Civilization E3 2005 First Look

The N-Gage is building a rich Civilization. We investigate at E3.

Civilization, Sid Meier's classic world history simulation, is heading to the N-Gage, and we were able to take a quick peek at the game at Nokia's E3 booth. Thus far, it seems as though Civilization will be a good fit for the N-Gage, which is in desperate need of fun strategy-type games.

This version of Civilization actually borrows gameplay aspects from all of the PC games, although it is primarily based on Civilization 2. As always, play centers around the adroit management of geopolitics--warfare, diplomacy, statecraft, science, and agriculture all play large rolls in the success or failure of your civilization. According to the game's producer, the development team is trying to be "loyal to Sid Meier's idea" to the greatest extent possible. Apparently, this includes forgoing any sort of multiplayer or connected mode, which seems like a mistake for any game on the N-Gage platform.

On the other hand, the N-Gage Civilization will be feature-complete in most other respects. You'll have access to all of the series' weapons, world wonders, sciences, and terraforming options, for example. Unfortunately, the producer also told us that the game's Throne Room, where you get to bask in your accomplishments, won't be making it into the final build of the game. The same goes for single-player scenarios, which allow you to try to win World War II for Germany and the like.

We're really hoping that at least a couple of these missing features will make it into the retail version of Civilization, because the game is looking very authentic otherwise, with its picture-perfect infrastructure and graphical style. The game won't go on sale until next year, so these additions remain a viable possibility. We'll check in with an update once Civilization is further along, so stay tuned.

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