reviews\ Jul 2, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution - PS3 - Review

Sid Meier’s Civilization is considered to be one of the finest civilization sims in the history of video games. Perhaps the big question would be if the vaunted PC title could translate to the next-gen console and still remain as inviting and entertaining.

The answer comes in the form of Civilization Revolution, a title with intuitive controls that puts the emphasis on the gameplay and delivers a wholly satisfying experience … well, with a few minor exceptions.

Let’s get the flaws out of the way first. Because the game has five difficulty levels, you can play on the easiest level which gives you sort of a guide. You may choose that and then almost immediately regret the decision. Why? The professor you get speaks gibberish and the tonal quality is annoying – far worse than anything spouted in a game of The Sims.

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution PlayStation 3 screenshots

Other than that, though, 2K Games and Firaxis have crafted an experience that takes the premise of the game and translates it well to the PS3. For those who have never played a Civ game, the basic premise is that you take on a civilization back in the Stone Age and through shrewd building, you work it up through the Medieval Age to Industrial Age and finally to the Space Age.

If anything, the Civ game has simplified the whole process to a point where this game – rebuilt from the ground up for the next-gen consoles – is accessible to just about any age level.

There are several ways to play. Multiplayer has player matches, a ranked match, LAN party and Friends options. The single player is rather robust as well with a play now mode, a Game of the Week (download a Firaxis map), play a set-condition scenario or leap into the open-world campaign. In the latter, you pick a civilization (from one of the 16 available – more on that in a moment), and then unveil your surroundings from the fog of war (a grayed-out mist that permeates the area and once you venture into it, it clears and you can see what lays around you). The game is turn-based so every time you research something, it will have a turn amount tagged onto it. For example, if you play as the Aztecs and decide to research Stonehenge, that will take 14 turns but will benefit your society’s growth.

Deciding which civilization to start as also comes with bonuses. Each civ has a figurehead, such as Mao Tse-Tung, Catherine the Great, Alexander, Cleopatra or Abraham Lincoln. If you chose Lincoln, you would, at the Stone Age level, get a 2% interest on gold reserves. At the Medieval Age, you get rush units at one-half price; the Industrial Age gleans +1 food from the plains; in the Modern Age, factories triple production. For special units, you get the Sherman tank, the Flying Fortress and the Mustang fighter plane.

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution PlayStation 3 screenshots

Those who had played a Civ title on the PC can tell you how the campaigns could last for weeks on end as you built your society, dealt with other nations through either diplomatic or military means and generally second-guessed each decision made. With the PS3 version, those campaigns do not last as long. That is not to say you don’t get satisfaction from the game, but things seem to happen a little quicker. Micro-managing has also been removed. That is either an advancement of the AI or Firaxis’ way of merely making the game accessible to more players who don’t wish to spend hours fiddling with every aspect of the government.

Now the disk 2K sent along did not have instructions, but that was not a problem. The control scheme was simple to understand and that which was not intuitive was explained on the screen with prompts.

The maps are randomly generated, giving the game a lot of replay value. As for the graphics themselves, they were bright and colorful with solid animations. The aforementioned professor voices were annoying, but the rest of the soundtrack was Ok.

Civilization Revolution basically does well what many games have tried – to bring the civ-building genre successfully to a next-gen console. The game does not feel as deep as the PC cousin, but is just as satisfying and just as entertaining.

Review Scoring Details for Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution

Gameplay: 8.8
The controls are easy to understand and the game has a very nice flow to it. The winning objectives have been boiled down to the essentials – domination, technology, economic and cultural – and the entire game has been designed for not only the next-gen systems, but to be accessible to everyone.  

Graphics: 8.7
The animations are very nicely handled, and the progression of the civilization is well done. The game is lush and bright.

Sound: 7.4
A decent musical soundtrack, nice narrative, but the professor’s babble could have been toned down.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 9.0
A civ game on a next-gen system? You bet and Firaxis pulled it off very well.

Multiplayer: 8.8
Robust and entertaining.  

Overall: 8.7
The game is a familiar one and while the next-gen iteration does not seem to have the depth of the PC counterpart, what has been accomplished here is remarkable. It plays very well on the PS3 with intuitive controls, solid graphics, and streamlined game mechanics that ensure entertainment value. Kudos to Firaxis for a job very well done.


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