Civilization VI (Switch)

  • Gameplay
  • Visuals
  • Audio
  • Entertainment
Also available on Linux, OSX, and Windows

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Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 4/19/2019 on Teacher by Day, Gamer By Night
It’s often said that heroin, nicotine, and cocaine are the most addictive things in the world.  Have no experience with those substances, I can only take recovered addicts at their word.  I do, however, carry with me a strong suspicion based on personal experience that even as addictive as those drugs are, they pale in comparison to the highly addictive nature of Civilization.  “Just one more turn, I swear” inevitably turns into 50 more turns.  “Oh, it’s only 9:15,” you think as you glance at the clock.  Five minutes later, it’s 4 am, and you have to get ready for work in an hour.  Oops.  The only saving grace we had with Civ 6 before was that it was tied to PC meaning that one had to be at a computer in order to play or, if one had a laptop, survive having the heat of a thousand suns on one’s lap as that poor laptop CPU tried desperately to keep up with everything going on.  Then, out of a void in our hearts that we never knew needed to be filled, 2K says “Hey, what if we put this on Switch?”  Thanks, figurative drug dealer, for enabling my addiction even further.

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When I finally broke down and ordered Civilization VI on Switch, I was expecting it to be a lot like comparing Civilization V and Civilization Revolution – the same core Civilization gameplay but in a MUCH simplified form that works better on a console.  To my surprise, that’s not at all what I got.  What I got was Civilization VI.  Not slimmed down, not condensed, not kinda-sorta-but-only-barely.  It’s legit Civilization VI.  The only big differences between the Switch version and the PC version (aside from the obvious visual effects absent) are the lack of the two major expansions on PC and the lack of community mod support.  Other than that, this is the complete Civilization VI package.  Even the small expansions like the Nubian and Australian civilizations are present.  The fact that they put that masterful PC game on what is frankly an underpowered tablet and got it to run beautifully is in itself an amazing feat in my book.

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The game I played lasted (so far) about 700 turns since I’m the very definition of “methodical” in my Civilization games, and in all that time, I only experienced one crash.  The only two complaints I have with the game are the solid five or six minutes it takes to load a game and the tenish seconds of hiccuping that happens between turns as the system processes what the AI opponents do during their turn.  Those two things do definitely get annoying, but it’s worth noting that Civilization VI isn’t exactly a fast loading game on PC (unless you’re rich and have an all SSD build with shit tons of RAM), and it’s not at all uncommon to have some short lag between turns on PC, either.  It’s worth noting that the vent on the top of the Switch DOES sound a Boeing 747 during takeoff and pumps out enough heat to melt steel beams during gameplay, but the game volume usually drowned out the fan in my experience.  Besides that, it’s not like it could possibly be any louder than the Dreamcast’s disc drive.

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This all sounds great, right?  A no compromises port of Civilization VI on Switch – what could be better?  Well, buckle up, buttercup, ’cause it gets better.  Not only is this a dream of a port job, but it supports cross-platform cloud saves.  Provided that you don’t use expansions or mods unavailable on Switch, you can start a game on PC, play two or three hours, save, and as long as your 2K account is linked both on PC and on your Switch, you can download your PC save and keep playing on Switch.  “One more turn” just became an even deadlier lie to tell yourself.  It works the other way, too; if you’re on a plane, let’s say, and you start a game on Switch, but you’re just 10 or 15 turns away from finally shutting up those damn French for good, you can save the game, boot up your PC at home, and keep playing from the comfort of your undoubtedly overpriced PC chair.  It’s a feature I never knew I wanted, but dear god, is it a nice feature to have.

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I know that older Civilization games had been ported to consoles during the 90s, but having only been playing Civ for the past five or six years, I was admittedly unsure of how a console port would go.  I’ve played Civilization V and Civilization VI on PC, and I’ve played Civilization Revolution and Civilization Revolution 2+ on 360 and Vita, respectively, so that’s what I was expecting a console port of Civilization VI to be – stripped down and bare bones – and I suspect that other Civilization fans probably had similar concerns.  Let me assure everyone, then, that this is not the case.  Civilization VI on Switch is as full-fledged and full featured a console port as possible, and absolutely no aspect of the game whatsoever has left me disappointed.  I’ve read that sales of Civilization VI on Switch have far exceeded 2K’s projections, too, so that makes me hopeful that the Rise and Fall and Gathering Storm DLC expansions will make their to way to Switch someday, as well.   If you’re a fan of disgustingly deep and addicting strategy games, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this game on Switch.

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