|System: DS, PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Firaxis||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 8, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1, 2-4 Online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
Sid Meiers Civilization series has spanned four installments as well as a handful of expansion packs on the PC. Its a fun, addictive series that for many people is synonymous with the term strategy game.
The franchise has finally made the jump to home consoles and it has hit the DS as well. Many people were worried about how the game would fare in its transition to a handheld title, but thankfully those fears are largely unfounded. Civilization Revolution on the DS offers a noticeably different experience than that offered on the PC, but its still a great game nonetheless. Civilization Revolution features gameplay thats quite typical of the series. Youll select your nation and then be placed on a map, where you must develop your empire technologically, militarily, and politically, as you attempt to wipe out your rivals. By properly managing your cities, keeping your townspeople happy, working on technology upgrades, and expanding your empire, youll ultimately rise to the top of the dog pile and go down in history as a famous civilization.
The method for accomplishing all this is very much the same from the PC versions of the series. Youll have a variety of units, but at the beginning settlers are your greatest assets. They can set up cities, which can in turn begin production on more units. Developing a successful army is certainly going to be a priority in the beginning of the game, but youll need to focus on more than that in order to win.
Without technological upgrades, your civilization is going to be forever stuck in the prehistoric age in which you start out. But by capitalizing on natural resources and assigning research to different cities, this crisis can be averted. The game also utilizes a technology tree -- deciding which technologies to develop will determine which new ones you can work on later down the road. But, this tree is wide-open enough that you cant screw your civilization just by making a decision that might not have been a very good one.
Interactions with other civilizations are handled quite well, and usually youve got a couple options. If a society is ticking you off, feel free to declare war. Likewise, A.I.-controlled civilizations can do the same to you. You can also attempt to use diplomacy and bargain for what you want; this is usually a good first option, because having multiple wars on your hands means less money to devote to technology and progression. Making treaties with other nations is also helpful and is a good way to discourage others from going to war with you.
Navigating your way through all this action is surprisingly easy, thanks to some really well-done controls. No control scheme is likely to beat out the point-and-click style of a PC, but the DS version does a good job of using the hardware well. The shoulder button allows you to access city management screens, while the D-pad is used for navigating your army through the map. The touch screen is also used occasionally, but its done in a very non-obtrusive way and doesnt feel tacked-on. In some situations the stylus is preferable, but when theres a lot of stuff going on in a concentrated area, the precision of the D-pad is a better idea.