Simplified Civ for consoles, but still addictive.

User Rating: 8 | Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution X360
To be honest, I've always considered myself a SimCity guy, but Civilization has been on my radar for years. I have played previous Civ games on both PC and console, as well as the Linux clone Freeciv, though I haven't really kept up with newer ones. This game had a different look from other Civ games I've played, but the core remains similar, albeit simplified. It's accessibility on my XBox, and general fun factor has made it my most-played Civ game to date.

Gameplay (9):

The concept behind Civ games is pretty straightforward - build and/or conquer some cities, acquire resources, and develop technologically, economically and militarily before your neighboring opponents. This game does not break from the formula, but does make things a bit easier. Food is no longer required to keep a population or keep a city from collapsing into ruin. This will probably irk you if you are a longtime Civ player. It irked me because there were times I have wanted to get rid of a city. Once you build it, it's there unless a Barbarian horde swoops down upon an undefended city.

Parts of the interface are not well done. The key thing that bothered me about the UI is the way the game treats you like a baby by jumping you to a city where you don't have something being built. For one thing there is the cities report that lets you jump to any city, and displays the build progress for each in a nice little table. Why bother me with this? This seems like something they would have in the options to turn off. Believe me it gets tiring when you have 20 cities and most have no buildings left to build. I find myself building bombers and battleships in each city because those units take the longest to build. Even so, when you have a production-per-turn of 100 hammers or so, even 80-hammer battleships don't help. It also makes you progress through all of your cities before you can save. Yes, I'm going on about this, but I don't think I can over-stress how much this spoils gameplay more than helping it.

With that said, this game is much more fun in the early stages of development. You only have a few cities and the "beat the clock" factor can make even a chieftain campaign fun. Later stages get more boring as there is less to research and all your opponents have advanced weaponry. Bonuses like "future technology" only add food, production and trade, which is pretty useless with maxed-out city populations, all buildings built, and science at the point where the only thing left to research is...more future tech! I know this carries over from older Civ games, but the process seems pointless. Pretty soon you'll just want to build your UN, World Bank or space station and get it over with. In modern era gameplay, you feel things winding down and getting slower. More wars, more micromanagement, and less sense of exploration. It is true to life in that regard, but a game that is simulating an aspect of reality is doomed to be boring if the reality it is simulating gets boring and tedious over time.

I do like the avatars for the civilizations, but wish there were more choices. Also the ability to make a custom avatar and nation would be great. That way I could pick my own strengths and era bonuses.

Sound (8):

Nice main score, plus some good tunes during special events. Mostly classical and orchestral music, but some rock guitars are thrown in too, especially during war events. Advisors have mumbo jumbo voice overs, and the empire leaders speak nonsense in their native tongue (I can discern some actual German and Spanish words from Bismarck and Isabella, but English is more Sim-ese jibberish).

Graphics (8):
Well this is a Civ game, so graphics are treated more like game pieces on a board game and not a realistically scaled representation of what's going on. With that in mind, the style seems a little more kiddy and cartoonish than PC and older console Civ games. The graphics are colorful, and war animations are pretty silly looking. It adds some humor to the game, but takes away from realism.

Overall (8.3):
The game is definitely a must-have for people who want more simulation and strategy games on consoles. The fun factor maxes out around the industrial era, but that's a long way into any campaign. It seems like a dumbed-down version of the PC formula, but still true to the Civilization name.