Civ­i­liza­tion VI: Rise and Fall

Civ­i­liza­tion VI : Rise and Fall pro­vides big his­tor­i­cal mo­ments and crises.

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - By Fraser Brown

Con­tin­u­ing the last cou­ple of Civ­i­liza­tion games’ predilec­tion for ‘un­stack­ing’, Civ­i­liza­tion VI: Rise and Fall has peeled apart more of the se­ries’ fun­da­men­tal sys­tems. This time it’s the march through his­tory it­self. It’s more dy­namic and messy, with civs—as the ti­tle prom­ises—ris­ing and fall­ing as they en­ter new eras and ex­pe­ri­ence Golden and Dark Ages. Yet Civ­i­liza­tion has rarely felt this struc­tured or co­he­sive.

Eras di­vide Civ­i­liza­tion, rep­re­sent­ing a civ’s tech­no­log­i­cal and cul­tural level. In Rise and Fall, the sys­tem has been spun out into two types of era: Player eras and game eras. Player eras are the mark of a civ’s in­di­vid­ual progress, while game eras start and end at pre­de­ter­mined mo­ments and af­fect ev­ery civ.

The re­sult is that you’ll still be re­warded for in­vest­ing in sci­ence and plan­ning ahead, but if you don’t, there’s go­ing to be a fixed point where the new era of­fi­cially be­gins, so you’re not go­ing to fall too far be­hind. It’s a nudge to­wards par­ity that keeps things in­ter­est­ing with­out di­min­ish­ing the re­wards for hav­ing the most en­vi­able civ.

It’s with the in­clu­sion of Golden and Dark Ages that things get a bit messier. Dur­ing an era, ev­ery civ is in a race to in­crease their era score with his­toric mo­ments. De­pend­ing on how many you have, the next era will be a nor­mal, Golden, or Dark Age.

These ages af­fect the loy­alty of your ci­ti­zens and let you pick era-long buffs that give you new abil­i­ties, like re­cruit­ing builders by spend­ing faith, or make it eas­ier to ac­cu­mu­late era points through things like build­ing dis­tricts or con­quer­ing. Get a Golden Age and you might see your civ en­ter a pe­riod of pros­per­ity with ev­ery city prais­ing your name, while a Dark Age could spell civil war, turn­ing cities into free cities that can be snatched up by ri­vals.

A Dark Age isn’t the end, though. It in­tro­duces new chal­lenges, cer­tainly, but they’re all sur­mount­able, and in­deed there are even some ad­van­tages. If you’ve not ex­panded too quickly and your cities are pretty loyal, then you’ll likely make it through un­scathed. If you’ve done well and gath­ered enough era points dur­ing the Dark Age, you’ll en­ter a su­per­charged Heroic Age.

If any­thing, it could stand to be harsher, though I do ap­pre­ci­ate that it feels less like pun­ish­ment and more like a trick­ier path. I’ve yet to see it fully re­al­ize its po­ten­tial, how­ever. It’s un­pre­dictable, but huge up­heavals have been largely ab­sent in my games.

United Na­tions

There have been a few large-scale in­ter­na­tional emer­gen­cies, though. These are new co­op­er­a­tive events that task civs with band­ing to­gether to solve a cri­sis, tar­get­ing an­other em­pire. In my game as Scot­land and Robert the Bruce, I sparked one off when I con­verted the Catholic holy city of Seville to Protes­tantism. It cre­ated a mis­sion where I had to hold it for 16 turns and the rest of the world had to stop me. Un­for­tu­nately for Spain, only a few friends lent a hand and I got my­self a cash re­ward and an ex­plo­sion of faith.

While the ob­jec­tives are sim­ple and the AI isn’t a great team player, it’s an ef­fec­tive way to force civs into con­flicts, mak­ing the world a bit live­lier in the process. Per­haps more im­por­tantly, it turns what could have been over­looked mo­ments into sig­nif­i­cant events. I wouldn’t have re­mem­bered the con­ver­sion of Seville in any other game, but now I re­mem­ber it as this siege with Spain and its al­lies fu­ri­ously sum­mon­ing light­ning bolts out the sky in an ef­fort to rid the city of my re­li­gion.

That’s what lies at the core of Rise and Fall. It’s an ex­pan­sion that homes in on sin­gle mo­ments or pe­ri­ods and gives them greater im­pact. It shakes things up, so it won’t con­vert ev­ery­one, but the added dy­namism is a mas­sive boon for a se­ries where the pace can be pre­dictable.

Ev­ery civ is in a race to in­crease their era score with his­toric mo­ments

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