Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Rise and Fall - Critique

Author: Dan Stapleton
Date: 2020-07-30 22:52:33
Translated from English by IGN France.

When it was released, Sid Meier's Civilization 6 was already proving to be so feature-rich that I was wondering how Firaxis studio was going to manage to boost its content significantly. But it is clear that he succeeded. The additions proposed by Civilization 6: Rise and Fall are for the most part akin to welcome changes that gently but surely bring Civ 6 closer to its famous Golden Age. Others unfortunately prove detrimental by having a tendency to break the rhythm of your games.

My favorite improvement is undoubtedly the return of the different Ages (dark, normal, golden or heroic if you go directly from the dark age to the golden age) depending on the number of Historical Moments that your civilization during the previous era. This is a great way to take advantage of the concept of Civ 6 of constantly asking you to complete small goals in order to glean rewards. Much like Inspirations and Eurekas for Civics and Technology, Era Points encourage you to shift your priorities. Early in the game, exploration becomes much more important, as discovering new civilizations, city-states, natural wonders, and other villages is the main way to avoid falling into a Dark Age immediately. Later, each Age allows you to choose what to focus on, and this may for example encourage you to focus on archeology or Inspirations. Finally, the changes in the map and interface colors, which become brighter and saturated during a Golden Age and darker and pale during a Dark Age, are also welcome new.

However, the powers you gain during a Golden Age do not necessarily guarantee victory - for example, you can get faster, cheaper builders or more powerful Inspirations - and the penalties applied to generating Loyalty points. of your people during a Dark Ages are not apocalyptic enough to shatter your civilization on their own. In reality, the Dark Age grants you access to powerful doctrine cards that also have some drawbacks, like Thieving Barons, which grants you + 50% gold production in towns that have a purse, and + 25% production in cities with a factory, at the cost of two less upgrades in each of your cities. This mechanic can give you a shattering comeback, and the act of intentionally triggering a Dark Age to momentarily take advantage of it in order to go straight through a Heroic Age strikes me as a very viable strategy. I also appreciate the arrival of a timeline highlighting your accomplishments during the previous era complemented by illustrations - this is a great way to celebrate the history of your nation.

The new Governor system is also an effective addition that allows you to further specialize your city by choosing one of the seven available characters. Liang the Looper starts out by increasing the cost of her city builders, but can then improve their ability to build Quarters by 30% or offer them a unique upgrade that drastically increases the yield of Fishing in coastal hexes. Victor the Castellan, meanwhile, is focused on defending your city, and Amani the Diplomat can be sent to a city-state to double your number of emissaries there and earn more Loyalty. Choosing the right time to improve a particular governor is crucial. Likewise, moving them to the cities (with a few turns behind) where they will prove to be the most effective is also a must - taking advantage of the neighborhood building bonus when a city builds a Wonder can actually do wonders. You can't rely on them too much, however, as enemy spies can render them inactive for a few turns.

Extremely promising on paper, however, the Loyalty system turned out to be a disappointment that undermined my gaming experience. At best, you can use it to conquer towns in a neighboring country through the game. cultural pressure, generated mainly by the densely populated cities, which allows you to exert global pacifist domination while being content to be the coolest nation around. This is a mechanic that Civ players have dreamed of for ages, but in reality, it tends to put you at a disadvantage.

In one of my early games, my first colony turned on me in a matter of turns, because it was too close to another civilization, which was apparently much more attractive than mine. This makes the choice of lands early in the game much more measured out of necessity, since an error like this will end your game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since the tiny city the AI founded on a hex on your continent that you didn't control will likely become yours quickly, but this mechanic definitely upset my playstyle of encroaching on the territory of rival colonies.

The Loyalty system also makes a Dominance victory much more difficult to achieve. When my then expanding Indian empire embarked on a war of aggression against its Aztec neighbors, the momentum of my army was halted when some of the territories I had recently annexed rebelled against my army. great force of occupation, by becoming a free and independent city which generated several relatively high-tech units. The real world has taught us over the past twenty years that it is often difficult to maintain control of an occupied territory and that insurgencies do exist, and I readily acknowledge the authenticity of this mechanic. However, this subtlety most of all drove me to raze these cities, eradicate their civilization, and rebuild new ones, rather than trying to regain control (unless these are home to interesting Wonders). However, you can still mitigate the problem by moving your Governors, buying buildings that generate Loyalty, and using certain Doctrine cards (you can also play Zulus, whose garrisoned units can generate a lot of Loyalty), but slowing down the very slow and expensive siege of cities even further was definitely not the aspect of Rise and Fall that I preferred.

The Emergencies represent the other great idea which in theory had everything to succeed: if a civilization starts to become too powerful, the others will gang up against it in order to prevent it from winning the game. When this situation arises, you have the option of trying to complete the quest determined by the AI within the allotted time (during my games it always consisted of capturing a certain enemy city within 30 turns) so that each member of the alliance gets a bonus. If on the other hand you fail, it is the targeted city which will obtain a bonus. ER unfortunately suffers from the same problem as any other alliance in a Civilization game: you don't rely on AI to do its part of the job, and there's no way to coordinate an attack with your allies. In other words, the job of moving the troops to the target town and doing what is necessary is essentially your responsibility - which makes sense enough, otherwise you would just have to watch the other members of the team. alliance will do the dirty work, and collect the reward. But it is still quite frustrating to hear your allies say "Let's go!" Charge! Which makes you jump headlong into battle, before realizing that you are actually on your own, which has caused me to ignore these coalitions most of the time.