A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is a streamlined, console version of Sid Meier's Civilization strategy games, which have, until now, only been available for PCs. Though the game doesn't accurately replicate the rise of real world civilizations, it does use the names of real leaders and cities, and it allows players to build authentic recreations of several stunning feats of human engineering, such as the Pyramids and the Statue of Liberty, making it a vaguely educational experience. Play has been simplified for couch-bound gamers and controls retooled for traditional gamepads, but it is still complex enough that young players will likely find the learning curve fairly steep. Violence is minimal, and there is no sexuality or coarse language.
What's it about?
Sid Meier's Civilization franchise has delivered some of the most popular and beloved PC games of all time, but their overall complexity and seeming dependence on keyboard and mouse controls have kept them from moving from the study to the living room -- until now. SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION REVOLUTION is a completely revamped version of the PC Civilization experience, designed to take advantage of traditional console gamepads and deliver a simplified, faster-paced brand of turn-based strategy/society simulation that's better suited for couch-bound play.
Much of the magnificence of the Civilization games has resided in their enormous scope and the breadth of options they provide players, which, combined, all but guarantees that no two games ever feel the same. Thankfully, Civilization Revolution retains both of these features. Which leader will you be? Cleopatra? Gandhi? Lincoln? Each comes with his or her own set of advantages that result in military, cultural, and economic bonuses. How do you plan to win the game? Through scientific enlightenment, cultural growth, brute militarism, or greedy capitalism? All are possible, and players make strides toward each every time they decide to invest in the development of new technologies, consruct new cities, build new world wonders, or train new military units. Simply put, the key elements that define the essence of a previous Civilization game are here, and they've been expertly implemented.
Is it any good?
Nonetheless, not everything found in the PC games is present. In bringing Civilization to consoles the game's makers have wisely decided to simplify several of the franchise's more byzantine ingredients. Workers, for example, now do their own thing -- we can't set them to develop specific plots of land or work on particular bits of infrastructure, such as roads. What's more, some of the options available in the creation of new games -- such as the size and form of the world we fight to dominate -- simply don't exist. And PC fans will undoubtedly lament the lack of modded content and expansions -- scenarios created both by the game's original makers and other players -- that are available for other versions of the game. Still, given the platform it was made for, it's hard to ask for more than what we've been given in Civilization Revolution. Turn-based strategy gaming on a console has rarely been so good.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the various leaders featured in the game and discuss the roles they played in our history. Do the strengths and weaknesses bestowed them in the game accurately reflect their real-world attributes? Do you think any have been given unfairly advantageous abilities? You can also discuss technology. Does the game's technological progression make sense? Time passes more swiftly at the beginning of a game than at the end to reflect how much more quickly technological innovations have occurred in recent centuries and decades. How has this affected our civilization in terms of population and the environment? Are these factors accounted for in the game?
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