Sid Meier's Civilization VI Review

Dan Webb

I bloody love Civilization, I do. There’s just something about Sid Meier’s strategy game that really just gets strategy, but more importantly, it allows me to live out my dreams of being a fascist dictator hellbent on razing my neighbours to the ground on my path to world domination. It’s a fantasy simulator, if anything. For too long, though, 2K and Firaxis have steered clear of home consoles (recent Switch release excluded of course), probably due to the common misconception that strategy games don’t work on a controller. But after an 11-year hiatus, the classic strategy sim is finally back in our lives, and we're very happy about it.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’ve played all the Civilization games that Firaxis has launched over the past eleven years, you’d see through that deception rather easily, so I’ll be honest: I’ve not played a Civ game in eleven years. Not since Civ Rev. Well, not unless you count the 50-plus hours of Civ 6 I’ve already played on the Nintendo Switch.

For all those new to Firaxis’ colossal strategy series, Civilization is a hexagonal grid-based strategy game where you guide your civilisation from the dawn of man all the way through to the present day and beyond. You can be a warmonger and wipe your enemies – and even your allies – off the face of the earth. You can try to win the space race, convert all other nations to your religion or attempt to win the culture war. How you tackle Civ is entirely up to you, and that’s the beauty of Firaxis’ franchise

Civilization has come a long way in the eleven years since Civ Rev on consoles. Civilization 6 specifically adds more ‘expansive empires’ meaning that your cities are no longer just one main tile and can spread out even further. There’s even the addition of what Firaxis calls ‘dynamic diplomacy,’ which means that you can now even form allegiances, barter with other countries and more. The game is as deep and addictive as it’s ever been. It’s a bloody good console port in all; perhaps the game’s only real hang-up is assuming the player has been a Civ player for years. There’s a lot in Civ 6 that you'll just have to figure out through trial and error… or in my case, give it a quick Google. If you have to Google one of the game’s mechanics, then it’s not exactly as straightforward as the developer would assume.

With random maps, a whole host of different factions all of which have different temperaments and play-styles, multiplayer and scenarios to tackle, there’s more than enough game content as well.

The big issue with strategy games on consoles has always been the controls… well, ten years ago that might have been the case. Controls-wise, because of Civilization 6’s hexagonal board, it’s actually really simple and intuitive to navigate using a controller, so much so that when I was playing on my Switch, I’d use the controller rather than the touch-screen, which just goes to show how good a job Firaxis has done in optimising the game for a console controller.

My biggest gripe with Civ 6 is how Firaxis and 2K have approached the game’s launch, choosing to not bundle the game’s two expansions together with the base game. Sure, the base game is great in its own right and offers a lot of replayability, but to get the best Civ 6 experience you’re going to want the expansions as well. You would have thought that a three-year old game, one that is heavily discounted on PC and not so heavily discounted on console, that the port would come with all of the previously released content, not sold separately for almost the price of a full game.

Much of the time, the industry standard for console ports of old games is to bundle all the DLC and call it the 'Definitive Edition', 'Complete Edition' or something, but not so here, which is a damn shame. With the two expansions, Civ 6 is a much better experience across the board and why 2K decided to put that behind a paywall is beyond me. It almost strikes me as a nickel-and-dime move.

That aside, though, Civilization VI on consoles is addictive as it’s ever been. In fact, even more so. With more depth than ever before, more ways to play and simple, intuitive controls, Civilization remains one of the best strategy franchises that currently exists. Not shipping with the game’s two meaty expansions seems a bit exploitative if you ask us, especially considering that Civ 6 is a three-year old game and its DLCs aren’t exactly new. Otherwise, we can’t really fault it.

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Civilization is finally back on consoles and boy is it still bloody fun to play. With plenty of new systems to get your head around, some fairly intuitive controls and the ability to wage war on your neighbours because they look at you funny, who can possibly say no to that?

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Considering how long some Civ games can go on for, the subtle background music never tends to grind. Plus, bloody Sean Bean is in it!


Civ VI is a pretty-looking game on consoles, especially when you zoom right in for maximum stalking.


Great, intuitive controls. The game’s hexagonal grid system suits a console controller perfectly.


Infinite replayability, yes, but if you bore quickly while playing other people and the AI, there are only scenarios to turn to, and they’re not that great. Not a fan of them selling the DLC separately either. Feels exploitative.


There's an incredible amount of variety in Civ VI's achievement list, but it will take you an absolute age to get them all due to how weirdly specific some of them are. Not a bad thing, just a warning. Love the creativity present in them though.

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