Civilization VI Review

Civilization VI

“Just, One More Turn”

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is a turn-based 4X video game and the sixth main title in the Civilization series. Civilization VI was developed by Firaxis Games, published by 2K Games, and distributed by Take-Two Interactive.

Every game in the civilization series has always been regarded as the best digital board game and it is certainly true for Civilization VI as well.

Art Style

Now one of the more controversial decisions of Civilization VI would have to be its use of a much more stylized look as opposed to a hyper realistic art style. And you will often hear people talking about how they were put off by it and was the one thing holding them back. To me Civilization has always been a cartoony/stylized game. Now i have not played any Civ games before Civ IV but i am pretty sure it never had a realistic art style.

I usually don’t talk about graphics regarding strategy games as it doesn’t really matters as much to me. When a strategy game is done right and you can read everything that is happening visually with ease on the map you hardly ever consider if the latest rendering techniques and the highest of poly count models are implemented. ” Graphics alone do not make a game ” there is certainly truth in that.

Excerpt from Civ VI’s Wiki about its art style.

The game definitely uses a more cartoonish look than that of Civ V, as according to Firaxis, with much deeper gameplay, they wanted to keep the visuals simple to avoid interfering with the complexity of gameplay. The graphics of individual units and buildings are being developed to be both readily-detailed when viewed in a tight zoom, while still being recognizable from other similar units when viewed from a distance. This necessitated the simpler art style to allow players to quickly recognize units and buildings while looking over a city without having to resort to user interface tooltips or similar distractions, according to Civ VI Senior Producer Dennis Shirk. Individual units were designed to include flair associated with the given civilization, such as applying different helmet styles to the same class of footsoldier units

Having worked as a video game artist I must say Civ VI will definitely “Stand the test of time” (sorry about that). Stylized graphics age particularly well compared to realistic graphics. The different “Districts” are easily distinguishable  and every building you build is physically represented on the map.The map is more readable, vibrant and varied as you move from mountains and rivers to floodplains, deserts and tundras. You don’t need to wait for pop-up tool tips to tell you more about what you are looking at, you get as much information as possible just by looking at the map. Coupled with excellent world generation these are definitely the most accessible and best looking maps i have seen in a 4X turn-based, strategy game. (Compare this to “Endless Legend”, a beautiful game but the map is just so confusing)

The unit icons do create a cluster f**k and you can barely see the map beyond those icons in the mid game where you have many units and the tech for creating Corps and Army isn’t unlocked yet. (But its more of a UI problem) I get why people don’t like the new cartoony look and I also understand that when you are paying for a AAA title you expect something jaw-dropping and cutting edge but I am definitely in favor of this new art style. And less intensive graphics means more players, (everyone does not own a really powerful desktop PC) that just makes sense.

Music

Composer Christopher Tin, who wrote “Baba Yetu”, the Grammy-winning theme song for Civilization IV, returned to write Civilization VIs main theme, “Sogno di Volare” (translated as “The Dream of Flight”).

Tin premiered the song at a London concert in July 2016. The game’s original score was written and orchestrated primarily by Geoff Knorr, who was assisted by Roland Rizzo, Griffin Cohen, and Phill Boucher. Each civilization features a musical theme or “core melody” with four variations that follow the era that the civilization is currently in. Each of these civilization specific themes also sound as genuine as they can be. The music grows in complexity and new instruments are introduced with every new era whilst maintaining the core melody providing a beautiful effect of progress and consistency throughout your playthrough.

Sean Bean, who narrated the early trailers of the game, also provided his voicework for quotes read to the player as they progress along the technology and civics tree and the leader introductions as well. It doesn’t get better than that. ( Spoiler : Sean Bean’s character dies in the trailer !! )

There really isn’t anything to complain about here. The main theme, “Sogno di Volare” is especially inspiring and memorable enough to make you come back to the game again and again. Although, nothing really compares with “Baba Yetu” and i assume some people will change their main theme with mods like they did with Civ V before.

Check out these live performances of “Baba Yetu” and “Sogno di Volare” by Christopher Tin and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, London.

…..Continued on the next page

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