Civilization Revolution: Shockingly Un-revolutionary

Brent Wallace

Civilization Revolution is the latest game in the famous Civilization series produced by master game designer Sid Meier and Firaxis Games. Ever since the beginning of the series in 1991, Civilization games have been PC exclusives. Civilization Revolution marks the first time that the series has been designed specifically for consoles instead of the PC.

With new gaming platforms to work with, it is not surprising that Civilization Revolution makes several game play omissions in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience and make the game more enjoyable for console users. Unfortunately some of those omissions are absurd. The result is an enjoyable, but flawed turn-based strategy game.

Just like in previous Civilization games, your goal in Civilization Revolution is to build a civilization that can stand the test of time. Before the game starts, you must choose which civilization you want to play as. The selection includes the Greeks, Mongols, French, Americans and many others. Each civilization has unique advantages, such as starting with an advanced technology or having some sort of combat bonus with a specific unit type.

Upon starting the game, you will be given a lone settler unit that you can use to build your first city. After establishing yourself, you are able to explore the map, meet the other civilizations competing against you, and build up your own civilization with new technology, military units, and city improvements, to deal with them appropriately.

If you have played previous Civilization games, you will feel right at home here since the basic formula has not been changed. Rather, certain aspects of the formula, such as the tech tree and the development of your lands, have been greatly simplified to allow for faster play.

Unfortunately, this simplification takes it a bit too far in a few cases. It is baffling as to why they discarded basic diplomacy options such as open border treaties and even basic resource trading. As a result, diplomacy only allows you to trade technology and to convince other civilizations to declare war on someone else.

A heftier diplomacy system would have definitely been appreciated regarding Civilization revolution’s artificial intelligence (AI). Civilization games have generally had entertaining AI. However, Civilization Revolution marks a notable low point for the series with its AI. The problem here is that the game’s AI is hyper-aggressive, even at the second lowest difficulty setting.

The result is that the AI is actually quite predictable, making it relatively easy to guess when it will try to threaten you next. Regardless, Civilization Revolution’s AI is still competent from a game play standpoint. But it does eventually get old having to constantly deal with AI opponents who only use the diplomacy system in a heavy-handed manner.

Fortunately, Civilization Revolution offers multiplayer for when you are done with the single player. There is also a Game of the Week option which you can play to see how you measure up to other players around the world.

However, the biggest problem with Civilization Revolution is a crippling lack of game play options. Previous Civilization games were excellent in providing options such as different map types and sizes, how many players you wanted, which victory conditions you wanted to use, and more.

Civilization Revolution doesn’t give you any of these options. In the single player mode, you are always forced to play on one type of random map with five players, including yourself. The closest the game gets to offering game play options is with its scenarios, which all slightly customize the basic game with differing victory conditions and set-ups. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to play these scenarios alone, since they are not available online, and the game lacks local play on anything other than a local area network.

Graphically, Civilization Revolution is unquestionably the best-looking Civilization game to date. The maps and units all look decent, and the water effects are quite nice. The animation for the advisers and leaders in the game is also particularly well done, even though some of them can have noticeable glitches if you switch between their animations too quickly. The game’s audio is also decent, but nothing particularly stands out about it.

In the end, Civilization Revolution is a very tricky game to recommend to any large group. The hardcore fans of the series will probably be disappointed with how simple the game is compared to its PC counterparts, and the game may be a little too complex or time-consuming for casual gamers.

If you are a forgiving fan of the series who wants to be able to play a Civilization game on a platform other than the PC, Civilization Revolution is the only option available to you. The game is also recommended if you are specifically looking for a decent turn-based strategy game for consoles.

ESRB Rating: E 10+ for alcohol and tobacco references, mild suggestive themes and violence
Retail Price: $59.99
Availability: Retail stores and online vendors
My Rating: 2 ´ out of 4 stars.