I’ve been a very long term fan of the Civilization franchise ever since the first game caused many sleepless nights and degrading College grades back on the Amiga. For me the series peeked with Activisions brilliant Windows 98 Call To Power games.
Civ games have a bumpy history with consoles. Theres something of a perceived wisdom that 4X strategy games are for desktop PC’s to be played with keyboards and mice. Still Civ II was a fantastic game on the first Playstation, albeit played best with the Playstation Mouse.
Revolution is an attempt to bring the 4X gameplay and populorise it with TV gamers. With this in mind the game has been simplified and cartoonified. It’s as if console gamers couldn’t handle the complexities of deep strategy and feeding into the perceived wisdom. It’s a shame because it does detract from an otherwise brilliant game.
There are general complaints that don’t break the Civ experience but stop this from being the console version fans of the series might hope for. The world size is too small and cramped, the number of active Civs is too small – just 6 per game, there’s no varying or customising games for epic conquests on huge planets with 10’s of opponents.
Also missing are such staples as build queues which means more micro-managing. There’s no religion and this effects how you think of cultural victories. Ultimately every thing is close, but scaled back from what makes Civilization the franchise it is.
I’m also, as ever with these games, not certain about the AI. I look at my gold, build queues, and progress and wonder just how the AI manages to throw out the endless waves of units or progress so fast along the Technology tree.
It’s seems as you increase the difficulty the AI plays by a different set of rules to the player. Sure it makes play harder and winning requires more skill and better strategy, but it feels as this comes at the expense of fairness.