Since the launch of the Xbox 360, we’ve been yearning for a
wholly strategic title. While a few Xbox Live arcade titles, have amusing us
for a week or two, they haven’t scratched the itch, in a way that a larger,
DVD-based title can. Thankfully, Sid Meier has adapted his acclaimed PC title, Civilization
IV, into a leaner, quicker, console game that is exactly what we have been
craving- a strictly turn-based strategy game that exercises our gray matter.
Once the gamer picks one of the title’s sixteen cultures, you
begin play with a small hamlet, and a band of warriors. These soldiers are used
to explore the immediate vicinity and also to remove any barbarian hordes infringing
on the player’s land mass. Soon, the player will be creating barracks, libraries,
granaries, in an effort to make the civilization grow. Players are presented
with a plethora of research options, which makes each game distinct. While military
might is one way to win the game, so is having an economic power, a cultural sophistication,
or a technological supremacy.
Don’t remember when the Aztecs pillaged Rome? Time to update your history books.
Since, every game is played on a randomized map; strategies
have to be adjusted. While playing as the Japanese on a large continent with
other two cultures, a strong offensive infantry was the way to conquer the
land. We started the next game on a smaller island, and having a strong naval presence
was essential for migration to new areas.
As soon as players
discover new countries, relations are typically friendly. However,
relationships inevitably deteriorate, as demands are asked of the player, or other
AI players cease to tolerate your Alexander-esqe dominations. After about
thirty-minutes to forty minutes of play, things heat up quite nicely until the
game’s sizzling (and usually treacherous) climax.
Adding to the value is a ‘game of week’ scenario, and a
multiplayer option; which while welcome, took an enormous time of time for
three players to finish. Players have
the option for head-to-head, team, and free-for-all, battles. We can see Civilization
being enjoyed by groups of friends throughout this current hardware generation.
You insult my queen. You threaten my people with slavery and death. Oh, I’ve chosen my words, carefully, Zulu!
Although turn-based strategy games aren’t known for the
graphical prowess, Civilization Revolution amazes at moments. Especially well
done is the character art; where the follicles of Genghis Khan’s fur gently
sway, or Zulus appear especially lifelike. Some might miss the subtlety of the
build animations- watch carefully and you’ll see the construction of the Hanging
Gardens of Babylon authentically reengineered. However, later in the game the world map will slow down significantly as it attempts to scroll the myriad of
structures and warfare units. While slowdown in a turn based game isn’t as bad
as a reflex based title, it still does detract from the overall experience. Additionally,
the constant assistance from CPU AI could wear on some gamer’s nerves after a
Overall, these are small nuisances that can be overlooked
when enjoying the game. There’s a reason this franchise is still alive and relevant
eighteen years after its inception. If
you’re a fan of strategy games, download the demo of Civilization Revolution;
it’s a shining example of an underrepresented console genre.
Final Grade: A