February 19, 2018

Sid Meier's Civilisation 6: Rise and Fall - Review

Civ 6 didn't quite take off as the developers intended. It's well known that Civ V still outplays Civ VI in terms of overall playerbase and gaming hours. 2K and Firaxis have gone to some lengths to correct this, albeit at a premium price for players in DLC.

The player is once again as with all Civ games, at the helm of a fledging empire, rooted in history. The factions available in Rise and Fall expand the initial offerings of Civ VI, which is a welcome addition. As the title suggests, Rise and Fall focuses on the expansion and contraction/defeat of empires, one of which could be yours.

The addition of Golden and Dark Ages controlled by achieving or not achieving milestones that the player choose from, has an adverse effect on gameplay. Playing through the eras from start to finish and becoming dominant in one or more of the 5 areas capable of propelling you to victory is somewhat challenging, yet fun and rewarding.

Making it easier or harder, is the age in which your civilisation finds itself through each era. Do well, and you'll reach a Golden Age thereby propelling your civilisation forward of the pack in terms of citizen loyalty (read: avoid unrest at all costs!), science and engineering output and production power. If you perform ok, you'll enter a standard age. Fail to live up to the expectations, and you'll find yourself wallowing in a Dark Age, whereby you'll be behind the pack in terms of expansion and discovery. Your citizens will let you know just how displeased they are with your efforts also, by potentially revolting against your rule and becoming a free state, opening themselves up to being controlled or 'stolen' by other empires. Beware: should you as a player capitalise on this, you could end up having a city on an entire different continent, which could be a charm or a horror in disguise.

The same tech tree, research focus, city management, political intrigue and diplomacy presents itself in a familiar fashion - this DLC doesn't actually change the overall dynamic or mechanics of the gameplay, but lends itself to enhancing options available to the player. You still have city states that will offer you quests and rewards, you're still up against other burgeoning empires in a militaristic sense, along with religious and scientific victories so nothing in that regard has changed.

There are 8 new civs to play as however, which deepens the pool of options each with their own advantages and focus. Diplomacy is slightly different now, with mystery surrounding a civs own goals and focus. Meet their goals and you'll be looked upon favourably. Fall in line with their religion or have a similar mindset about the world, and be looked upon as like-minded potential allies.

Being thrust into a Dark Age seems daunting at first should that fate fall upon you, but it really isn't all that bad. The name itself and the prospect of floundering at the bottom is probably more scary than actually experiencing it. It seems once you're in a Dark Age, the AI takes a little mercy on you. It could just be me, but it seemed like all other Civs took their focus away from my struggling little Civ and allowed me time to recover, by achieving the parameters required to drag my Civ out of the dirt and once again take it's place amongst it's peers.

The introduction of these ages as we've talked about so far, adds a bit more of an urgency to the game in terms of making the player focus on certain areas so as to avoid the downfalls of a Dark Age. I found myself not overly worried about reaching the requirements for a Golden Age, but early on in the era focusing on gaining enough 'points' to avoid the overall not-so-bad-in-the-end Dark Age.

One interesting and positive addition is the inclusion of upgradeable Governors, whom you can send to govern specific cities. Each of these 7 governers has their own 'style' of rule, from the militaristic focus, to an economic specialty and across to an almost zealous religion based skillset. Use these governors wisely, depending on your victory conditions and you'll gain yourself a handy little advantage to gameplay and an edge on your opponents.

Overall the addition of this DLC does indeed make the game more enjoyable and adds an extra layer to an aging and repetitive genre, and for purists it will please. For the more casual or not-yet-convinced player, having to buy a DLC to enhance what is essentially a less popular re-hash of Civ V might be a bit of a stretch.

Review copy supplied by 2K

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