Actual combat is merely a matter of sending your unit onto an enemy unit's square and seeing how things play out. Victorious units will gain experience and can earn special abilities, such as improved city defense. Combat has been streamlined, too, and the number of units available throughout the ages has been pared down. Ships can no longer bombard land squares, but positioning them on the coast adjacent to your warring armies will give your land troops a boost in combat. Without square improvements to destroy, siege warfare is limited to parking your forces on squares to prevent a city from working them. Furthermore, even the smallest ship can transport a huge number of units, so sending armies by sea is feasible in any age. Thankfully, these changes don't feel like omissions because the strategies that the lost elements supported are still present and can make or break your martial campaigns.
Lopsided, anachronistic battles will frequently happen in the modern era.
There's a lot of information to take into account when playing Civilization Revolution, and fortunately there are a number of built-in tools to help you. You have a cadre of advisors who pop up to consult you in the city and tech screens, and they, like the leaders of other civilizations, are large, animated characters who react to your decisions and push each other out of the way amusingly as you switch your focus. They do make some repetitive noises and their gibberish speak can get annoying, but they are quite helpful in the early going and once you're in the rhythm of the game, you'll likely tune them out. Other audio effects and background music are more appropriate, and the dramatic flourishes of victory or wonder creation are quite invigorating.
One of the highlights of the game is the robust civilopedia, which is accessible from almost any screen with the press of a button. All of the pertinent game information is here, as well as a wealth of multimedia knowledge for those curious to know the biographies of the great people who appear in their cities, or to see a video clip of a galley at sea. It's a fantastic addition that you'll find yourself consulting often as you refine your game strategy. Though it does take a few seconds to load, it's well worth it to make sure that you choose the right wonder to build or tech to research.
Tying it all together is the vivid, clean presentation and simple control scheme. You can scroll around the map with either analog stick, though the right one is required to issue movement commands. Cycling through units with the directional pad is a breeze. The left trigger zooms out, though not as far as you might like, and the right trigger gives you a quick look at your tech, culture, and treasury growth. City and diplomacy menus are a mere click away. This accessibility is complemented by the vibrant unit designs and animations, as well as the eye-catching city representations. The ocean looks lovely as waves lap at the shore and fish frolic in the clear water, and mountains, forests, and rivers are equally beautiful. Scroll around a busy map and you'll experience some choppiness, but not so much that it's detrimental to the gameplay.
Single-player games are rich and varied, but you can mix things up further by playing the included scenarios or taking on the Game of the Week and seeing how you rank against other Civ players. You can also test your skills head-to-head online. Each match has five civilizations but a max of four human players. You can face off one-on-one, join up with a teammate against human or AI players, or cut loose in a free-for-all. A headset lets you conspire with your fellow players, but be careful to use the private chat feature lest you alert your enemies to your plan. Be sure to block out a few hours for these matches, which can sometimes last quite a while. You can limit the turn time to speed things up, but with four human players and one AI civilization, there's a lot to do. Online matches do have a strange pace to them that's not quite a sequential flow, and they move more slowly than solo games. Nevertheless, if you've got the patience, there's nothing quite like matching wits with another human player.
The science advisor will offer helpful tips about your research options.
Played against human or AI opponents, Civilization Revolution is an excellent game that will let you plumb different strategic depths each time you play. It's incredibly easy to get engrossed in the rhythm of expansion and evolution, and you can happily lose hours and hours at a time. Sid Meier and Firaxis Games have done a fantastic job of streamlining many of the key game mechanics, and they've cut out some of the micromanagement without gutting the strategic options. If you enjoyed Civilization on the PC and are worried that this version might feel stripped down, fear not. Although it does seem simpler at first, you'll soon realize that it's the same signature gameplay you know and love. If you haven't played a Civilization game before, you should get your hands on this worthy new entry in the Civilization canon.