|System: X360, PS3, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Firaxis||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 8, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1, 2-4 Online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Sid Meier is a video game luminary that has long driven innovation. His games have always been marked by complexity, strategy, and most of all, fun. Civilization Revolution (Civ Rev) for the Xbox 360 and PS3 is no exception.
Since 1991, the Civilization franchise has been a cornerstone of PC strategy titles. I remember visiting my brother at Syracuse University as a fourteen-year-old and playing that game for hours upon hours. I was hooked, and there was no turning back. Subsequently, Ive purchased and played all iterations on PC since and even had a go at Civ II on the original PlayStation. Needless to say, Im a Civilization diehard. Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical at how my favorite PC game would translate to consoles. The Civ titles are extremely detailed games that take hours and even days to complete. Furthermore, as it happens with RTSs, turn-based strategy games are notoriously bad at getting ported from PC. Fortunately for Civ Rev, Sid Meier is at the helm; he recently oversaw the successful transition of Pirates! (another one of his PC classics) to the Xbox and PSP, so much of my apprehension was allayed by Meiers and Firaxis competence. Thankfully, I was right to trust in their judgment, as Civ Rev is a completely re-imagined Civilization and a must-buy title for strategy fans of all walks.
In case you were wondering, Civ Rev is not a direct port of Civ IV, though it definitely shares, borrows, and modifies many of that games best ideas. I cant get into every nuance of how the game is played for the uninitiated, but suffice it to say, Civilization Revolution has players take the role of a great leader of one of 16 civilizations (such as the Americans, Germans, Japanese, Spanish, Aztecs, etc.) - each with their own characteristics. Players then manage the creation of a flourishing civilization from its most tenuous moments as a fledgling village in 4000 BC to an expansive economic, cultural, and military juggernaut through the various eras of human history.
Players enjoy diplomatic negotiations, establish lucrative trade opportunities, create works of art that stand the test of time, and enter into combat with savage barbarians and other more civilized interlopers at the edge of their realms. There are four ways to win Civilization Revolution, all of which take a good deal of skill to pull off. They include cultural, domination, economic, and technological victories. In fact, truly great Civ players will try and pull off all of these victory conditions rather than sticking to just one playing style. The combination of cerebral gameplay, a vast array of micromanagement options, a steep degree of challenge, and a very accessible interface has made Civilization a PC gamers dream title. So, how does it work in the living room?
Amazingly, Firaxis was able to translate all the best parts of the Civilization experience, while managing to streamline the options and interface, and greatly increase the pace of play for console gamers. Despite the toned-down feel of the title, micromanagement is still very deep. Tons of options and reports can be accessed with the touch of a button. Checking up on and managing your cities, issuing orders to your armies, researching technologies, harvesting resources, entering into diplomatic negotiations, and government are all present and accounted for. Moreover, vastly varied unit types (including Combat Units, Great People, Spies, and Caravans), terrain limitations, and the effects of culture on opposing civilizations are also all here. The only difference is that some of the more ponderous elements such as worrying about starvation, issuing individual worker commands, building roads, varying map characteristics, and extended anarchy and civil unrest (now just one turn long regardless) have been eliminated or substantially nerfed. For hardcore Civ fans, the PC titles are still the way to go, but even they will find tons of fun to be had in the lightning-fast pace and seriously compelling multiplayer action.