Civilization Revolution is a turn based strategy game. Players strive to become ‘the Ruler of the entire World.’ You achieve this by creating and leading a civilization from the knuckle-dragging dawn of man into the space age and beyond. How you win is entirely up to you, wage war on neighbouring Super-powers, conduct yourself diplomatically - yeah right, or discover new and formidable technologies. You choose your civilisation (I spell the Queen’s English) from one of 16 cultures each headed by a famous historical figure, Abe Lincoln, Napoleon, Montezuma, Helen Clark (kidding!). Each civilisation has its own special abilities, strengths and weaknesses but they’re all pretty well rounded and no culture is grossly out classed by another.
If I have the choice I always like to hear the bad new first, so here goes: Civilization Revolution has been developed specifically with gaming console in mind so as you’d expect some of the depth found in the earlier PC versions has been sacrificed for an easier more casual gaming approach. Even before the game came out I was expecting this but I still felt wanting for micro management particularly when dealing with villages, you just leave them to it. Too bad if you don’t want them to plough a field there because that’s where they’re going to plough one. It’s this lack of hands on control in a genre that is all about control where Civ Rev suffers the most.
I’ve never minded the characters in the Sid Meier universe, you know, the cartoony ones that talk gibberish? But I don’t need to be told at every turn by an advisor that the ‘United Nations Wonder’ can now be built. This repetition did get a little trying after a while. Incidentally, the designers obviously have a wicked sense of humour, as the aforementioned diplomatic advisor from the modern era is a dead-ringer for Condoleezza Rice — nice one.
My final and most minor gripe is to do with the look of the world maps your trying to conquer; it’s all so similar. Considering the game is supposed to be representative of the entire globe you don’t get a real sense of scope. Sure there are deserts, mountains and snow fields but there’s no real point of difference from continent to continent. That said, the graphics are vivid, dramatic and very well animated; going into battle, for instance, has never been so satisfying. Your city’s buildings are all representative of your chosen civilisation and the wonders that you can create are deliciously detailed.
To complement the detailed graphics is an equally detailed soundtrack quietly incidental when you’re in the midst of gameplay but punctuating dramatically key events or achievements with big orchestral
swells. The music is also subtlety influenced by what culture your chosen civilisation represents.
Civ Rev is all about instant action and addictive fun and it really does deliver. The addition of the online multiplayer certainly adds to a gaming experience that is already bursting at the seams with longevity. Multiplayer allows for up to four players online to do battle as teams, go head to head, or have a massive freaky free-for-all. Game developer Firaxis also puts out a different downloadable game scenario each week (on Sundays) where everyone begins with exactly the same starting point, location and civilization. The ‘Game of the Week’ also includes a leader board where you can see how you fared against other players around the world, a nice touch.
Civilization Revolution is well worth checking out, even if strategy based games are not your thing I recommend it for no other reason than there’s nothing quite like it out there at the moment. Sure it’s been simplified to accommodate a change in format but it’s lost none of the addictive charm of its forebears.
So go forth and prosper, your people await!