizations as Civ V
One of my biggest complaints about Civilization: Beyond Earth is the fact that, when the game was first released, there were only 6 civs to choose from. Considering the fact that one of the major parts of Civ games is choosing which Civ you want to play from a plethora of options, it was a crucial failure of the game. Sure mods and DLC exist, but when the bare bones vanilla game only offers you six compared to the standard 12, that is a sin that cannot be forgiven and also for anyone who wants to bring up plot, I don’t care and go to hell. I don’t think it is too much to ask for to start a game with 12 Civs.
Civ VI, however, offers over 20 different new Civs. There are some of your tried and true favorites of course, Gandhi is there and so is Cleopatra. But you have some new faces as well. You also have two different ways that you can play Greece, which is positively fascinating as well. The fact that the developers saw that this could be a good way to detract people from the old game and get them to buying the new game was a savvy business move on their part.
The Game Added Without Subtracting… Unlike OTHER GAMES
I’m looking at you Sim 4! Seriously, how can you have a Sims game without adding a pool?Oh right, because why give players something you have always given them when you can make people pay extra for it and assuming a little extra character customization is going to make up for it like the sleazy shit stained scum monkeys that you are EA! Sorry… Don’t know what came over me just now. I digress… A major problem with a lot of games like Civilization is that when a new game is released, one that relies on bonus content, DLCs, and massive expansion packs, you have to make the new product appealing to new gamers… While simultaneously taking a lot of stuff away so that you can be good capitalist babies and milk us out of our money. This is a delicate balance and a balance that we saw out of wack with Civ’s last project, Civilization: Beyond Earth. As stated before, after experiencing a game where the fun is choosing between different Civs to only have to choose between six in what felt like a watered down version of Civ V made the game easily forgettable and ultimately not a memorable past the first few play-throughs. While it certainly does still have its problems, Civilization VI has been able to circumvent a lot of the problems that these games have faced in the past.
Sure, there aren’t as many Civs as there were before and the fact that there is zero leader animation other than a cartoonish still-shot is a problem, the game still adds a mountain of content making it a game that you would feasibly want to play over its predecessors once you have control of the new mechanics. There are now new district sections that you can build on maps that makes your city feel much more like a city instead of one spot that is growing on a map. With the addition of Civics and an updated policy system, the game has more depth and allows you to truly feel connected with your civ as it evolves over the years. Scouts earn experience from exploring which you have no idea how fucking happy that made me. Most important, they actually offer you a choice of 20+ Civs to choose from to start the game! Which is a step up from Civ V’s 12 starting civs.
There is just so much content sitting there waiting to be fiddled with that you do sometimes forget that Civ V is sitting in your Steam Library waiting which is the goal of a game like this! Kudos!
Artwork is a Major Downgrade… And NOT Very Colorblind Friendly
So for those of you who do not know me, I’m partially colorblind. Yes, I can still see colors and no, this does not mean that certain colors like green, purple, and red do not show up to me. It simply means that I have a hard time differentiating shades of colors. I can see red just fine, but if you want me to tell the difference between maroon and burgundy, I’m shit out of luck. Also, I am convinced that a lot of the colors I can’t see were made up by QVC and the Home Shopping Network, but I digress.
The reason I bring this up is the fact that the color scheme for this game is fucking piss poor. Anyone who has a hard time with colors, like me, are ready to strangle the developers for Civs with similar color patterns as well as a map design that makes the map in the corner completely pointless. Civ V was perfect. There was fog of war and once you went through it, it disappeared. Now it is all a brown/beige map that when you move through it, it inks its way into existence then goes back to being a map. Okay, cool feature, I suppose. But the map in the bottom left screen is also different shades of beige, none of which I can fucking tell apart from the other shades of beige or the Civs unless it is France or Sumeria with their bright color patterns. It is so terrible, I have to play the game without using the map in the bottom left corner, because it is nothing but a rolling sea of light brown with a few spots of bright blue and gray thrown in there.
Also, the Civ sprites have taken a MASSIVE downgrade. In Civ V they were cool, animated, and realistic looking sprites. When you entered their diplomacy screen you felt as if you were really talking to them. It was cool and immersive. In this game they are nothing more than cartoons. Not only are they horrific caricature cartoons, they are still shot artwork. They are not in the least bit animated. The fuck? You couldn’t animate your shitty looking cartoons at least?! Every time I open the diplomacy screen and stare at those terrible drawings, I cringe.
The artwork and the big middle finger to colorblind people everywhere aside, this game is rock solid and is an easy contender for game of the year. It does what every good sequel should do and that is to give us more! Civilization VI has tremendously updated gaming and mechanics that make the game feel new and fresh. The plethora of Civilizations makes it so the game is unique no matter who you play.
All of these combined makes for a great gaming experience and a must buy for anyone who is even a casual fan of the turn based strategy games.
Final Score 4.5/5
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