Review

Civilization 6: Gathering Storm Review - Weather The Storm

  • First Released Oct 20, 2016
    released
  • PC

Playing with power.

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Civilization VI told a straightforward story of the consequences of your actions. Fail to keep your people happy and they would put down their hammers and raise pitchforks. Be rude to the other leaders and they would soon refuse to deal with you. Beyond that, however, you could go about building your empire mostly unconcerned with any repercussions to your decisions. Last year's Rise and Fall expansion added some complexity to the tale with the introduction of its Loyalty mechanic. Operating in isolation was no longer possible. Settlements on the fringes of an empire could, if they liked what they saw across the border, decide to rebel. Players who took their citizens' loyalty for granted would find themselves leading no one.

This kind of accountability is extended in multiple directions with Gathering Storm, the second major expansion for Civ VI. Through the institution of a World Congress, Gathering Storm lets leaders reward and punish each other for certain actions, allow them to pass sweeping resolutions that affect every civilization, and ultimately secure their diplomatic favor. And with its new World Climate system, Gathering Storm makes you accountable to the world itself by hitting you--sometimes painfully hard--with the calamitous consequences of exploiting the map's rich resources.

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Your path to victory in Civ VI was predictable once you'd established the foundation of your empire by the Modern Era, but the new World Congress and World Climate systems add enough dynamism to keep you working right up to the new Future Era. Gathering Storm encourages you to “play the map," taking advantage of the surrounding resources, and then adapt the repercussions of your decisions reflected on that map. As an expansion focused on consequences, however, it can take some time for the new stuff to make its presence felt.

The World Climate system is the most meaningful change, but it doesn't really kick in until you've started extracting strategic resources like coal and oil. Early on you'll encounter floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and endure the odd drought or volcanic eruption. These weather events pass in a couple of turns, potentially reducing your population, injuring units and pillaging improvements, but they can also fertilize tiles to reward you with greater yields in future.

But weather is not climate. Once you start burning coal and oil to fuel both the power plants in your industrial districts and the battleships and tanks that comprise your military force, you start pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As those emissions rise, tallied by the new World Climate report that tracks the cumulative contributions of each civ and resource, the world will progress through up to seven phases of climate change. Sea levels will rise, at first flooding coastal tiles and eventually leaving many of them completely underwater. Weather events will increase in both frequency and severity, simultaneously desiccating your farmlands through drought and ravaging your cities with tornadoes.

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The choices you're forced to make here are difficult and meaningful. Resources like coal and oil are powerful and refusing to exploit them will cede an immediate advantage to any rival. Through the Industrial and Modern Eras they fuel the most effective units in your navy and army. Do you really want to rely on defending your homeland with frigates while the enemy has ironclads? Further, consumable fuel resources are the first ways you're able to power your cities. A concept debuting in Gathering Storm, powering a city--say, via a coal power plant--boosts the yields of various districts and buildings. Can you really afford to let your research labs and stock exchanges sit idle while your coal-guzzling neighbor is sprinting ahead in the science race?

Later you're able to develop methods of harvesting renewable energy resources such as wind and solar farms, but by the time you're able to deploy them, you may find yourself lagging too far behind a less eco-friendly rival or, worse, suffering the consequences of irreversible damage to the planet. Helping to mitigate such destruction and preserving the natural environment will slow down the effects of climate change. This forces new, perplexing early game decisions. Chopping down that nearby rainforest will give a quick boost to producing a settler, but leaving it untouched may mean future settlers will live to see a world that still has air to breathe. Before Gathering Storm, this wasn't a choice--you chopped for the short-term gain because there were no long-term consequences. Now, every decision is purposeful. Now, every tile in your empire is asking: "Are you sure you want to do that?"

The World Congress is slightly less successful at providing new and meaningful choices than the World Climate system. What it does, though, is make you far more aware of what other leaders are up to. Once the congress convenes, from the Medieval Era onwards, you'll find yourself voting on various resolutions every 30 turns. You might be asked to vote on boosting or banning certain types of great people, or whether trade routes to particular civs or city-states should receive bonuses. You don't just get one vote; instead, you can spend a new form of currency called Diplomatic Favor to vote as many times as you can afford. Favors can also be traded with other leaders, just like any resource, meaning diplomatic players will need to give away valuable luxuries or strategic resources in order to fully exert their influence on the World Congress.

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In theory, these resolutions should enable the diplomatic player to tip the scales in their favor. In practice, though, their effects aren't transformative. You might get an extra trade route here, a slightly slower Great Engineer there, but nothing that feels game-changing. The randomness doesn't help--if you could propose a resolution rather than merely voting on the ones that pop up that would provide a better return on the investment.

More compelling are the choices to be made around actually pursuing the new Diplomatic Victory, awarded to the leader who first reaches 10 Diplomatic Victory points. You're still essentially voting your way to the top, but you're also competing with other leaders to send the most aid to another civ recently devastated by floods, for instance, or to generate the most great people points to win the Nobel Prize. Diplomatic Favor is also earned via alliances with other civs and becoming the suzerain of a city-state, so the Diplomatic Victory is genuinely a case of demonstrating you can lead the world.

These are the two biggest new features in this add-on, but Gathering Storm also includes countless smaller tweaks that in combination with the above make it an essential purchase for Civ VI fans. There are new World Wonders to build, such as the Great Bath or the University Sankore. There are new Natural Wonders, new military units to fill in the gaps between eras, and nine new leaders, including the series' first-ever dual-nationality leader (Eleanor of Aquitaine can represent either England or France).

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Thoughtfully, the new leaders are balanced between those that are clearly geared towards Gathering Storm's prominent additions--Kristina of Sweden is all about winning diplomatic favor while the unique abilities of Kupe, the Maori leader, incentivize leaving untouched as much of the natural world as possible--and those who embrace some previously overlooked facet of the game. In the latter camp, Matthias Corvinus heads a Hungarian empire whose military force is best composed of units levied from allied city-states, while in the Inca, lead by Pachacuti, we finally have a civ that wants lots of mountain tiles throughout its lands.

Gathering Storm is overall a great expansion, ushering in two significant new systems that work hand in hand to deepen the experience. The embellished diplomatic options extend the range of interactions with other leaders, allowing you to work cooperatively towards common goals or pull the strings to your advantage behind the scenes. While the introduction of climate change delivers new strategic choices whose consequences resonate ever-more-loudly as you advance throughout the eras. It isn't simply more Civ, it's a whole new way to play Civ.

Back To Top
The Good
A welcome emphasis on strategic decisions that have you weighing short-term vs long-term
Your choices have visible and meaningful consequences reflected in the world's climate
Weather events add welcome unpredictability
The new leaders seem well-balanced and encourage diverse play
The Bad
The randomness of World Congress diminishes its potential utility
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Sid Meier's Civilization VI

About the Author

David Wildgoose can't decide which of the new leaders is his favorite. Kupe says “Choice” and is the most eco-friendly leader in Civ history, but Eleanor's great work culture-bombing is a sight to behold, especially in her French guise. He played two games to completion and another dozen-or-so partial games to check out all the new leaders. Code was provided by the publisher.
35 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

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IrishInstigator

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Did they fix the shitty AI in Civ VI with this? Until that gets fixed, I will continue to play Civ V, regardless of any cool new features they add to VI.

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Takfloyd

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@irishinstigator: Nope. It's still multiplayer with friends or unsatisfying victories against a stupid AI. Worth it if you do have people to play with though.

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IrishInstigator

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@Takfloyd: Ah that's lame. Thanks for letting me know though!

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Rolento25

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@megakooter: Hopefully you'll be first.

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dailyupdate123

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Edited By dailyupdate123

thanks for information bro

https://gamereview199.blogspot.com/2019/02/civilization-6.html

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tyruduvu

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Edited By tyruduvu

Climate Change in a CiV game. No Thanks

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IrishInstigator

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@tyruduvu: Previous Civ games had climate change. 4 definitely did, I think 3 did as well. I'm glad they brought it back. Like it or not it's something Civilizations would/will invariably have to deal with. I think it makes the game interesting.

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boblaurel

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@tyruduvu: Exactly, hear enough of this BS on the news I don't need or want it in my games.

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phili878

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Edited By phili878

@tyruduvu: You really still think climate change does not exist? Sorry in advance if I misunderstood your comment.

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tyruduvu

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@phili878: Don't start that BS. Take your politics elsewhere.

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Takfloyd

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@tyruduvu: Climate change isn't politics unless you are completely ignorant. The only country where enough ignorant people exist to somehow make it politics is USA.

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IrishInstigator

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@tyruduvu: It's science, not politics.

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tyruduvu

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@irishinstigator: Here we go, imagine that. A bunch of twinkie last word-ists insulting everyone with whom they do not agree. Which is what I said to begin with. Take it elsewhere.

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IrishInstigator

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@tyruduvu: Insult? I simply corrected. There was no insult friend :)

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tyruduvu

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Edited By tyruduvu

@irishinstigator: Wrong again, twice and again with the last wording. Called it.

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IrishInstigator

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@tyruduvu: It's cute how you don't say anything. You just plug your ears and go "YOU'RE WRONG!"

Aww. So adorable! :D

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tyruduvu

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@irishinstigator: There there little snowflake, it'll be alright, mama's got ya now.

Last wordist posts again in 3.2.1...

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IrishInstigator

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Edited By IrishInstigator

@tyruduvu: "Last wordist posts again in 3.2.1..."

It's cute how you project your own behaviors onto others. You're still here, desperately trying to use catch-22s to keep me from responding. It's almost like you want the last word, and are annoyed I won't let you have it. Hehe, so cute. :)

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qqqqq

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True

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Dezuria

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With Rise and Fall, and now Gathering Storm, people who enjoy Civ V still can also enjoy this separately, because even though they're both Civ and share a lot, they also have a lot of unique differences. Remember when Civ V came out, many blasted that too saying that IV was better.

I think that V and VI are different enough that they compliment each other, not replace.

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Takfloyd

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@Dezuria: IV is still better than both. But it's getting closer.

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deactivated-5d495083aed2b

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@Dezuria: It's true, they are entirely different and appeal to a different type of player, this is why both games have a similar amount of player base, with Civ V usually outnumbering. For me, until the Civ VI team work on the AI before adding more features that the already bad AI can't handle, I can't enjoy it. I know this will never happen because it's targeted at a more casual type of player who doesn't look for challenge in games and enjoys being OP the whole game, the art style reflects this. That's fine, it sells and all, but not for me.

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zigonzagoff

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Pulled this from STEAM. Could someone follow up on the EULA change and why games are collecting everything they can to sell to others?

New EULA:

"The information we collect may include personal information such as your first and/or last name, e-mail address, phone number, photo, mailing address, geolocation, or payment information. In addition, we may collect your age, gender, date of birth, zip code, hardware configuration, console ID, software products played, survey data, purchases, IP address and the systems you have played on. We may combine the information with your personal information and across other computers or devices that you may use."

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Godlikan

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That ugly graphics and interface design like those retarded facebook games made the game unplayable to me...

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ganondorf77

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Edited By ganondorf77

So no making at all any effort in AI since 2010 makes no difference. Playing solo more than twice feels you are talking to stupid robots. And this expansion touches nothing about that. Until we have a civ with 100% pure ai with no handicaps and at least a little competent i will ignore the franchise. The only thing that really needs overhaul, the rest of stuff is just showcase to justify content, but you will feel you are playing against morons by the second playthrough, even by just playing once if you have been playing any of civ games since forever.

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Yams1980

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@ganondorf77: its too bad the games been around for so long and the AI is still this dumb.

Cheating is the only way they can give a challenge to the player. Very low unit maintenance costs, much faster unit building, easier to maintain happiness etc.

Its too bad they weren't able to just make AI smarter and not have to cheat to increase its difficulty.

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mari3k

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@ganondorf77: Forget it, there is no AI that could win againts a "not braindead" human in such a complex 4x , WITHOUT handicaps

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ganondorf77

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Edited By ganondorf77

@mari3k: False... At least fine was vanilla sc2 ai, brutal difficulty had no handicaps, and that is trillion times more complicated than civ just for it being real time, and not having a grid at all (a grid simplifies any ai problem). Any pro gamer, or anybody will consider almost stupid sc2 ai, but was a hell of a good standard ai for a aaa game, and we should consider no worse than that in any game ever. Civ 6 ai is like 5 and 4, and it's not even acceptable. I don't want a real ai like deepmind version of sc2 ai, i'm just asking for at least a competent one. Like ai telling you not to settle nearby when they obviouslly don't have any clue on the rest on the map, or things like that. And that is a minimum, has nothing to do with complexity in 4x mechanics.

The need of handicaps to make the game more complicated feels too bad for this century.

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Vojtass

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@ganondorf77: They won't fix AI because probably they would need to overhaul a lot of internal systems of the game, and they don't have time and resources for that. Civ VI is probably over now (except patches maybe). Besides I don't remember any Civ game where other tribes would play smart. They were always moronic since Civ 1. So there's no surprise for me.

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eterpay

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@Vojtass: I don't know about the recent ones, but I've definitely played a couple civ games where they weren't 'this' bad. Like I've never lost a city in this game, and I've played it quite a bit. The reason is because the ai sends units at you one at a time, often they won't even attack the city but just circle the city while in range of the cities attacks. It's happened countless times where an AI has a massive army, they declare war, they can easily annihilate my tiny civilization, but they just don't. I remember even in civilization Revolution (which was kind of the bastard of the series) civs could not only organize effective attacks, but they knew how to station the sturdiest units on strategic chokepoints and ranged units in spots where they could fire over them. The fact that this game can't is just silly. The rest of the game is still dope though.

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BlackBalls

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I do wish for once, that a full CIV game actually had all these features during launch. I know they are just trying to milk it dry, but vanilla Civ sometimes feels so bare.

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Yams1980

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I think i'll try this expansion out. Not sure if this climate change thing will just cause a hassle and be annoying in gameplay.

I wonder if you can turn it off, cause i'm more into just causing war and domination in the game. Although it likely would hurt all civilizations so it'd be pretty funny to just burn the world and see how bad it gets.

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MigGui

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Hopefully the AI is less moronic with this expansion. It is too easy to exploit its shortcomings in vanilla Civ VI.

Sid Meier's Civilization VI More Info

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  • First Released Oct 20, 2016
    released
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • Linux
    • + 5 more
    • Macintosh
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy game in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time.
    7.7
    Average Rating177 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Sid Meier's Civilization VI
    Developed by:
    Aspyr, Firaxis Games
    Published by:
    Aspyr, 2K Games, Take-Two Interactive
    Genre(s):
    Strategy, Turn-Based
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    Drug Reference, Language, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes