Civilization Revolution Review

If there are two games that I don't really want to know how much time I've spent playing, they are World of Warcraft and the Civilization series of games. Because of this I sat down to play Civilization: Revolution for the first time with a sense of trepidation. My first fear was that in transitioning one of my favorite PC series to a console system the developers may have broken the game and lost the aspects that made the series so much fun to play in the first place. Of course my other fear was that they got it right and that I'd soon be adding large chunks of time to my lifetime Civilization gameplay totals. After spending some time with the game, well, a lot of time with the game I can tell you that while Revolution is a simplified version of the PC game it is a lot of fun, and quite an enjoyable game in its own right.

I realize that a lot of Xbox 360 gamers probably don't have any experience with a Civilization game, so I'll start with the basics of the game in its current incarnations. Fear not - I'll also touch on what's been dropped in the move to consoles for you Civilization veterans out there.

In Revolution, you begin as the leader of a tribe at the dawn of civilization - the time when your people have given up on a nomadic lifestyle and decided that it would be a good idea to live in a city. From this humble beginning you must lead your people though the ages until they succeed in becoming the greatest civilization on earth. To do this you must achieve dominance over the other civilizations of the world through conquest, culture, wealth, or technology. There are 16 civilizations to choose from in the game, each based on an ancient civilization or a modern nation.  each has its own unique set of bonuses, so you can choose one that matches well with your style of play or vary the challenge a bit for variety's sake.

Cities in the game serve as the source of everything produced by your civilization. Your citizens will take resources from the surrounding land and with that you can create armies, expand your city, found new cities, or expand your civilization's knowledge or culture. The game is turn-based and during your turn you'll be able to move all of your armies and manage the build queues in your cities. If you've played a Civilization game before, you'll find that a lot of this work has been streamlined an many of the things that you needed to worry about or manage before is either taken care of for you or has been abstracted to the point where it essentially takes care of itself. While some of you veterans may cry foul at this, the abstractions are well-chosen for a game that will be played on a console instead of a PC. The focus of the game is now directly on the elements of Civilization that really made it different than other games and that made it such a compelling game in the first place. Revolution manages to maintain the series' "just one more turn" magic that turns short play sessions into unintentional marathons that keep you up way past your bedtime.

City management is an exercise in utilizing your limited resources to achieve your short and long term goals.  Concentrating on food production will grow your population, but focusing on resource production will allow you to create units and structures, all of which provide some sort of bonus such as improved defense or a boost to scientific research.