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Published on May 29th, 2018 | by gareth


Is Civilization VI Scraping the Barrel?

Sometimes a game series can be a good thing, a wonderful thing. Other times… not so much. The problem with a winning formula is that is can be worked and worked until there’s no life left in it and you’re left with a soul-less thing, a mere shadow of the glory that once was. It’s sad to say, but Civilization VI might just be another case of this kind of scraping the barrel.

You see this with TV shows all the time. Of course, that draw of strong commercial appeal is always going to present this problem. It’s very rare to come across anyone these days with a purely artistic mind-set that puts quality before cash. It’s not easy to come up with examples but one that springs to mind is the original UK version of The Office. There are only two seasons of this show, plus a couple of specials. Our version, in contrast, had nine seasons! The artistic judgement of creator Ricky Gervais, and the team, to quit while they were ahead and preserve the integrity of the show is really refreshing in today’s commercially-minded climate.


So what’s actually the problem with Civ VI?

Come on, you’ve got such obscure civilizations as the Khmer Empire being featured now! At the risk of sounding ill-informed, has anyone actually even heard of this? Turns out, after a little research, that the Khmer Empire was a big-time, Hindu-Buddhist Empire that was, in effect, the predecessor state to Cambodia. Starting in around 802 CE, it lasted until 1431 and could boast of, among other things, an interesting culture and great architecture. Well, fascinating as that may be, should it really be featuring in this game?

On top of that, you’ve got the cartoony aesthetic of Civilization VI, which is, surely, anything but an improvement? Now there is admittedly a trend for cartoony aesthetics at the moment. You’ve got the likes of Fortnite taking the world by storm, for example, and it does seem to be a popular style. For anyone wanting a bit of realism in their gaming though, it’s bad news.

The valiant defense

Now, in the interest of balance, we must give Civilization VI a fair defense. It’s undoubtedly been well received in general by the gaming community and had some great reviews; so it can’t be so very bad. In fact, it’s won numerous awards and achieved amazing sales, so perhaps this whole angle of attack is totally off the mark. Never let popular opinion obscure the truth though!

More specifically, using relatively obscure civilizations such as the Khmer Empire is actually a pretty cool idea. Why not learn a little something as you play? Why not bring in something more than the tired old stuff such as those infamous Spartans? Sure, it’s fun to feature Gorgo, the Queen of Sparta, in Civ VI; but ever since the release of the movie 300, back in 2006, there’s been a slight obsession with Spartans. They’ve even made it into online slots and there’s a Spartan slots review here if you’re into that kind of game. Spartans are great, but variety is the spice of life, right?


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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