I’m not here to review Civilization VI again, or its two expansions. I’ve done that already. What I am here today to tell you is that all that stuff is now available on PS4 and Xbox One, and against my best instincts and predictions, it’s absolutely fine.
Prior to playing, and as someone who hadn’t tried the already-out Switch version of this game, I’d have thought this premise insane. Civilization has been tried on consoles before, with Revolution, which couldn’t really capture the full experience. And this is a fairly weighty PC strategy game, especially when you throw in all the extra content and systems included with the expansions, so the prospect of getting through all that on a controller seemed torturous.
Civ VI’s interface works surprisingly well on console, though, with unit controls relegated to the d-pad and more high-level stuff available by hitting the triggers. The actual layout of everything—like, where the buttons actually are—sticks pretty close to the PC version, which made getting around easy, I just had to remember to move the sticks instead of a mouse.
I’ve skipped Civ VI on Switch mostly because of its lack of content. Without its two game-defining expansions available, which for me as a PC player have redefined the Civ VI experience, I didn’t have much interest.. The PS4 and Xbox One have both expansions available right away, making them a much more serious proposition, if also a more expensive one, since for some reason the base game is sold separately from a bundle that includes both expansions (really, this game is over three years old, they should have just put everything in one box).
Note: the expansion bundle is also available today for Switch owners as well.
I played on a standard PS4, and found the whole thing largely pleasant. It did get a bit slow in places, especially when the AI is crunching gears moving its units around, but for the most part I found playing Civilization VI on my couch to be exactly the same as playing it at my desk.
A big reason the whole thing has ported so seamlessly is I think the ease with which the menus and interface have made the jump. Like I said, the console versions haven’t really had to change anything about how you play the game, how the menus work or how the icons are laid out. I don’t know if that’s intentional—that the original PC version was designed with later console ports in mind—or if it’s just a happy coincidence, but it’s hard to fault a port when it retains so much of what made the original great.
Civilization VI is out on both PS4 and Xbox One today.