2008's Biggest Blips: Civilization Revolution

Alisha Karabinus
A. Karabinus|02.04.08

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2008's Biggest Blips: Civilization Revolution
Developer: Firaxis
Publisher: 2K Games
Release: April 1

There are a lot of things that could be said about Civilization: Revolution on the DS. Sid Meier's strategy powerhouse is a perfect fit for the stylus-based control scheme, and if the screens seem a little small for you, well, just remember: there's two of them. And a little scrunching makes up for having to navigate around with a d-pad or analog stick. If you've ever played a Civilization game on a console (and we're Civ junkies here, so we have), then you know that can be less than fun, but real Civ fans suffer the pain anyway, just to maximize their domination experience.

But what no one's mentioned about Civilization: Revolution is the number one reason it's fit for release on the DS, and frankly, we're shocked. Look, people. Civ, like Risk, is all about world domination. Yeah, there are other paths to victory, but in the end, it's all about punking down those other dudes. And that is exactly what the DS is all about. It's the little handheld that could. It's won its own version of the space race, and while it hasn't exactly crushed and wiped out all of the competition, its constant presence at the top of sales charts all over the world says all that needs to be said.

In fact, had the DS been around when Civilization was first created, we expect it might have been named DS: The Game. Instead of tanks and cavalry, we'd have had DS Phat models and little guys waving sabers from the back of a thumb stylus. Japan's special unit would have looked a great deal like Dr. Kawashima, and their leader would have been Satoru Iwata. For the U.S., we'd dump Lincoln or Roosevelt and instead bring in the Regginator, who in times of crisis would remind us that it's just not his problem. In battle-heavy games, however, he would certainly kick ass and take names.

Need entertainment for your citizens? Build download stations and Wi-Fi networks for your cities. Competing civilizations could be not only other gaming systems, but even other hobbies and activities. After all, the DS is conquering various age groups, it's spreading in schools, and it's taking over many everyday aspects of life. You could be the nation of DS versus School, Sony, and Being-A-Functioning-Human on a small map. It could be awesome. Also, just as realistic -- or more so -- than some of the scenarios that mimic historical events!

Okay, so all of that is really very silly, but we're very serious about the march of the DS juggernaut mimicking a good game of Civilization. It started out a little slow, rather like being out in the tundra and cursed with a huge expanse of desert nearby, and an aggressive civilization just next door, hovering around your dudes and giving 'em the evil eye. But when you're in the zone, it just doesn't matter -- you can persevere and move beyond awkward starts and spread across continents ... just as the DS has done.

Some people saw the early screens and turned their noses up at the title, citing it as a little too cluttered or not impressive graphically, but hardcore Civ fans should know better. Like the DS itself, it may seem a little strange at first, but we have faith that Firaxis will pull it out in the home stretch. Civilization Revolution could well be a portable strategy title to rival any other strategy game -- of any sort -- on the DS, and lately, that's been a huge and varied field. But we have faith, and we're keeping an eye on this one.

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