So, here it is, after finishing my first round of Civ VI. A list of conclusions on why I’ll leave the game for a while, it’s not really worth my time and probably not yours either:
- Graphics work against the player. Everything is very small, you can’t really tell what sort of troops you have where – and I’m not referring to the troop handles, since those always hover over a different tile. The city screen is hard to find, and I found no incentive to use it, other than buying tiles for the city.
- New game concepts: some of them are cool, they fix a lot of Civ V issues. I like the corps and army linking. I like the fact that the city defenses are based on walls, you don’t get one by default. The district concept needs some refining and re-balancing. Also, a clearer identification of what one can expect in new districts. Some of the things are a pain to understand – for example, you need a builder for a sea resort, but not all sea exits are available, and since they have the concept of neighborhoods, why not make the sea resort a neighborhood? The envoy system is dubious, the trade route management is strange as well – and trade routes are important since they are needed for road building.
- Obviously, tons of bugs. Even worse than Civ V, you have units that don’t move automatically – units that never leave even if you set them a direction. Some bugs from Civ V are still here, like not auto-zooming to the proper unit.
- It’s not as slow as Civ V on launch day, but it takes a long time to start the game – it runs smoothly afterwards, but heaven help you if you think about reloading an autosave!
- The AI is annoying, they denounced me continuously for not having the same government as they had. And I cannot do anything about it (and yes, changing governments is not a thing you want to do).
- The build queue. I do understand that they think that managing each city is exciting, but no. Unfortunately, they just forced you to do extra-steps in building stuff for your city. You can’t build a library, you have to build a Campus district first, which by itself doesn’t do much for you. And after you wait a metric f**k-ton of turns to build that, then you build your library and if you think about it it’s not really worth it.
- The middle game sucks big time. Creating cities in the late game is a tedious and boring affair. You have to build again all the districts, and you have stuff like waiting for 40-80 turns to build a campus district. That means you cannot really make useful cities in the middle of the game, especially if everyone is aggressive. My favorite mode, Islands, is also affected – you can’t really build many buildings if you don’t have land on which to build districts, can you?
- Barbarians are just annoying. Yes, they plunder your trade routes, but while you can link fighting units to other non-fighting units, you can’t do that to trade routes. Moving troops in your territory is slow and inevitably the trade routes get plundered. After I had my routes plundered twice in something like 5 turns, I just gave up on creating them.
- Anyway, the barbarians kept spawning in every tile with fog of war. I guess that the game wants you to build your cities close one to another, but I don’t like that – I am expansive, build my cities a bit further away one from another. In the middle of my modern-army democracy I had spear-wielding barbarians spawning over and over again.
- Which reminds me: trade routes don’t really make sense. You only create them for the benefit of one end of the route (the origin). You must create them if you want to have roads, and you cannot plot the roads well.
- The civics and research trees were strangely out of sync in my game – I was doing civics research that could be boosted with stuff I didn’t even discover.
- The game is complex, and I’m not sure I want to dive into its nonsensical complexity. Elements by themselves sound fun, but when you put them together it just feels a mish-mash of three or four different games. The game is not balanced – if you miss the start of the game you have no chance to recover, if you go ahead at the start of the game there’s no chance for anyone to catch you. The middle game is going fast and it tilted the scales in my favor without any chance of the AI catching up. While you spend a lot of time fighting with the basic fighters, and with an occasional archer or spearman, you advance very fast through the later ages units. There’s no point in having them. You can’t really have medieval units since you know for certain that the musketmen are around the corner, and you’re probably way behind on building the useful buildings you need/want.
While the bugs and issues with Civ V at launch where something solvable, the issues I seen with the sixth installment are very hard to fix – they are conceptual. There are good improvements over Civ V, but the graphics, the senseless complexity and the lack of balance are just deal breakers for me. I’ll wait for a few months to revisit it, but for the time being I’m done with it.