- Buy the Game
Reviewed by Jason Thompson
or years now, PC gamers have had the pleasure of playing the “Civilization” series on their various rigs. The game was pretty much tailor-made for the home computer, just the thing for those who prefer to do their gaming with a mouse and a keyboard. But now the tides have turned, and Sid Meier has brought his beloved franchise exclusively to the console gaming world with “Civilization Revolution.” This is the latest chapter of a book filled with tales of gamers creating their own empires and ruling the world (or at least a chunk of it) as it were.
Now some of the PC purists have balked at this title, claiming the game has been dumbed down. So be it and bring it on, I say. Go figure that there is a large contingency of gamers out there who don’t care for PC gaming, but would love to have a shot at some of the games that are so well liked on that platform. Having tried some past “Civ” games, I can attest to how the titles can often get confusing and, after a bit, get detailed on the controls. Hey, sometimes some of us just want to be able to sit down, pop in a game, and have fun. “Civilization Revolution” offers just that.
First-time players are urged to play at the easiest level to start. A great in-game tutorial -- concise, easy to understand and never annoying -- will walk you through all the crucial steps you need to learn to play the game successfully. After choosing from one of 16 historical civilizations (led by such notables as Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Napoleon, Cleopatra, etc.), players are put into the driver’s seat and let loose to stake their worldly claims. Placing an initial city comes first, and then a small band of soldiers is given to the player to seek out new lands. Eventually, local barbarians are encountered, skirmishes are won and the next thing you know, you’re bumping into leaders of other civilizations. Some, such as the Zulus, can often be friendly. Others, such as the Romans and Germans, can shake your hand in peace one moment and the next turn around and start ransacking your cities.
Of course, the main thrust of the game is expansion. Players can choose to be ruthless and take over territories through warfare, building up armies and discovering new technologies through research and science. Or, you can go the peaceful route, only fighting when necessary and winning the game through those scientific discoveries, building wonders of the world, and various other means. Of course, there’s the third option where you could combine a little bit of both and truly echo the chaotic and often pointless nature of political warfare and socialization through backstabbing.
If there’s a problem to be had with “Civilization Revolution” it’s that it can get a bit repetitive. Plus, there’s a severe increase in difficulty from the lowest to only the second setting. So after you win your first big game, don’t expect it to be a walk in the park after you’ve learned the ropes and think you’re just upping the challenge a little. No sooner will you have a few good cities built, but a neighboring civilization will start pounding you with their huge armies and taking everything you’ve got. Still, it’s a good challenge, if a little exasperating at times. Also, when taking the game online, it’s often best to find friends you know to play with. This really isn’t the best game to be played with complete strangers, as people will often dump out when they start losing or start one of those lame insult-fests that often come with the online gaming turf.
Other than those two minor qualms, “Civilization Revolution” is a rousing success, perfect for those who’d like to play a more strategic console game that can also be a bit relaxing. It would certainly be nice to see more of these sorts of games (or even more of this series) brought over to the consoles. You know, we’re not just about first person shooters, car racing and football. We have feelings too, dammit! We can appreciate taking over the world in a more relaxed atmosphere as much as the next guy.