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What The Critics Are Saying About Humankind

"Civilization" has dominated the 4X strategy game (which ask players to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) subgenre for years. The latest version of "Civilization" even has its own battle royale mode. However, "Humankind," which will finally release after being delayed to 2021, gave critics a chance to compare the two games. The good news? "Humankind" holds its own.

The Metacritic reviews for the game were pretty solid. As Mike Williams with PC Mag said, "the PC game closely mirrors 'Civilization,' but its fresh user interface and mechanics offer greater world-building flexibility and a faster pace."

Considering it takes almost 20 hours to beat "Civilization 6," the faster pace can definitely be a bonus for some players. According to Patrik Severin from Game Reactor, the game is "at its best" in the mid- to late-game phases, so this fast pace helps players get to the good stuff more quickly. However, pacing wasn't the only outstanding mechanic in the game.

The culture building is a fantastic new mechanic

In other 4X games, like "Civilization," players choose a country and culture to play as throughout the entire game, as multiple critics pointed out. However, "Humankind" lets players pick a new culture to add to their society as they progress.

PCGamesN pointed out that the "genius" in "Humankind" is that deciding on a culture "only gets more interesting as the game unfolds." Additionally, the addition of new cultures "creates tremendous replayability." Mike Williams brought up the fact that these cultural decisions "more aptly reflect[] the real world" as "civilizations aren't entirely one thing throughout their histories."

Patrik Severin also pointed out that the wonders system in the game is outstanding compared to other games in the genre, as players "never have to worry about someone else building [the wonder you're working on building]." In other 4X games, whichever player finishes building a wonder is the player who earns its benefits — this can be frustrating after spending countless turns focusing on one task.

While much of the game was amazing, the mechanics weren't always fully fleshed out

As Mike Williams pointed out, "'Humankind' provides just the kind of competition and innovation that the genre needs." While the game has a lot of great things in it, Williams argued that it was its "potential" that made the game so great.

PCGamesN brought up the fact that every one of the games they played resulted in a win through technology, and that "none of the others [came] close to happening first, even when [they didn't chase] science." They also brought up the fact that the AI isn't as smart as it should be, but that it could very easily change with future updates to the game.

While "Civilization" was an underappreciated gem in the Switch eShop, hopefully "Humankind" can bring more attention to the genre. The "mostly brilliant" game, as PCGamesN called it, is releasing on PC and Google Stadia on August 17, 2021.