- Scribbled on April 22nd, 2008 by Jonah Falcon
- Filed in Comic Con, Microsoft Xbox 360, Previews, Sony PlayStation 3, Strategy
For those of you wondering how Civilization Revolution translates to a console-style, fast-paced turn-based strategy game, and the answer is: exceedingly well. Having tried out a demo of the Xbox 360 version at the Firaxis booth at Comic Con, it looks like yet another win for Sid Meier.
Basically, Civ Rev removes a lot of the micromanagement of Civilization, without sacrificing depth of play. While you can give general instructions to workers, you no longer command them to do specific things. You no longer need to allocate tax/science/luxury percentages, and corruption no longer exists. Basically, everything is boiled down to researching techs, constructing armies and buildings, and diplomacy with other civilizations.
While the game has been streamlined, it hasn’t been simplified – all of the numbers that are in previous Civ games are behind the scenes now. The game is played more on a grand strategic scale rather than tactical battles, with an emphasis on speed. For example, the first civ to achieve a tech receives a free unit or building based on that tech, ie. first to reach Pottery receives a free granary, while first to Iron Working receives a free Legion unit. There are some other neat features, such as armies, in which 3 like units can be combined into a more powerful army unit.
The look of the game also jumps out at the player. The high def graphics are bold and colorful, and the in-game avatars are large and detailed, and even interact with each other when the game switches between them. The animations are also not only smooth but subtly humorous; Cleopatra, for instance, when angry, will mutter something in mock-Egyptian while brandishing a black dagger in anger.
Speed is the entertaining aspect of the game. Winning the game is a simple affair: either earn a set amount of gold, wipe out the other civs capitals, build the United Nations wonder (after earning 20 Great People/wonders/flipped cities), or, of course, launch a spaceship to Alpha Centauri. Full games run roughly 4 hours, though Firaxis employees have said that familiarity with the game often has them playing speed sessions of 2 hours. I suggested to one of the lead developers that they should include a fastest time leaderboard; they will be having a special leaderboard for what they term “Game of the Week”, a set scenario for players to compete for best score in for that week.
Unlike previous Civ games, Civ Rev is heavily balanced for multiplayer, and is a key feature. Unfortunately, I was unable to see the multiplayer in action, but it features up to 4 players, including free-for-alls and team play. Also unfortunately, I was not able to check out the Nintendo DS version, but I was assured that the gameplay would be exactly the same on the handheld, though the graphics resemble Advance Wars and the DS version of Age of Empires. Like its bigger brothers, it too features Wi-Fi multiplayer action.
Civ Rev looks to be a must-buy for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners, a retail turn-based strategy in a sea of first person shooters and action games.
[Note: There are no characters based on Sid Meier yet in the game - I was informed they'd try their best to sneak his visage into the game somehow.]