Civilization VI Console Edition Hands On

Having already been available on PC and Nintendo Switch for some time, it’s now the turn of the other major consoles to have their fair share of Civilization building and warmongering fun. We’re taking a full indepth look at the game and its expansions in a separate review but we thought we’d share our initial thoughts about the transfer to console.

Sid Meier’s Civilization games have long been a staple in strategy gaming. The initial 16 bit game was a breakthrough hit and single handedly launched the whole ‘one more turn’ phenomenon. Some games in the series have had a better reception than others and the series highpoint remains the brilliant Civilization IV – which alongside its expansions set the benchmark for future games in the series to be judged against.

There have been a variety of big changes to the gameplay in Civilization VI and we’ve covered those in depth with our earlier reviews of the game on PC and Switch – so for this hands on we’ll skip over the actual gameplay and take a look at how the game transfers to gamepad control – and the answer is remarkably well.

Firaxis already had experience of building the game for play without a mouse and keyboard with the Switch release but that still had the benefit of the touchscreen. Thankfully the loss of touch controls is actually largely unnoticeable and using the joypad quickly becomes second nature. You can scroll around the map with the right thumb stick and use the d-pad to select options on whichever unit or tile you’re currently locked on to. Moving your units is straightforward – just click on the unit and the destination and it’ll be routed as you’d expect. I didn’t miss the mouse and keyboard at all.

Graphically, the game looks good on the big screen and zooming in and out to reveal more detail works well – some of the models really benefit from the big screen, it’s remarkable just how much effort went into the model artwork. On the Xbox One X it appears we get full 4K support which makes the game look even nicer.

Unlike the Switch version we didn’t notice any slow down at all – which, given the extra grunt in the Xbox One and Playstation 4 really shouldn’t surprise – gameplay was a nice smooth experience.

Civilization VI on consoles is as good as an experience as it could be – it’s an essential game and the fact that it’s now available to a wider audience is a great thing. There is some question over the cost of the game when you consider that if you want the expansions (and they really are essential in terms of adding extra content and mechanics to the game) you’ll be paying out twice – but there are few games that give you as many hours of unique and gripping gameplay as a Civilization experience.

Check back soon for our full review of the game and the expansions…

Colin Polonowski Colin Polonowski

Updated: Nov 23, 2019

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