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Civilization: Revolution
Score: 96%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Take - Two Interactive
Developer: Firaxis
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1, 2 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Simulation/ Turn-Based Strategy/ God Games

Graphics & Sound:
Civilization: Revolution brings Civ to your PS3, with brilliant colors creating a lush and nicely detailed world for you to conquer - or leave behind, if you choose to pursue a technological victory.

One of the graphical touches that I especially liked were the animations of the various characters in the game, from your advisers to the other world leaders and the barbarians you encounter while playing. When encountered and interacted with, these characters come in from the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, each with their own entrance and mannerisms. Of particular note is the barbarian who "climbs" up into view from beneath the screen (still on the left side). These characters' animations give them a personality, helping to make them less two-dimensional (in the literary sense, not the literal one).

There is a lot of chatter that goes on during your interaction with the various characters in the game, but it's just that - chatter. The world leaders speak nonsensical mutterings that are designed to convey a general feeling and sound like that leader's native tongue, but the important, specific information of dialogues must be read on-screen.

In a word, addictive. Civilization: Revolution takes what was already a strong, renowned series and simmers it down to a game that is simple enough to work well on a console, yet deep enough to provide challenge to the most venerable RTS gamer and allow for a wide variety of strategies.

There are several ways to play Civilization: Revolution, from a variety of game modes to a wide variety of strategies to employ inside of your game. If you just want to jump in and play, there is a Play Now option that starts a game with the same difficulty level as the last played game. If you haven't played it before, it starts you on Chieftain difficulty level.

In addition to the normal game, there is a section of Scenarios which offer differing setups to keep things interesting and provide unique challenges. Each is different, but I found some more interesting than others. If you want to play a frantic, short game, try the Lightning Game. Win or lose, it should be over pretty quickly.

One interesting option available via the PSN network is the Game of the Week. This is similar to the Scenarios section, but provides a different scenario each week. This feature offers a way to provide continuing challenges to even the most skilled players.

There are few games that are easy to play yet hard to master, although that phrase is thrown around a lot. Civilization: Revolution does a reasonable job of hitting the easy-to-play mark, especially with its simplified controls and console playability, and, like other games in the Civilization series, it provides a deep, rich gaming experience that allows for a variety of strategies to be used to achieve your choice of four win conditions.

While Civilization: Revolution provides five different levels of difficulty, I found that the difficulty levels ramped up pretty quickly. Chieftain is pretty easy, while Warlord (the second easiest difficulty level) is much more challenging. As of this writing, I have managed to win once on King difficulty (the third difficulty level) and have not had any success against Emperor or Deity (the hardest difficulty level).

If you play the game in the Chieftain difficulty level, it starts you in Tutorial mode by default. If you're new to the game, this can be quite helpful. If you're familiar with the gameplay, you can turn this feature off easily from inside your game.

Another aspect that greatly affects the difficulty level of the game is the world leader you choose to play as. Each world leader has their own specific advantages, so study the differences carefully, and choose based on the type of victory you hope to achieve; if you want to attempt a economic victory, you may want to choose a world leader with advantages in building or gold, whereas if you want to try for a cultural victory, you may want to choose a leader with advantages that increase production or reduce construction costs. Bear in mind that you should try out new strategies to see how things work. If you want to try something out that's radically different from what you've done before, it may be a good idea to try it out on an easier difficulty setting.

Finally, if you want to work on specific things, you may find an appropriate challenge in the included Scenarios mode. Here you'll find different scenarios that change some factors, such as what you start the game with, whether there are barbarians and how fierce they are, what win conditions are available - that sort of thing. This may allow you to work on your mid-game or end-game or try certain strategies out more quickly than playing a full game from the birth of a civilization.

Game Mechanics:
For the most part, Civilization: Revolution is awesome, across the board. There are, however, a couple of small weird issues here and there. A few times, I have experienced a situation when things on the screen would jitter a bit, when the cursor is, evidently, in a spot somewhere between where the game would like it to be. Also, the fighters and bombers will often not show the number of remaining turns of fuel that they have, which can lead to accidentally over-extending them and having them run out of fuel and crash. These are minor glitches with little or no effect on gameplay (you can see how much fuel you have remaining by holding down L2 to temporarily zoom out) and are, mainly, minor nuisances.

The biggest of these minor gripes would have to be the frequent seeming randomness of sequence when cycling from one unit to the next using Left and Right on the D-pad. The way to work around this is to use the Right Analog stick to hover over the unit to manipulate; it will become selected and let you choose what action to take.

The only big gripe I have with Civilization: Revolution is that I, for one, can't manage to actually play against anyone online. I don't know what the problem is, as my network seems to be working perfectly, but I can't actually get into a multiplayer game with another live person through PSN. I get the "Looking for Games" message, then the "Evaluating Games" message, then finally a "Host Error" that says I have failed to host a game. My connections seems to work, so I guess it's either a software issue or not enough players to make a game.

If you're looking for the multiplayer aspect, I can't really recommend Civilization: Revolution at this time. If they release a patch or something and the multiplayer works, I will update this review. If, however, you're looking for a great Civ game on your PS3 and you can be satisfied with the varied, challenging A.I. opponents, then I highly recommend Civilization: Revolution... unless you want to actually get things done in your real life.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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