Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: The Gathering Storm Review
Last week I tackled the PS4 port of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, which I absolutely loved. This week, I take a stab at The Gathering Storm expansion pack – an expansion that promises to elevate the game and make it even better. The Gathering Storm expands on the regular gameplay with more options, new ways to be victorious, and a more balanced way to wage war. Suffice it to say, if you’re into Civ VI as much as I am, you’ll want to pick this one up! The price tag may change your mind though…
The expansion adds several new leaders and nations for you to develop through the centuries, including my homeland which I was impartial to as a good ol’ Canadian boy. The special abilities that each of the new leaders bring to table make for some very interesting map builds where you can try to make a map to benefit yourself but might end up screwing yourself over. For instance, using my Canadian special abilities of building farms on frost (and laughing at all those suckers fighting for farmland south of me) may have lead to being raided by Viking berserkers non-stop because I was the only other person that far north. Civ VI makes sure that the special abilities that you are gifted with aren’t so powerful that it give you an unfair advantage, but it definitely adds to the fun of it all.
The other new additions other than new civilizations, is a new warmonger system that adds grievances to balance out the war system. No longer will the other nations be as battle hungry for retaliating and taking a city after you’ve been invaded by another empire. Previously, regardless of the scenario, waging war and taking cities from opponents would paint you in a bad light with the rest of the rulers. The grievances system allows everyone transparency and a lot more fairness when it comes to the domination side of playing.
Additionally, there’s a whole new diplomacy system that uses diplomacy points as a currency system to use if you strive to have a diplomatic victory. Garnering friendships and alliances will put you in the forefront of diplomatic victory and will help you out in the other new addition – the World Congress. The world congress gets all of the empires together to vote on topics that are either pointed specifically at a particular empire or will help or hinder all. While the diplomatic victory option makes it handy to be friendly to all and still climb the ranks to victory, the congress option leaves much to be desired. On more than one occasion, I was leading in diplomacy (and at least one other category) and my vote in the congress was completely ignored. Since diplomatic points are what’s supposed to be the main decision making aspect in the world congress, I didn’t really see any benefit to helping in the voting.
One of the biggest changes in the expansion is the change in the map and the weather system. As one can imagine with a name like ‘The Gathering Storm’, the environment plays a big part in the expansion. Not only are there varying degrees of natural disasters to make your life more difficult, but the way you and the rest of the world build your empires affects the global climate. While very applicable to today’s society, boy can it ever be real annoying in game. Nothing is more to the point than when I laughed all through the Medieval Age as the Sumerian’s nearest me got repeatedly flooded on their low laying terrain, only to wait until the Atomic Age when my lacklustre environmental policies ended up in rising sea levels that began to wash away whole districts I had been building for ages. The environmental aspect of Gathering Storm certainly adds a degree of difficulty to the game that is very real world based as well as making it apparent as to why we are in such trouble in our current world.
What it shakes down to though, is whether there’s enough bang for your buck in this DLC pack. There are so many positives that make it worth your while with new leaders, new ways to win, and new environmental challenges to test your mettle. However, the $40 price tag makes it a bit of tough pill to swallow. Half the price would be a no-brainer but having a DLC pack that’s 50% of the of the original game price is a bit steep. Personally, given how much replay value and how all consuming Civ VI is when I’ve delved into it, I wouldn’t hesitate to bite the bullet. However, I can understand the trepidation if anyone would have it. The Gathering Storm is certainly worth the price tag to me and I’ve lost sleep and been late to work in order to squeeze a few more turns out. If you’re dedicated to the 4X genre and enjoy Civ VI already, it’s well worth the price tag.
*** A review code was provided by the publisher ***
- New additions to keep gameplay fresh
- Disasters keep things interesting
- New diplomacy and grievance system
- The world congress option seems a little pointless
- A little pricey