Addictive fun perfectly straddling the line between the depth of the originals and a quick fix pick up and play.
The Civilization games are a strategy series in which you pick a (surprise, surprise) civilization and guide their hand through time building cities, discovering technology, forging alliances with other empires and generally fight to the top from your primitive beginnings. While being primarily on the PC as platform of choice, Civilization has previously had a foray onto consoles before in the form of a port of Civ 2 on the PSX. It had frame rate issues, terrible controls and generally didn't convey the same experience as its PC counterpart. Fortunately Civilization Revolution doesn't have this problem as it was built for the consoles from the ground up, and it shows.
The game has been made much more user friendly, trying to strike a balance between the hardcore customisation and depth Civ fans are used to with a much smoother pick up and play style to adapt more for console gamers. So if you are already a fan of Civ (like me) and don't mind some subtle changes to the Civilization game play in favour of a more accessible game then this is just for you.
Civilization is essentially a turn based strategy title in which your selected race starts with one small village at the start of time that you have to help grow and expand into the strongest world power. There are four different ways to win from being the first to reach alpha centauri to global domination, but the way you develop your civilization is up to you. Each culture has different bonuses that will affect them during which era they are in, however these happen automatically so there is little micromanagement in this regard, but there is still plenty to do in the city screens. Each city you build has the option to build different buildings depending on your technology level that give bonus stats. For example if you build a Library in Tokyo, the science output of that city will double giving you access to develop your civilizations technology rate at a faster level. Each city can only build one unit, world wonder or building at a time and this is dependent on the world map around the city as to how high the production level is; mountains and forests are good for a higher build rate but not good for producing food, so city placement is hugely important.
As your empire grows and your Civilization expands other races will make contact with you in which you can make peace, trade gold or technology as well as make war. Each unit has an attack and defence stat and can be produced in cities, the idea being to keep units fortified in yours to protect them and to attack and take for your own other civilizations cities. New to Civ Revolution though is the ability to create armies. Got 3 of the same type of unit? Put them on the same square on the world map and merge them together to increase their strength threefold! This ability makes a surprising amount of difference to battles. Every time a unit wins 3 battles it gets a minor promotion in either better stats or a new combat ability to help you turn the tide in your favour.
Graphically Civ Revolution has taken a slightly different step from previous titles making the world map and units slightly more cartoon in appearance though they are all crisp and easy to make out with some amusing combat animations. The world map is vibrant and colourful with every new building or world wonder obvious just by scanning past it, however there is occasional slowdown as your empire expands but it is never often or long. The sound isn't quite as high a quality though with no voice acting outside some muttering your advisors make when on screen or when picking your race. Music is also somewhat lacking, though the sound effects are excellent and appropriate to the action.
Strategy games on consoles have generally been received with mixed views; this is largely due to unmanageable controls. Civ Rev has taken this problem and squashed it under a heel of dominance as once you are used to them they are like the game itself, concise, simple but a pleasure to use.
One single player game takes perhaps 4 hours to finish yet this is a game that demands replay value, there are 4 different ways to win, 16 races to play as, special scenarios to play as well as online multiplayer but most of all it's simply addictive fun for quick fix fans or newcomers to the series which is what games are all about.