Civilization VI preview – You, me and the queen

The fall, in case you somehow didn’t know this as a gaming fan, is packed with titles. In fact, there’s arguably a blockbuster release every week from now until before Christmas.

We play a lot of games here at TechnoBuffalo, of both the big and small variety. It’s tough to squeeze reviews in, let alone have time for previewing games. As someone who likes the Civilization franchise, though, the opportunity to dedicate some time with a preview build of Civilization VI ahead of launch was too good to pass up.

I haven’t played as much as I’d like yet. That’s the bad news. I’m getting this preview up for the embargo, but I don’t want our coverage to stop there. In fact, in spite of the fact that I’m reviewing like a billion games this holiday, I don’t want to stop playing Civilization VI yet.

Isn’t the first step on the road to recovery admitting you have a problem? I have a Civ problem. I’ve been playing the same campaign, I’m maybe 200 or 300 moves in, and I’ve got at least five hours spent on the game so far. The crazy part is that I’ve squeezed these five hours in over a span of about three days at home, between reviewing four other games at once.

Not to mention the trouble I have stepping away from Overwatch, but that’s another story entirely.

What exactly have I been playing with Civilization VI? 2K sent along a preview build that offered access to essentially full campaigns with half of the content slated for the full game. So we could play with 10 of the 20 nations, use one of the five difficulties (the easiest, which affects this preview quite a bit), two of the five speeds and three of the six map types.

I’ve spent my entire time on the default settings this thing started with, not needing much of a tutorial to get up to speed in the process. I used Queen Victoria and the England nation, and so far things are going, well, like they go in Civilization.

I’m going for the Culture victory route, which demands that my cities see more tourists than competing nations. I’m currently leading with around 250 or so turns spent (I’ve lost count). I considered other victories, but this seemed the most interesting to me given my penchant for building wonders. I enjoy it, I don’t know.

Along the way, things started off great between Japan and me. That soured and I found myself moving towards war as I eyed locations on the map occupied by other nations. Japan wound up angry, and all except Germany dubbed me a warmonger as I took my land of culture from point to point.

I’m not normally the type to stomp around the map, but Civilization VI and its odd district feature makes it, well, necessary. As you add pieces to your city, you’ll need the space to expand and the proper ground resources to meet your needs. This isn’t like Civilization V where you pick a healthy plot and win the day. You have to actually adapt your districts and tech choices in order to succeed.

And I didn’t find that a single city could get me all I needed. Instead, I was conquering and settling in order to get choice locations for better development. I needed rivers, and I absolutely needed the ocean for my navy. These things meant playing at war.

Which, while great for my citizens, hasn’t been going well with the other nations.

So, I’m hated. The easy difficulty has made it, well, easy to deal with their anger. I shrug it off, build up my city walls, line up my crossbowmen and live to fight another day. Were these AI playing me with a tougher difficulty, I imagine I’d be smote off the map by now.

In terms of aesthetics, Civilization VI is the most cartoony Civ yet. The game plays deeper, so it’s nice having this simpler looking shell. I like it, actually, especially the look of each nation’s leader.

Oh, and hearing quotes read by Sean Bean? Wonderful. As is the music. Really, I’ve been listening to it and taking small turns as I draft this story here, and it’s good stuff.

I did encounter some odd interface bugs here and there. Settlers would head to locales to settle, but the suggested city spots randomly disappeared. During one sessions, I unchecked the world tracker interface (this basically tells you how current research projects are going). I could never get that to reappear. I’m hoping these things are resolved, of course.

I’m only getting started with Civilization VI, and I know this game is way, way deeper than my first few hours have revealed. I’m in it, though. And I’ll be writing more as the weeks move on. If you want to see my campaign in motion, I’ll capture that as well.

Article source: