Civilization Revolution is Sid Meier’s latest attempt at bringing his Civilization franchise to console crowd. While the strategy genre often translates poorly to consoles, but Meier’s has taken this challenge very seriously, and it shows.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the world of Civilization, it revolves around a turn-based style of play much like a role-playing game often does. You’re given the opportunity to choose between any of the sixteen civilizations included within the game (Mongols, Germans, etc). Each civilization will also come with different bonuses that you have to take into account. For example, the Japanese are immune to anarchy during modern times, while Egyptians gain +1 movement for Riflemen during the Industrial Era. Once you decide on a civilization, you start off with a tiny village that includes a small population of warriors and gatherers. It is from this point that you grow from a small village to a world power resulting in potential victory.
One of the key aspects of Civilization Revolution is that users won’t see a ported variant of the PC gameplay, but rather a brand new format that was built with consoles in mind. There is no doubt that Meier realizes that the majority of console owners prefer titles that offer them continuous excitement mixed with a bit of strategy. Due to this, the developers have removed a significant chunk of micro-management from the title in order to provide gamers that feeling of progress with each and every turn.
If I were to compare Civilization Revolution with previous titles from the creator, I’d have to say the biggest difference between them is the ability to just pick up and play this time around. Unlike other titles in the genre, the game’s AI manages a good portion of the game for you while still leaving behind nearly enough micro-management for the hardcore strategy buffs. A good indicator of this pick up and play direction is the fact that you can finish up games within two to three hours, depending on the difficulty level you choose to play (there are five difficulties). Not only has the game been shortened in comparison, but you no longer have to pay attention to every bit of city management as the game takes care of that for you.
As for the gameplay itself, it’s easy to see why different gamers will be able to sit down and enjoy it. The controlling mechanics are mapped out seamlessly; most actions can be achieved with the simple press of a button. If you’re trying to move infantry across the world, you just utilize your analog sticks in order to move them across the playing field. The rest is equally simple.
The landscaping for the title is completely randomized. You never know how big the playable area is or how the formation of the land lies. As each turn progresses, you’ll watch your civilization grow within a 100-year span. These spurts of growth will also shape and evolve your territory with the times. This will allow you to watch your progress at any point in history.
You’re able to be diplomatic by pressing one of your shoulder buttons by engaging in war, peace, or just trading off peaceful turns in order to push forward. If you’re looking to overtake your neighboring cities by force, you can combine three infantry units into a small army with the press of the triangle button. This small army will gain statistical boosts making it a strategic move and a step in the right direction for victory.
Overall, there are four different methods of victory within the realm of civilization. These include Domination, Technology, Cultural and Economic. Each of these methodical ways to victory is shaped by the type of player controlling the civilization. They can be achieved by simply making it to the space age in order to launch into space or by opening up a World Bank to collect 20,000 gold. Which direction you’d like to take your empire is up to you.
If you’re one of those gamers looking to dive directly into multiplayer, then Civilization offers up to an unrivaled four-player experience. You will never understand the sheer joys of pitting two people against one another through manipulation of war until you experience it online in Civ Rev. Two modes of play are available: a team-based style of play and a simple free-for-all which will leave every man fending for himself. If a human opponent happens to lose their connection, the AI will take over, allowing the game to proceed. The experience is generally lag free and offers full voice support including private voice chat amongst players.
In the end, Civilization Revolution is everything that strategy gamers have been waiting for. While it may disappoint a small niche of hardcore Meier fans, it will definitely appeal to the masses looking for a nice change of pace from the average console game.