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Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution

The Civilization name carries a lot of weight in the PC gaming community, but not so much when it comes to action-minded console types. To that end, world-famous developer Sid Meier has built a console-specific version that streamlines the whole "epic society building" thing into a few short hours.

Longtime fans know how long the typical Civ game takes. Hours upon hours can be spent tailoring your fledgling civilization from Stone Age to Space Age, sometimes even crossing the 24-hour mark. Here, everything moves along at a much faster pace, as there's a new emphasis on exploring the globe as fast as possible. Turns out there are sought-after relics hidden in this Earth replica, and they can add serious experience points or cash to those who unearth them first. So, rather than sit in one place and pump points into your military technology or farming techniques, you're encouraged to sail out from your home turf and forge alliances, wage war and of course, find these relics before everyone else.



As slimmed down as it may seem, the turn-based gameplay certainly isn't for dullards. Your cities need a strong guiding hand to forge their personalities, so it's up to you to build barracks, libraries and other technological niceties until you finally construct world-enders like ICBMs or rockets to Alpha Centauri. Each moveable unit you create, like soldiers, tanks or catapults, can upgrade in 12 different ways, leading to multiple unit variations you can't see in just one trip through the timeline. Color patterns, fighting styles and stats all change depending on the course you send these and your own troops down, so no two people's armies should look alike.

For example, we watched some Roman-style warriors win so many fights they evolved into elite warriors with capes and shields, then into soldiers with high-powered rifles and finally to self-healing supersoldiers that dominate the battlefield. If you play your diplomatic cards right, however, you can overthrow enemy nations by simply showing them how well you live. Once they see how much better your rule is, they'll revolt and join your cause. Similarly, if your people really love what you've done with the place, enemy incursions will be hard-pressed to succeed, as even the general populace will lend a battle-ready hand.

So, the gameplay sounds good and what we saw certainly looked fun, but then the very premise of Revolution started to become slightly offensive. Granted, the Civ franchise might not work on a console untouched, but the over-the-top personalities and slightly exaggerated unit models almost make it seem like the game was designed for a less intelligent audience, not one that prefers controllers to keyboards. Does the barbarian leader really need to look like he's from a Pixar film? Does Cleopatra have to act like she's on loan from The Sims? These are all superficial and fleeting concerns, sure, but we couldn't help but take notice.

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