All Civilization Games, Ranked Worst to Best

Washington in Civilization 5
Image Credit: 2K, Aspyr.

A few different companies have gotten to make Sid Meier’s Civilization games, meaning there are different chances for them to shine through. Our list will rank all of the Civilization games made to see which are the best ones you can get your hands on.

The franchise has been active since 1991, with the latest iteration of the franchise being released in 2016. One day, we’ll get a new entry in the series, but for now, let’s review every Civilization game ranked. 

D Tier: Civilization: Beyond Earth

Civilization Beyond Earth settlement
Image Credit: Aspyr, 2K Games.

If you’ve felt that the original Civilization games aren’t exciting enough, this game takes you on a journey through space. Instead, you can travel across space, conquer different planets, and complete quests.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the game, but it was occasionally a little challenging as you met the Aliens akin to the Barbarian camps in the Civ games. 

D Tier: Civilization

Civilization Horse discovery
Image Credit: MicroProse.

Civilization is a wonderful game, as it’s the one that started it all. However, compared to other iterations, it doesn’t quite have the same charm. This is predominantly because of how dated it is, and compared to the other Civilization games, it lacks some of the best features. That being said, it is incredibly iconic and has been an influential game for the franchise and the genre as a whole. 

This game is a classic, and even if you play it today, it is still highly enjoyable.

D Tier: Civilization Revolution

Civilization Revolution cannons
Image Credit: 2K.

Civilization Revolution is a bit of an outlier on this list. While other spin-offs were made in the Civilization franchise, this one feels a little bit more connected. Additionally, this was the first time one of the Civ games was released exclusively on a console.

As a result, the game was rather basic and didn’t have the complexity the others had, making it feel a little lackluster. There was no real multiplayer to enjoy, and the graphics weren’t brilliant. 

They did make a Civilization Revolution 2, which performed a bit better. However, it still didn’t have the same sparkle and shine as the main games, which is disappointing.

C Tier: Civilization 3

Civilization 3 island
Image Credit: Infogrames Interactive, MacSoft.

Civilization 3 is a great iteration in the franchise, but it still isn’t one of the best. This game was built on the grounds of the first two games and added more complexity. There were more civilizations added, giving the game more variety than the first two. 

While the game was much more refined, and there is generally nothing wrong with it, some of the other games in the franchise just do it better than Civ 3 does.

C Tier: Civilization 2

Civilization 2 statistics screen
Image Credit: MicroProse.

It may seem a bit of a surprise to see Civ 2 above Civ 3, but something was incredibly lovable about the second game. Maybe it’s because it extended the franchise’s iconic beginnings and built on it tenfold. It added one of the most fun features in the game: Espionage. Additionally, we saw Civ 2 add new combat arsenals and alliances.

Civ 2 added some important features to the franchise that are still used in the games today. However, it still pales compared to some of the other games in the franchise. Also, the graphics are now rather dated, meaning the game doesn’t have the same realistic feel as it did when it was first released.

B Tier: Civilization 6

Civilization 6 settlements
Image Credit: 2K.

While Civilization 6 is the most recent game in the franchise, it is certainly not the best. Compared to Civ 5, it just doesn’t quite hit the same. It has the most complexity in the franchise and has plenty of DLC if you want to add something special to your game. 

That being said, the game feels like it’s missing something. I can’t place my finger on what, but it isn’t as wondrous as Civ 5 or Civ 4.

A Tier: Civilization 5

Civilization 5 Spain border
Image Credit: 2K, Aspyr.

Civilization is so close to the peak of the franchise. It had amazing, in-depth DLC, and the base game had everything you could ever ask for. This game introduced the hexagonal grid and also made the game easier to look at for those who are new or returning to the franchise. It wasn’t always so simple to get stuck into the game. Civ 5 did a lot to make things more accessible and, as a result, more enjoyable. 

Civilization 5 made the series a lot more accessible by adding hexagonal mapping. It made it so much easier to see where your units were going and what you could actually build on. The game became much more in-depth with international trade routes, tourism, new civilizations, and much more.

However, there is just one game in the series that peaks even higher than Civilization 5.

S Tier: Civilization 4

Civilization 4 built up city
Image Credit: 2K, Aspyr.

Compared to the other games on this list, Civilization 4 is the absolute peak of this franchise. It introduced brand-new aesthetically pleasing graphics and allowed for more immersive gameplay. Not only was the AI improved, but there were also some fantastic additions to the game that are still utilized in the current iteration.

More victories were added to this game, allowing players to experiment with something other than total world domination. Alternative victories are a fantastic feature for those who aren’t a fan of being aggressive and prefer to play as a pacifist. 

That concludes our list of the Civilization games ranked. The franchise has other spin-offs, but these are the main games that truly matter.

Which is your favorite Civilization game?

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Written by Amy Eastland

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