Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gaul & Byzantium (PC) Review

By Chris Leebody 25.09.2020

Review for Sid Meier

Released in May, the New Frontier Pass is a set of bi-monthly DLC packs that are being released for Civilization VI. Following the Maya and Gran Columbia and Ethiopia pack, now comes the turn of Europe and the introductions of Gaul and Byzantium. The two factions led by Ambiorix of Gaul and Basil II of Byzantium bring with them additional units, districts, world wonders and abilities - alongside a new game mode. Owners of the New Frontier Pass will get the two new factions within the pack and those without the pass can purchase them individually. The Gaul and Byzantium pack just released this month.

Stepping into the fray and representing Europe are Gaul and Byzantium. As usual, the two leaders Ambiorix and Basil II look fantastic and have that typical Civ VI expressive and animated style that never gets old.

Byzantium are tailored as a very much aggressive front-foot faction, while emphasising religious domination. The unique 'Porphyrogénnētos' ability means that cavalry can besiege cities effectively if they are following the same religion as Byzantium.

This is a dangerous ability (maybe a tad overpowered, especially in the early game) and, combined with the new Hippodrome district, proves to be a great method of military control.

On the other hand, Gaul, while still maintaining a military focus, boost industry, with the 'Hallstatt Culture' ability allowing mines to provide adjacency bonuses to other nearby districts.

While new factions are always welcome, the key feature many have turned their attention to with the content so far in the New Frontier Pass has undoubtedly been the additional rule changes and game modes that have been introduced.

From the 'Apocalypse Mode' in DLC one to the 'Secret Societies' in the previous addition with Ethiopia, new modes have given a decent adrenaline boost to the base game. While they are nothing that will fundamentally change how veterans of the series will play, they are just big enough changes to force those same people to have to think a little more.

The latest DLC is no exception and the standout feature added is the 'Dramatic Ages' mode. As Civ VI players will know, the game uses a system in which factions have their era score tallied up for doing things like building wonders, conquering cities or discovering a radical piece of research. At the end of the era this score then determines whether a faction enters a 'Normal Age', 'Dark Age', 'Golden Age' or 'Heroic Age'.

Screenshot for Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gaul & Byzantium on PC

The result of this has radical implications from everything in terms of loyalty penalties, to the ability to make dedications that grant the player's faction bonuses. It is a fun system and it encourages factions to take risks with a sense of momentum, otherwise they face paying the penalty.

While it is clear that this is probably a less radical game mode than the prior two additions, 'Dramatic Ages' does feel significant enough in dialling things up to eleven in order to feel worthwhile.

The new game mode eliminates 'Normal Ages' from the system and therefore naturally there is the sense of going from one extreme to the other - which is always a fun experiment of insanity. New 'Golden Age' and 'Dark Age' policy cards have also been added, so there will be something new for people to experience from that aspect in terms of how to shape their playstyle.

More interestingly indeed is that the penalties and bonuses have also been ramped up, with the ages now having increased passive power. 'Dark Ages' will lead to more parts of the faction to rebel and it is fair to say that this can significantly set back a faction in the blink of an eye.

Additionally, on the other side of the coin, 'Golden Ages' have increased exerting loyalty bonuses, which can be utilised as a powerful weapon against neighbouring enemies. Is there anything completely radical about this changing ruleset? No, probably not. That said, once again (and a theme of this set of DLC in general) it does just enough to make things a bit more challenging and cause people to think about their strategies.

Screenshot for Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gaul & Byzantium on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Anyone expecting a radical overhaul of anything major within Civilization VI in this latest New Frontier Pass release may be disappointed. While the two factions are a fun change and focus on military might, which is always enjoyable, there is not much else within them that will set pulses racing. Where the Gaul and Byzantium pack adds enough to be worthwhile is in the 'Dramatic Ages' game mode - which does indeed provide an alteration on a key game mechanic in such a way that it will force players to have to rethink their style of playing.

Developer

Firaxis

Publisher

2K

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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