It seems that Aspyr Media wants to convince players of turn-based strategists that Civilization 6 is the perfect title to keep in your pocket or backpack: after an excellent launch in 2016, in fact, the latest episode of the series was brought to the iPad and iPhone last month and these days it's also up to Nintendo Switch. An important signal for the category, of course: if Civilization 6 lands on Nintendo Switch immediately after smartphones, what will prevent it from reaching PlayStation 4 and Xbox One soon? Even considering the fact that we are faced with an almost flawless port, as you are about to read in ours review. Are you ready to found your new civilization, and take it to the stars with sacrifices, sweat, diplomacy and wars?
Gameplay and game mechanics
Civilization 6 it is not a title for everyone and above all it is not an easy title: to be able to explain in detail the subtle balance that holds all the game mechanics together, making them the highest point reached so far within its genre, we would perhaps use ten articles. There is a reason why the latest production of Firaxis Games has carved out a place within the 4x strategic video game, that is, of that very particular type that mixes game shifts with real-time progression focusing on the sacred four Xs: explore, expand, exlpoit and exterminate. That is to say: explore, expand, exploit and exterminate, four types of actions that will always, constantly be kept an eye on at the same time.
The basic concept of Civilization 6 is the same as the previous titles in the series: you start from a tiny city center and lay the foundations for an entire civilization. Of course it will be up to us players to make sure that it can prosper, strengthen, expand, entertain commercial relations with neighboring peoples or declare war on them, shape the rest of the world as we please until we get to dominate it. It sounds like an easy task, but the deep structures, complex, initially intricate of Civilization 6 will immediately bring you back down to earth. We will tell you more: it will even risk discouraging newbies and leading them to abandon what could be their most satisfying title ever after the first half hour of play. Because with Civilization 6 you have to get acquainted little by little to move from the initial phase of skepticism and dizziness to that of full control of its potential in the gameplay; this is the purpose of the various game tutorials made available by the developers, which now also include the one dedicated to the Nintendo Switch version with the new control systems.
Returning to Civilization 6 mechanics and objectives, we illustrate at least the main points without claiming to be exhaustive: the game is marked by a certain number of turns, in which we will not only make our moves but also the opponents on the game map (or the other civilizations present). There map it is selected at the beginning of the game according to the historical period of reference: you can really choose between most of the historical periods and of the more or less known empires of ancient and recent history; our first two games were conducted on the borders between Persia and the Shiite empire leading King Cyrus, and then in the fierce England of Queen Victoria, a significant time jump. We start with very few resources available, a city center and a handful of gold and troops, and shortly thereafter we will already have to make very important decisions because the first turns of the game are fundamental. During each turn, each of our units can move only a few squares thus proceeding to the partial unveiling of the game map (initially similar to an ancient map).
Each game is different from the other, and you never know what we'll be up against during thescouting: we could meet useful natural resources, powerful enemies, new empires with which to forge an alliance, potentially it will be possible to trace any path in the progression of your empire. But turn after turn we will always have to keep in mind a series of parameters that are easy to overlook: even the new mechanics of the city divided into districts wants his attention, otherwise the population will not grow or be unhappy. Religion, diplomacy, technology, scientific breakthroughs, all of these parameters are just as (if not more) important than mere military strength: in Civilization 6 you don't go anywhere by focusing on just one parameter of all those present.
Nintendo Switch: the conversion
If until a few months ago someone had told us that Civilization 6 would have been taken over and carried on Nintendo Switch we probably would have laughed or taken him for a fool. The Firaxis title performs so well on PC, where its genre has always proliferated so far, that playing it elsewhere could almost seem like a sacrilege. But after ten minutes struggling with the empire of Cyrus on the Nintendo hybrid console we had already changed our minds: the conversion is almost excellent. Civilization 6 can of course be played in both TV and portable mode, but it is in the latter game mode that it gives its best, and not only because it is currently the only way to be able to take the Fireaxis title with you. while we travel or leave the house, to look after our civilization wherever we wish.
It is the implementation of the control systems via touch screen to prove successful across the board: a quick, light pressure anywhere on the game map and we can select troops, main city, natural resources and enemies, to investigate their various parameters. Do we want to check the two side menus of the title? A touch on the left to open the bar of technologies, diplomacy, government policies and all the other progressive indicators to be strengthened each turn; a touch to the right to immediately call up information about our empire and the main rivals and allies of the neighboring ones. A little more complicated, however, is it displacement of troops on the board of the game map or giving gold orders to attack: a slight selection of the troops and then dragging towards the enemy box does not always prove to be reliable, as if the movement of the finger was not always recognized correctly by Nintendo Switch. However, the possibility of exercising the pressure at any point or indicator on the screen to quickly recall the explanatory caption: especially for newcomers, each turn will be a mix of "touch here, then touch there" to discover and study everything possible before making your move. After all, this is exactly how Civilization 6 should be played, even by veterans: games can last several hours before ending with the victory or defeat of a civilization.
And here comes a sore point: Civilization 6 leads to rapid battery depletion of Nintendo Switch, which downloads with an almost disarming speed. Unfortunately, your games away from home cannot last more than a couple of hours to be generous, so make sure that the journey is relatively short or that your destination has a charging dock for the console. This aspect, however, amazes us up to a certain point, because fluidity and technical performance of Civilization 6 on the Nintendo Switch are excellent: the cartoon graphics go perfectly with the small screen of the console, while the game map, graphic details and polygonal models are kept at excellent levels both in TV and tabletop mode. In portable mode the loading times to start a new game still take a full minute, and the AI takes a good handful of seconds to complete its move, but it's really nothing too annoying even if you want to keep the version as a reference point. PC of the title. Too bad for the almost inexplicable absence of the Rise and Fall expansion: will it come for a fee later?
We mentioned it at the beginning and now we can safely reiterate it: Civilization 6 on Nintendo Switch is a gem, an almost excellent port that could easily make you forget the PC version of the title. If you have always wanted to be able to carry your empire inside a backpack, perhaps on vacation, never as in this case will you find yourself with the possibility of doing so without losing almost anything of the original experience, also thanks to an immediate touch screen control system. and effective. Sure, there's some more waiting time than on the computer and you won't get super mega ultra 4K graphics, but how could it be otherwise? It remains to be asked why the developers continue to always propose the same launch price, the same as two years ago, fairly high even in the absence of the first official expansion. Aside from that, Sid Meier is back and in better shape than ever.
- Very good conversion
- Great touch screen controls
- The highest point of its kind
- Full price again
- Drain the Nintendo Switch battery
- The first expansion is missing