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Civilization Revolution Demo Impressions

June 6, 2008

The civilization series has always been a staple of the PC market. However now Firaxis is bringing this award winning series to home consoles.

Background

The demo, being a demo only allows players to play a fraction of the time of normal gameplay. Players are allowed to play until 1250 AD and are only allowed two civilizations to play with. These civs are Julius Caesar of the Roman Empire and Cleopatra of the Egyptian Empire.(I played as the Romans) The first thing you notice after playing the game is that it looks great. A clear upgrade from the civ 4 visuals the game is colorful, bright and nice to look at. But i should really backtrack a minute and explain the civilization series.

The civilization series are a collection of turn based strategy games that take players through history. You start as an early version of the civilization of your choice and make them a powerful empire. You can do this a few ways. You can win with a Diplomatic, Cultural, Technological or Domination Victory. What defines these victories has changed a bit in this installment but they are fundamentally the same.

Gameplay

The game seems to have streamlined a few things. For instance the worker unit has been removed. This allows the use of production for other units, freeing up some tediousness that was creating and sending workers around your empire. The game also auto creates units if units are being produced. When you start the game your capital will automatically be creating warriors. Until you go into the city(Using the L1 button) it will continue to auto build these units. Like with workers, these streamlines unit production allowing you to concentrate on other things and makes city management easier. However city management is not perfect. While in city management mode you have to use L1 over the city to enter it. Once in city management pressing the R1 or L1 buttons will let you scroll through your cities.

The menu system has changed since Civ 4, applying a more console like feel(for obviously reasons). When n city management you are given 5 main options. Build Unit, Building, Wonder, Road and Manage Workers. Wonders are no longer lumped in with normal buildings making it easier to see when a wonder is available. Manage workers allows you to prioritize what they do, focusing on making money, science, and things of that nature(the default is balanced). Pressing the select button will allow you to see which civilization is winning, change your government and things of that nature. This feature isn’t much use in the demo but it will be when playing the full game.

The combat in this version is a lot more animated than it used to be. Rather than stay in one spot and taking turns hitting each other, the characters move around and attack. This makes looking at battles more interesting. When leveling up your warriors and what not their look will change, a step up from the lack of his feature previously.

Research has also gotten better. Your civilization will research new technologies throughout the game gaining new building, units wonders etc. In past versions only certain researches came with a prize for obtaining them first, in revolution a much greater number of them do. For example obtaining masonry first grants your capital a free wall. To build on this reward mechanic finding special areas of great rivers of forests will allow you to name them and get gold. Like other games you can find friendly villagers who will give you money and such, as well as barbarian villages. The barbarians now have a leader of their own and after defeating a few of them you will get information on a special hidden ancient building. I suppose there are a number of these and finding it gives you special bonuses.

When communicating with the other leaders they pop up on the right side of the screen with the menus on the left. Like combat, they have become more animated over previous versions. Unlike previous versions just talking to them can wield rewards. For instance asking about other leaders can let them introduce you to them making yourself a new ally. Other times they give you information like the number of units based in their capital.

Graphics

Looking crisp, colorful and bright the game looks great.

Sound

Now its here that Civilization Revolution goes down a bit. The music and sound effects are top notch but the leader voices are horrible. Its not that the voice acting is bad, its that their aren’t talking anything that resembles language. The closet i can compare this to is the simlish language that The Sims uses. Its rather(scratch that) very annoying.

Conclusion:

Civilization Revolution is shaping up extremely well. The gameplay reinvents itself but keeps its addicting nature. This is a tremendous upgrade from the last installment Civilization 4. Outside of some audio issues with the lack of real language the game is shaping up to be fantastic. I recommend picking this game up when its released on July 8th.

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