Civilization Revolution

Written by Joe Martin

June 28, 2008 | 08:14

Tags: #civ #civilisation #civilization #civilization-revolution #review #strategy

Companies: #2k-games

Getting Civilised

Unfortunately, just because the aims and general functions exist in the game (though some things like build queues have been massively simplified), doesn’t mean that Civilization Revolution hasn’t got flaws.

Control – it always seems to come down to controls with strategy games on a console and, just like Jim Vesella told us when we interviewed him about Command and Conquer: Kane’s Wrath on the Xbox 360, nobody has yet managed to find the right way to do it.

That rule goes for Civilization Revolution too, as it has a rather awkward and clustered control scheme that can be fiddly even when you get used to it.

It’s mostly pretty basic – d-pad to scroll through all units or units in a pile or units of a similar type depending on direction and context, analogue sticks to plot paths and scroll the camera – but it’s just marred by lots and lots of niggles. The game worlds offered by Civilization Revolution are typically small, but even so the camera still moves painfully slowly.

These problems extend into a few other areas – scrolling through your various units is incredibly tedious as the system insists on jumping you to units you’ve already told to stand still and defend your cities.

Civilization Revolution Civilization Revolution - Gameplay and Conclusions

The presentation meanwhile also suffers a few knocks. While the bright colours and monstrously zoomed in viewpoint aren’t all that bad by themselves – though a faster moving camera and ability zoom out would be great – there are some aspects of this new casual interface that are a bit more annoying. Simlish, for example.

Ooohgah, limpo huffzah weedle killjop bongaminge. Jonsfong prompting qub schmictable bwrist bastien smeh! (What did you just say? - Ed.)

See – novel at first, but imagine that was looping every single time your adviser wants to ask you where to direct research or negotiate a peace treaty. It’d quickly get old, right?

There are a fair few little balancing problems and inconsistencies we found too. Take for example one point when in one game I, once again in a fierce dispute with the Russians, sent a galley out to explore an island to the north of my kingdom. The year was roughly 300AD. My galley found a castle and, as a reward, was bestowed with 70 gold and an unit of cannons.

A unit of cannons which, when supported by two units of veteran horseman, an army of veteran archers and were marched behind an army of mixed warriors and a unit of siege catapults, couldn’t conquer a single Russian town that was defended only by archers – even when two spies had already disrupted the defences of the town.

Civilization Revolution Civilization Revolution - Gameplay and Conclusions

Bloody Russian archers, they always seem to stand between me and the busty Catherine the Great - but one day she will be mine!


Still, despite all these minor flaws and control issues, Civilization Revolution is still pretty good and Firaxis has done well to carry over the same addictiveness and educating mechanics as the previous games.Civilization Revolution Civilization Revolution - Gameplay and Conclusions

There are issues, but there’s also a lot to like in Civilization Revolution and even though a lot of the depth has been trimmed out, there’s still a lot left in in terms of negotiations and deciding what to build next. There’s also a lot to like in terms of the different scenarios and modes – though there’s only support for up to four players, which is limiting.

The game is boiled down, streamlined and basic – but that isn’t all bad and one could easily level accusations of needless depth and bloatiness at the original games. To have a lighter option is no bad thing and the developers have done well to adapt the game to a console audience, though there are some obvious failings and concessions that have been made.

The game could have been made better in some fairly fundamental ways - we'd have loved to see some of the more varied campaign scenarios and the like from Beyond The Sword, the add-on for the last proper Civilization game. Some expanded multiplayer support and better controls would go down a treat as well. Still, Civilization is a strong brand and an awesome series of games, so these failures don't really have that big an effect on the overall outcome. As good as the PC forefathers? Definitely not, but still better than the nearest competitor on a console.
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