Genres: Strategy, Turn-based
Designers: Sid Meier
Publisher: 2K Games
Console: Xbox 360
Rated: E for Everyone
“Yeah, I’ll take care of that in a second. I’m just gonna take one more turn.” Had you of been around me these past few weeks and tried something outrageous, such as interacting with me, this is probably the answer you would have received thanks to Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution. Hailing from the hardcore roots of the PC Civilization franchise, Revolution is an elegantly scaled-back experience that successfully manages to tap into the fast-paced, console gamer mentality by dropping you right into the action.
Civilization Revolution, like its PC kin, is a turn-based, empire building simulator with a heavy emphasis on warfare and backroom politics. You choose your starting nation, each with its own unique units and abilities, and start upon the long journey of building up a successful civilization from a single city. Along the way you’ll expand your empire, cultivate great thinkers, research technology, amass gold, and stomp out the competition. To emerge victorious you’ll need to hone in on one of these aforementioned happenings and fulfill a certain objective before the other inhabitants of your world beat you to the punch.
The fact that Revolution is turn-based, instead of real-time, makes this title a much more relaxing experience for the console player. Compared to games such as Tiberium Wars, where scrambling around through a sea of menus trying in desperation to locate your units is just part of the charm, everything here is laid out for you on a neat little grid, and you have all the time needed to plan your next move. It’s a liberating experience which, in many ways, opens up the possibilities for a more in depth strategy now that the noise between you and the options at your disposal has been removed.
In more ways than you might imagine, the world of Revolution is centered almost entirely around you and your chosen nation. Right from the start you had better be prepared for the dogs of war to come howling at your borders as this game definitely places its focus on the combat aspect. You will be beset by other nations on a constant basis with demands of gold, technology, or influential people. Reject, and more often than not you’ll be staring down the barrel of a gun.
What’s irksome is that, while other nations will spare no expense in hounding you, they very rarely interact with each other, besides signing peace treaties. Barring a direct bribe on my part, not once did I see one nation declare war on another – even when victory was nearly assured. Nor was there ever news of one nation extorting gold or technology from another; basically for one nation to interact with another they have to go through you first.
For all the time I’ve poured into this title, the one thing which would have made it all the sweeter would be if I could just have had a little local multiplayer. Sure you’ve got the fun hop-in, hop-out online play and the system link, but what about allowing me to go head to head with person next to me, a la Advance Wars? That aside, Revolution is a game that has managed to do the unthinkable by so successfully re-imagining this venerable PC franchise for the console market. I’d say more but, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to take one more turn.