Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution Hands-On - Early Game Exploring and Multiplayer

We get our hands on this turn-based game for consoles and handhelds based on the classic strategy series.

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When you think about turn-based strategy games on consoles, most people tend to think of isometric strategy-role-playing games like Final Fantasy Tactics. When you think about them on handheld consoles, most people tend to think of tile-based games like Advance Wars. But what about the classic turn-based games that stole away countless hours from PC players? Aren't those PC turn-based games too complicated and boring? Not if designer Sid Meier has anything to say about it. Meier and his team at Firaxis are hard at work on Civilization Revolution, a faster-paced turn-based console version of the classic Civilization series for computers. It is more or less completely identical in terms of content on both consoles and on the Nintendo DS. We recently had a chance to dive into some multiplayer sessions of the Xbox 360 version of the history-themed game, as well as to try out the DS version, and we have much to report.

Civilization is finally on its way to consoles.

The multiplayer in the console games, as Civ players might expect, resembles the single-player game. In both cases, you start off on a new map and choose to play as the world leader of a specific nation, such as Gandhi of India or Julius Caesar of Rome, then start your operations with a single city with the goal of doing nothing less than taking over the world. However, there are several different ways you can accomplish this goal, including, but not limited to, conquering the world by force by capturing all your opponents' capital cities (which contain palaces); achieving a scientific victory by topping out your scientific research, which happens automatically with each passing turn; or achieving a new economic victory tied to amassing large amounts of wealth. In Revolution, unlike in the PC versions of Civ, you have much more freedom to choose different victory conditions and much more leeway to change the direction of your nation midstream.

The game is being built around numerous bonuses that are either automatic or unlockable. For instance, every nation and world leader has a great variety of powerful bonuses. These are available both at the start of the game and unlocked each time your nation advances scientifically to a new "age" (such as going from the Stone Age to the Classical Age). Each of the national bonuses--such as the Germans' ancient-era bonus of automatically having all soldier units start at the extra-tough veteran level to begin with--are much more powerful than the traditionally minor Civ bonuses of "+1 to food production" to the extent that, in Sid's own words, you're supposed to feel as though "you can't lose" picking any civilization.

In addition, you'll unlock many other bonuses throughout the course of the game from traditional sources, such as the bonus units or technology or resource caches from "goodie huts" that you can wrest from hostile barbarian tribes or the powerful bonuses you can generate for your nation by constructing an expensive "wonder of the world" (like the Great Wall or the Pyramids). Revolution will also offer all-new bonuses for being the first nation to research a specific technology or even reassemble secret artifacts that are hidden in various territories across the map. These additional bonuses will not only give your general operations a boost, but may also open up new paths that may make you want to change directions. Rushing to research a certain military technology may net you a pile of money that may make you want to seriously consider changing course toward an economic victory, for instance.

The game will offer many different unlockable bonuses that'll make you think twice about your strategy.

In our experience with the multiplayer on the consoles, the game starts out at a rather brisk pace. Exactly where each player starts the game is random, though there is apparently only one map size for multiplayer; a rather smallish map that randomly generates bodies of water, terrain, and resources. This map may toss you into the world right next to another player (or far, far away from anyone else to let you develop your civilization's culture, technology, or finances, if you care to). We began our session playing as Germany to churn out as many freely upgraded veteran military units as possible from the get-go, founding our first city in a coastal area near plenty of food and production resources. Like with the PC game, the lay of the land surrounding your cities will determine how quickly they can produce units or buildings, as well as how quickly your population will grow (and therefore be capable of faster production or leaving town with a settler unit to build a new city elsewhere). Fortunately, much of the minutiae of the traditional Civ game have been streamlined out of both the console and handheld versions. Worker units appear onscreen automatically, and roads (which make going from one city to the next much faster) can be built as an automatic civic improvement once selected.

We had no trouble at all quickly advancing through several military-themed technologies, such as bronze working, to produce warriors, archers, and legions to wipe out all nearby barbarian tribes. Interestingly, Revolution will let you band together any three military units to create an "army"--a single unit with the combined strength of all three core units. All military units, whether individual or armies, can gain experience points that eventually advance them through experience levels that not only toughen up your forces, but also unlock additional bonuses that you can choose from, such as the ability to automatically heal from damage over time or the option to take an extra move even after attacking (which normally ends your turn for that unit). Multiplayer sessions have an option to select the speed of the turn timer (so that you can either take your time each turn or limit all players to an onscreen timer that counts down). At the medium speed, we did just fine keeping up with each turn. We even snuck a small army into a rival city across the water in a galley unit and captured it for ourselves.

However, things weren't all rosy for us; several barbarian tribes kept us busy with defenses (and even kidnapped one of our undefended settler units, though we were able to recover the settler after laying waste to the barbarians' camp). Meanwhile, the computer-controlled nation of Arabia made a beeline for us with its horse archers and began laying waste to our northern borders. Arabia was able to attack us because multiplayer games allow for both human and computer-controlled players. If we had had the time to play further, we surely would've gone back and crushed them--or so we'd like to think. Nevertheless, the console versions of Revolution seem to have plenty to offer--lots of new twists with every turn taken and lots of new reasons to take just one more turn.

You'll find plenty of reasons to take just one more turn.

We also had a chance to try out the DS version of the game, which, according to a 2K Games representative, is being developed simultaneously with the console games and, with a very few exceptions (such as the all-encompassing "Civlopedia" reference), features all the same content--just with a different graphical wrapper. All the nations, leaders, bonuses, and gameplay of the console versions of Civilization Revolution are otherwise present on the DS from what we can tell. Building new cities, creating units, fighting battles against barbarians and enemy nations, researching new technology--everything seems intact on the DS as well. Fans of traditional handheld console strategy games should be in for an intriguing new experience, while fans of traditional Civilization gameplay will likely be ecstatic that they'll finally have a version of their favorite game that fits in their pockets. Civilization Revolution is scheduled for release on the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, and the DS this June.

Discussion

51 comments
Retherex
Retherex

graphics are a little odd but still a good game

jason19
jason19

i like the games but is no campin lvl made that games easy to lvl up on not onlines i have bay ps3 one hareds to lag on sometime good games i wlist put more into spand so boot up plnads suff be cool i can walit more that nice ship in spand and one cant be done like 1 day in games so easy low grast games i hops build more like that in hops put more expinad pack be sweet i cant walit for it so ty i love the games age empins fun games put more work lvl resin be come 40000 in futer i do

rift33
rift33

I so wanted the 360 version cuz of the online being better but my elite just broke and I don't want to wait a few weeks to play. (Thats 6 360 so far that have bit the dust on me now):(. So I gess that Im getting the ps3 version. I hope that I can find some peps to play with on psn! If your down hit me up on psn my psn name is THEDVS1 (all caps.

dalamar03
dalamar03

I love this game based on the demo alone, I'm sure the full game is gonna be fantastic. The only problem that's gonna keep me from buying it is the $60 price tag. There's not enough meat to this game to make it worth that much. Maybe $40, but $60 is too much. I hope everyone that nabs it has fun though. ^^

G-mann07
G-mann07

I am soo hyped about this game i cant even wait, def a game worth getting for any gamer alike, easy for newcomers but still a perfect difficultly for the hardcore fans..... AMAZING GAME!

RibMan
RibMan

I've already got a few domination victories on the demo... Can't wait for the full game.

Zyllus_
Zyllus_

I have played the demo so many times. I really cant wait to play the full game without being stopped during the middle of something very interesting.

JBloodhorn
JBloodhorn

I usually play shooters and fast paced games like gears of war, call of duty 4, and halo 3. I decided to try the demo for this game out and I'm hooked. Bottomline..Its frikkin amazing. Can't wait till June 8th!!

Fabler4
Fabler4

ive played the demo like 1000 times and its just to long a wait for the whole game... Civ 1,2,3,4 were all fantastic and got much better as they came out... Cant wait to see how they improved on civ 4

draydog
draydog

I played the demo and I am now addicted... I've played Civ before but it was a long time ago. Great game... I'm really looking forward to it being released.

advocacy
advocacy

This is the best turn-based strategy game for consoles ever. Must have for gamers everywhere.

ace_faceses
ace_faceses

I love this Civilization Revolution, is looks great and the HD resolution is very clear 1080p /1080i. and if any fans love playing Age Of Empire (AOE), will fine this game very interesting, The only thing is that player will love Sony to produce XMB in game to enjoy play type of game like this more with in game music of users choice. Great game!!! Both the DEMO & FULL GAME ROCK'S...!

resident-shell
resident-shell

The demo is great, and though I've never been a hardcore Civ fan I got really into it. The only thing is I can't really see spending 60 dollars on this. I'll wait for the reviews.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

So i played the Demo, sold. Another genius Civ game, with just enough new things to game it interesting and well made that new players and die hard fans will all enjoy this game. Can't wait, going to pre-order a copy today!

jason19
jason19

i went to paly more well im pre it now juiy ahh come get here

selliott19
selliott19

I played the demo and I need more... now.

ediot567
ediot567

this game looks awesome ive tried to play other civs but this one i think i can learn to play it

KO4U
KO4U

I'm so bloody sick of FPS's! I almost regret buying a 360...until I heard about Civ Rev! This will be the first $60 game I'll have bought since Call of Duty 4. Hooray for getting your monies worth!

Zion82
Zion82

Gonna get this game the 360, can't wait June 6th in Europe.

SafetyBoy12
SafetyBoy12

i love this game . I played civ IV for like 3 years and i cant wait to play it for my ps3

lazyhoboguy
lazyhoboguy

cant wait for this, i loved civ 2 and 3

sonynhater
sonynhater

I have never played a civilization game because they look to complicated. and this version looks easy enough for someone like me to play. i think it looks great with cartoony graphics.

Fable_fan88
Fable_fan88

i have played civ3 & 4, and this looks great! i can't wait to rule the world!! haha i qm buying this game. it looks like some fun. its about time they came out with a console game like this!!!!

nd4spdr
nd4spdr

I hope they let you use a mouse and keyboard on the PS3, otherwise controls could be frustrating...

Un4givingAsault
Un4givingAsault

The previous Civ's for the computer have been awesome, hopefully they improve on the military mechanics, for example, how in Civ4 a modern fighter can loose to a fighter(WWII) style fighter. they should make it some somethings become obsolete.

Scotty678923
Scotty678923

All I have to say is that can they please make this have more historical depth. And one more thing can they make it less cartoony

haesuse
haesuse

looks beatiful. i dont movement is gonna be an issue! this in not an RTS so even if there is a little clunk with using the sticks it will not be an issue. Now my thing is the content. With the BRD on PS3 i really hope they will go to town on options, units, things to do and so on. Sid has been the man for years and i am looking forward to this on PS3, i mean i am mega psyched!

carlclassen
carlclassen

Sid has yet to let me down. From Civ1 to Gettysburg i've loved them all. I'm sure this will be a blast as well.

RLJSlick
RLJSlick

Dumb-down version? I sure hope not. Civilization 4 is a amazing game, and I expect that out of this also.

mikel222222
mikel222222

Hopefully it has a lot of content...

The_High_Lux
The_High_Lux

i actually agree with zhivago, it looks dumbed down, like it has been made for a younger market, i enjoyed c iv, but i wouldnt dream of buying this.

zhivago_x
zhivago_x

"faster-paced turn-based console version"? What wrong with industry these days? To me it looks like a dumbed down CIV for 5-13 years old console players. If you want a real game get a mouse, practice some patience, get a mouse and play any real Civilization.

kye3k1
kye3k1

Is everyong forgetting how great SMAC was? Civ II this Civ IV that what about SMAC! it has the most engaging gameplay I have ever some across. Sure this game was released after Civ II but it was so much better. Just shows how great a game could be imporoved without the fancy graphics. Looks to me like this is just a giant facelift.

Cloud_in_midgar
Cloud_in_midgar

The last one i played was civ 2 because it came out for psone (im a console gamer) but il get this definitely because its coming to 360 =)

Vrygar777
Vrygar777

First off, saying civilization is for kids is one of the dumbest things i've heard. Second I just want to say this, I love civilization but hate the combat animations! I only played civ 4 and I wasnt very impressed with the way the combat looked. I hope this civ makes the combat look awesome, not in a gory way though. I just want to see units duke it out in a more "dramatic" way. Combat is a major part in civilization and I just want it to be visually appealing to what console fans will expect : ).

acej2000
acej2000

Its good that console gamers will get to experience one of the best turn based series of all time.

Hedgyness
Hedgyness

This is a surprising addition to my wish list but after reading the preview i cant help but want it, it looks amazing. Cant wait until it is released.

tyzwain
tyzwain

All I can say is wow. it looks good, and hopefully itl work.

Geese
Geese

warmenn - Good news! This is a Civ-Style game specifically for consoles and handhelds! Believe it or not, you don't have to play it. You are still more than welcome to play Civ games on PC! I'm sorry you think this looks like it's for kids, but those of us who actually read the preview understand thats just not the case.

warmenn
warmenn

I am quite sad because this new civilization screens looks so far from Civilization III,IV , i think Civilization III is the best Sid Meier's game, but i also liked something in civilization IV but any way Civilization III is unconquerable game, and if i need to compare Civ III screens and Civ Revolution hands screens then honestly new civilization looks like game for small kids, and i am quite disappointed :/

frichie79
frichie79

I want this for the wii dammit!

BrettEastman
BrettEastman

I'm going with it being a German general since it said they were playing as the Germans in the article...

goobyman
goobyman

I think it's an Egyptian general... by the looks of the armies. That would have been funny though...

imperial_agent
imperial_agent

funny how the last picture is an American general exclaiming how they took the Arab capitol.

Scottwb555
Scottwb555

gord_mose, the iPod touch is not a gaming platform. It may be able to play games, but it has nowhere near the gaming capacity of the DS and an advanced and complicated game such as civilization. Any port of civ for a non gaming platform would be a disgrace to the franchise.

jestersmask
jestersmask

....what if you liked all the 'details' of the computer version. I don't think I am going to get this 'diet coke' civ game.

gord_mose
gord_mose

Now port the DS version to the iPhone/iPod Touch and I will be a very happy camper. I will definitely buy the 360 version but would also love one for the iPod touch.