Much of my life, since I got my first copy of Sid Meier’s Civilization for my Amiga 3000 in 1990 if memory serves, I’ve been a huge fan. I’ve been loyal to the series over the years, an adamant supporter. I watched as the simple mechanics of Civ I were expanded on in Civ II. Then more so in Civ III. And, in what I consider to be the pinnacle of the Civilization series in regard to gameplay, Civ IV. Civ IV had the ability to create a massive world, vassals, a decent religion system, and it was possible to create a massive war between your nation and the others around you.
I am currently playing a game of Civilization VI, and I just destroyed an entire nation with 2 crossbowmen, a swordsman, and a horseman. The enemy had muskets. There is no way that should have happened, and it speaks to the underlying laziness and ineptness of the developers when they built the game. There are good things about Civ VI. I love the hex map. I love the way things are built in cities now. So it’s not like there hasn’t been some interesting things added to the game. But for the most part, it’s simply continuing the dumbing down that Firaxis started in Civ V.
The absolute best thing I’ve ever seen in Civ isn’t even Firaxis material. It’s from a group of modders on a site called www.civfanatics.com. Direct link to the mod page is here. The mod is called Caveman2Cosmos, for Civ IV. See it on YouTube here. It allows you to start with a wandering tribe of cro-magnons in 30,000BC (or so, it might be 40K BC) and build a civilization that actually does stand the test of time. The Civ IV maps are massive, and modern computers rock them because back then the game was about gameplay, not overly pretty graphics.
When Civ VI was released, it lacked many, and I do mean many of the features that previous versions of the game had. The “Sentry”, later named “Alert” function for example. When released, Civ VI didn’t have it. An oversight, which by itself, made the game suck. Firaxis knew this, because it wasn’t long before they released a patch adding that feature in.
I think the biggest problem with Civ VI is that it is a compromise. Anymore the developers are so cheap and pathetic they try to release the exact same game on the PC and the consoles. Note to foolish developers: People game on the PC because they want complex games that utilize the capabilities of their machine. People game on consoles because they want easy controls and quick rewards, in my opinion. I don’t know, I’m not a console gamer. But I do know why I play games on the PC, and why I love games like Hearts of Iron IV that take advantage of the remarkable flexibility of PC controls. Look at the image of Hearts of Iron IV, and you’ll see that it would never work on a console. It’s too complex, too deep. And I love it for that.
Any developer that is marketing to both consoles and the PC, other than for first person shooters, is really missing the picture. Gamers like myself are only going to take the degradation of our gaming experience for so long. When Civ VII is released, by the way, I will not be buying it until long after the release date, despite being nearly a three decade fan of the franchise. I can no longer trust Sid Meier, he’s as big of a sell out as EA in my opinion.
I’m just glad that Civilization IV runs on my Windows 10 machine. I’ll be very sad when the day comes that it doesn’t run on the current operating system. Because I guess Civilization games are just like cars. They don’t make them like they used to anymore.
Thank goodness for Steam, where we can find games to fill in for the times our faithful fandoms fail us. And Sid Meier certainly failed those of us who wanted the Civ IV war and peace experience brought into future versions of the game.
This isn’t the only franchise to go this route, btw. Take a look at how the character leveling process for Mass Effect was dumbed down over the series. We’re not idiots, developers. We’re gamers. And we’re sick of you dumbing down our PC games to save you money on the console port. You’re losing many of us. Because other developers are stepping into the vacuum of game quality you’ve created.