|Sid Meier’s Civilization VI|
|release date||October 21, 2016|
Would you say the strategy genre died five or ten years ago? And perhaps you will be partly right, because only hardened projects that have been leading their history since the time people received the first fire manage to stay afloat. Well, or somewhere around that. In any case, today we have to get acquainted with the continuation of the titan — Civilization VI.
The roots of this miracle go deep into history, because the very first part was born back in 1991, and its creator, Sid Meier, got the idea from the board game of the same name, which was a good ten years older. It is simply impossible not to appreciate his contribution to the history of the gaming industry, because it was this person who created the best turn-based strategy of all time.
With each new number in the title, Civilization presents us with something new, unusual and subject to further study, despite the fact that the general concept and meaning of the game has not changed for two and a half decades. A slight departure from the canon was the previous Beyond Earth, which stepped towards science fiction and space, but the change in setting did not change the classic gameplay.
The sixth episode was no exception, retaining the foundation loved by millions, but suddenly changed a lot of game mechanics. And for once, they are not just designed to refresh the impressions, but to direct the process towards logic and realism without forcing them to take game conventions for granted. Let’s find out if these innovations have benefited the project.
We start all the same with a settler and look for a good place for our capital, and after its construction, as usual, we place an order for workers. And here the player is waiting for an unexpected innovation — the builders no longer live 6000 years, endlessly plowing the vast expanses of their homeland. They only have three actions that can be spent on building resource buildings: farms, quarries, mines, plantations, and so on. True, this restriction does not apply to repairs of looted cells. A really logical change that will make the player think carefully about the initial path of developing the city, because the extra 10-15 moves to build the next builders at the beginning of the game are especially expensive. Placing farms and mines next to each other will give a bonus to their production.
By the way, about the city. The most global changes have affected, probably, urban planning. We will no longer be able to fit all the buildings in one cell. There is a zoning system that forces you to place core districts on the tiles surrounding your cities. The choice of location for the area and especially its neighborhood should be made wisely, because its correct placement will allow you to get interesting bonuses. After placing a district, buildings will appear in the city menu, which are already being built inside such a cell. For example, an industrial zone allows you to build a workshop, a factory and a power plant, a commerce zone allows you to build a market, a bank and an exchange. In the city center, on the other hand, you can create only a few common basic buildings, such as walls and sewers.
The race for the wonders of the world has also become more difficult. All because of the same architectural and urban innovations. The list of conditions required for miracles has expanded, and to accommodate the next wonder of the world, you will again have to allocate an inch of land.
Due to the fact that the builders were cut in their rights, roads appear in a different way — from trade caravans. Launching a caravan to a neighboring city will allow you to get a set of resources and place a trading post in another city. Passing a caravan through several trading posts increases its profitability. Trade routes leading to other powers allow the exchange not only of food and the fruits of industry, but also of faith and culture. A significant disadvantage seems to me the impossibility of the trader cycling on the same route — after each flight, you have to choose a new route.
Now let’s move on to development branches. With science, everything remains the same. City campuses and their buildings provide science points that speed up your research of technologies. And going into space and sending three modules to Mars will achieve a scientific victory.
Social development and the system of state policy have changed. Now social institutions are lined up in branches following the example of scientific ones, and advancing along their tree opens up not only the political aspects of the game, but also the wonders of the world available for construction.
The system of state structures was once again redrawn. Now any state system is a small general bonus and a certain set of cards of a different nature: military, diplomatic and economic. Accordingly, the choice of political system will determine the ratio of these cards, and hence their bonuses. More advanced formations also have universal places, which, in addition to the main set, will allow you to choose any additional bonuses.
Such an interesting solution, of course, is not ideal in everything, because by choosing a general political system, a player can collect cards that are absolutely not inherent in this type of government. But there is also the bright side of realism — a kind and eternal democracy, thanks to a large stack of universal places, can be more militaristic than fascism and totalitarianism — everything is like in life.
The religion system has also changed. More precisely, the general mechanism remains — create your own religion (if you have time) and carry it to the people. But delivery systems have become more dynamic. Buildings in the respective area generate faith points, for which you can purchase three different units — the missionary, the apostle and the inquisitor. The missionary and the apostles are engaged in spreading the faith. When meeting with similar units of opponents, they attack each other like ordinary military units, and if one of the opponents is defeated in a religious battle, all cities within 10 cells around receive a significant minus to the points of the losing faith and a bonus to the winning one. The difference between these two units is that the missionary cannot attack but only defend and has fewer spread points available. The apostle is a more powerful unit, can attack other units, can permanently expand the list of standard faith bonuses with two more and establish an inquisition, but it also costs twice as much as a missionary. Inquisitors are very useful units that have a low cost as well. They cannot spread the faith, but they can completely convert your entire city to the necessary faith with just one action, where several apostles would be needed. This will come in handy if you miss the conversion of your cities or after capturing enemy ones.
As you already understood, now the aspect of protecting and spreading religion has grown significantly. A dozen or so apostles of other religions came to me literally in armies, converting cities one after another. But here, the developers did not make a mistake, balancing the gameplay. Faith units in defense have a tangible bonus, plus they are healed when they are near the sacred areas of the city. Thus, one apostle can repel the attacks of two enemy ones, remaining alive after the battle. In the end, I simply placed many such defenders throughout the territory and all the enemy’s crusades crashed on the impregnable rocks of the unshakable faith of my people.
Speaking of wars. The unit grouping system has also changed a bit. No, you will not run into a hundred enemy tanks placed in one cell, as it was in the fourth part. Now, with the achievement of certain development milestones, the player can first unite two units into a corps, and later three into an army. This does not break the balance of the game, but still allows you to feel the scale. By the way, in cities, the construction of not only single units is available, but also formations, and with a small discount in construction time. Not two for the price of one, but also nice and useful.
In addition to the fighting units themselves, the connection can be strengthened by a support unit — a medic or an observation balloon, as well as a civilian who needs to be escorted or a great general who will give bonuses to units around. A very interesting and funny unit will be the assault tower, which allows you to attack an enemy city ignoring walls, and absolutely all attackers with only one tower near the walls. And even though these towers disappear from the available buildings after the transition to the period after the Middle Ages, my tanks and helicopters used them until the end of the game.
It is worth stocking up for the future, as well as nuclear missiles.
The system for obtaining great people by the nation has also undergone changes. Now they are not given in unlimited quantities — the race for them is the same as in the case of the wonders of the world. Moreover, each of the great people has its own characteristics and capabilities, so do not think that two great scientists will give the same bonuses. Someone will allow you to simply get science points, provided that there are mountains around, and someone will speed up the construction of space modules to disgrace. Great musicians and artists will only be able to create their creations in cages with museums and galleries that will display their masterpieces.
Cultural development in this regard also did not remain in place. The construction of the Hermitage will make it possible to place more masterpieces in it, which will increase the attractiveness of the city for tourists. This will also be facilitated by protected parks, which occupy as many as four cells and should be located in the most picturesque places with forests, mountains and reservoirs. By the way, masterpieces can be stolen from other civilizations — so don’t forget about spies and counterintelligence. The maximum number of tourists will earn the player a cultural victory.
Diplomacy is still the same peculiar as in the previous parts. The computer has not been taught to act adequately, and it is afraid of only one thing — force. Even the satisfaction of their wishes in the areas of cultural, scientific and religious development will not be a panacea. I am already silent about the fact that it is impossible to please everyone at the same time in principle. For example, my closest African comrades, with whom diplomatic relations were brought almost to the maximum, easily declared war on me, having gathered a bunch of units on the borders. After repelling the attack, they immediately asked for peace, to which I agreed. But after a few dozen moves, they, having changed mercy to anger, for some unknown reason, again attempted to attack. Another failure abruptly changed the negative attitude to the most positive and became the reason for the offer of friendship and the placement of an embassy with me. This is the complex and unpredictable nature of AI. By the way, choosing the right reason for declaring war — religious, for example — will allow you to partially or completely get rid of fines for militarism, which means not to starve and be content throughout even the longest wars.
The cities of the state deserve special mention. Depending on their policy, the player gains relationship points with them, for which ambassadors are issued. Sending a certain number of envoys increases the specific bonus from such a policy — whether it’s culture in the capital or a plus to the production of units in military camps. If your ambassadors become more than from other states, become the sovereign of such a policy and get the opportunity to build improvements on its cells, all unique resources, as well as support in the war.
In general, the game has changed very significantly, because literally all key aspects have been reworked. This means that you can happily plunge into your favorite atmosphere, understanding the intricacies of managing a power. Another thing is that obviously many of the innovations are aimed at lengthening the gameplay. Although where else to stretch, Civilization has always been one of those games in which you say to yourself: “Now I will finish the move and get out!”, And after three or four hours you catch yourself thinking that this phrase has already slipped through. They simply dissolve a huge number of operations and micromanagement into themselves, eating up hours on end. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the strategy genre is practically dead, Sid Meier’s Civilization with another number in the title is the most alive!