What do you get when you combine the Roman Empire building of Caesar, the city planning of SimCity, and the wonders and tech trees of the ever popular Civilization? It would probably look something like CivCity: Rome, developed by Firefly Studios (Stronghold, Space Colony), where your task is to create and manage the economy of ancient Rome, collect taxes, and keep your citizens happy. The critics have been all over the map so far, but there is an alternative right around the corner for aspiring urban planners. VU Games plans to release the long-awaited Caesar IV in September, which should provide a basis for comparison -- and give Firefly some time to patch the buggy CivCity.
- IGN (82/100) appreciates the attention to detail: "CivCity: Rome is definitely full of Roman flavor. Not only are the structures and commodities designed to heighten your appreciation and understanding of Roman life, but even your citizens will give you insight into topics as diverse as makeup and warfare. If you crave more information, the Civilopedia and the manual offer some interesting commentaries on the buildings and activities of a Roman's daily life."
- GameSpot (66/100) has issues with CivCity's look and feel: "For starters, the game is ugly. Although it is nifty how roofs peel back to show you citizens going about their daily lives, and how clicking on homes and businesses create arrows connecting them to their wandering citizens, the jagged visuals are three years out of date."
- 1UP (50/100) isn't bullish on the game's combat system: "Once you've struggled with troop facing, watched them surround and ignore an invader, and shrieked as enemies walk right through closed city gates, you'll convert entirely to the boring (but less troublesome) map-level warfare. You can also opt to entirely skip this disappointing tradeoff by sticking to the peaceful game, though at a cost of about one-third of the game's content."