Vive la France: Catherine de Medici leads the French in 'Civilization VI'

The French have always been a mainstay of the Civilization series, guided by legendary leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis XIV, and Charles de Gaulle. Civilization VI will bring the debut of Catherine de Medici.

Born of Italy’s powerful de Medici family, Catherine exerted a strong influence on the French court in the latter half of the 16th century, as wife to King Henry II, intermittent queen regent, and mother to three subsequent kings of France. Retaining power in the French monarchy during a period of great social, political, and religious upheaval, some historians have called her the most powerful woman in 16th century Europe.

France’s unique ability is called Grand Tour, which provides a boost for constructing midgame wonders and a tourism bonus for all wonders built. Their unique tile improvement, the Chateau, must be built next to a river, but provides culture and gets additional bonuses for proximity to wonders.

The Garde Imperiale is France’s unique unit. It helps defend all of those wonders from jealous neighbors. They receive a combat bonus for fighting on the capital city’s home continent, and generate Great General points from kills.

Lastly, Catherine is the first leader revealed so far to focus on espionage. Her ladies in waiting serve as a bonus spy network, providing additional diplomatic information about newly met rivals by listening to court rumors. Catherine will also receive an extra spy once castles are researched.

Unlike China and Egypt, whose abilities encourage them to build a lot of wonders early and then snowball that early lead into victory, France is geared toward peaking around the medieval and renaissance periods. The culture and tourism bonuses point toward a cultural victory, but like all of the other civilizations revealed so far, there is a lot of flexibility in their features. With most of the obvious French leaders in history already covered by the series, Catherine is a really interesting choice as someone that had a strong hand in the leadership of France for an extended and important period, even if she only explicitly ruled it for some of that time.

Civilization VI arrives on October 21 for PC. We will be getting more hands-on time with the game in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for our ongoing impressions.

Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Gaming

Struggling to survive 'Battlefield 5?' Our boot camp will keep you in the fight

Battlefield V's multiplayer component can be overwhelming, but you can succeed against the enemy with a little help. These are the tips and tricks you need to know to win in Battlefield V.
Gaming

What games were nominated for the The Game Awards 2018? Find out here

The Game Awards returns to Los Angeles for its fifth show this December. Here is everything we know about the event, including its location, where you can watch it, and games that were nominated.
Product Review

'Hitman 2' goes in for the kill with more of everything you love

IO Interactive and Warner Bros introduce us to ‘Hitman 2’, a sequel that embraces what made the series so unique and exceeds at delivering a more polished and complex experience.
Gaming

How to Install an SSD in a PlayStation 4 or PS4 Pro

SSDs are much faster than mechanical hard drives, which is what the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro come with. Here, we show you how to replace it with an SSD, which will allow you to boot to the OS faster and load games quicker.
Gaming

Faction-based PvP, new Vault openings coming to ‘Fallout 76’ after launch

Bethesda is already hard at work on post-launch content for Fallout 76, which launches November 14 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Faction-based PvP is in the works, and new vaults will open over time.
Gaming

Everything we know about 'Anthem', including new details on Javelin classes

BioWare announced an upcoming action role-playing game called 'Anthem' at EA Play 2017. Here's everything we know about the game so far, including gameplay, DLC, and when you'll be able to play it.
Gaming

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Gaming

‘Tetris Effect’ makes the undying classic feel new again

Tetris is a game that everyone knows. The classic puzzler has appeared on just about every device since 1984. With music and visual flourishes, Tetris Effect remarkably manages to elevate the iconic game to new heights.
Gaming

Hacker finds Steam bug that unlocks free games, collects $20K for reporting it

Security researcher Artem Moskowsky discovered a Steam bug that allowed him to generate infinite free keys for any game. Instead of abusing the exploit, Moskowsky reported it to Valve, which gave him a $20,000 reward.
Gaming

‘Overwatch’ gunslinger Ashe is now available on all platforms

Blizzard announced Ashe as the latest Overwatch hero at BlizzCon 2018. The gunslinger has a history with McCree and makes use of a lever-action repeating rifle and a robotic sidekick.