Review: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution (Nintendo DS)

Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution
Genre: Strategy Simulation
Publisher: Firaxis Games
Developer: 2K Games
Release Date: 07/08/2008


“…for I am Montezuma, and I shall have my revenge!”

Well, I might have, if my battery hadn’t died. That’s how addictive this game is, I was too engrossed to even notice my “low battery” light was on. Oops!

When I first started playing this game, I was amazed at the many methods of game play. There are 5 difficulty levels: Chieftain, Warlord, King, Emperor, and Deity. Since I haven’t played this type of game since The Oregon Trail, I decided I’d better stick with being a Chieftain. There are also 3 levels of help that you can switch between throughout your game; maximum, minimal, and no help. You can also set this in the “Options” section of the main menu. You can guess which level I opted for.

You have the option of choosing between 16 different cultures to start your game play. Each culture has its own unique characteristics, and starts with one perk. For instance, you could play as Cleopatra of the Egyptians who start out with one Ancient Wonder, or you could play as Mao of the Chinese and start out with the technology of Writing. I have a particularly odd obsession with ancient Middle American cultures, so I chose to play as Montezuma of the Aztecs in my first round on the Random Map method of play. Random Map basically consists of wandering the map, interacting with other cultures, and making technological decisions that guide your culture to maturity through the ages. There are four ways in which you can win any round; Cultural, Economic, Military, and Technological. To make the win, you must either gather 20000 gold, 20 Great People and Ancient Wonders, master 47 Technologies, or gain military domination of 4 other cultures. Every decision you make regarding your cities, whether it be which technology to pursue next, or what to build, will lead you on a unique course through history.

Other than the Random Map scenario, you also have the choice of 10 specifically designed games. In Attack of the Huns, your scenario is a world where the Barbarians are sick of getting the shit kicked out of them and are now after revenge. The Barbarians are allegedly supposed to be more angry and numerous, but, I ended up taking control of all the Barbarian villages in the first 15 minutes of play. Granted, I was playing the easy level, but that was ridiculous. The only way to win in that scenario is by taking over other capitals. I wasn’t overly impressed with this one.

Completely opposite is the scenario Chariots of the Gods. Cultures start off with knowledge of many technologies, and research of further technologies runs at a faster rate. There are no barbarians in this version of play; apparently they’ve been abducted by aliens. Although this round has more slowly moving turns, the cultures seem to grow at an intensely rapid pace. Not much of a challenge here, but it did get my hopes up for a quick victory.

You can also choose to play online, against your friends, or random players from around the globe. In this version, you can choose the AI handicap from 10-40% and turn speeds from slow to fast; these are the criteria the game uses to choose your opponents. There is also a Game of the Week option that downloads a completely random scenario to your DS. This allows you to play against others and increase your scores.

The game is set up much like a board game, with individual units for turn by turn based movement. You can control your units either by using the touchpad to move or to make decisions about your cities; or you can use the D-pad if you’re feeling a bit lazy and dragging the stylus across the touch screen seems just a little too difficult. Graphics aren’t too challenging, seeming rather primitive, but backing up the game-board style of play.

This version of the game is very similar to the original PC versions of play, and the sound effects are minimal. There are some basic ambient sounds to lull you between turns, and a little it of sloshing when you move a naval unit. Beyond that, you can hear your players cheer when winning a battle, and various pings when one of your advisors wants to talk to you. The advisors show up less and less the harder difficulty you choose to play. I found myself getting rather annoyed while playing the Apocalypse! Scenario, as it seemed that every other second another cultural leader was pinging me to tell me I didn’t have enough money to assuage them, and to prepare for war. Rather annoying really.

Generally, I’ve found that I could complete a scenario in just a matter of hours, but with the multiple choices of game play and difficulty levels, I believe it would be virtually impossible to play the same game twice. Therein lies the appeal, a game you can play on and on and on, maybe until we actually do reach Alpha Centauri.

SCORES
Modes: Unparalleled
Graphics: Poor
Sound: Bad
Control/Gameplay: Good
Replayability: Unparalleled
Balance: Great
Originality: Decent
Addictiveness: Classic
Appeal Factor: Very Good
Miscellaneous: Great
FINAL SCORE: Good Game

Short Attention Span Summary

This is classic Sid Meier style Civilization, fans of the originals will undoubtedly enjoy the portability of play that is allowed by the NDS version. Game play options are nearly limitless, allowing for many, many weeks/months of play. The Wi-Fi capabilities allow for voice interaction as well as simple game play with players from virtually anywhere.

This is definitely a game you’ll want your friends to buy, if only so that you can continually cream them with your military might.

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