Angry Robot

Thinkin' on Civ Rev

I’m a hardcore Civ player. I’ve been playing it since the first version, and I’ve tried every iteration of it. While I love the game, and think it has perhaps the most educational potential of any existing franchise, of course there are problems. The game is crack, first off. I can play most games for two hours and walk away no problem. But I often avoid even starting a game of Civ because I’ll have trouble stopping. I can lose an entire weekend to the bastard. Part of the problem is there are no goal-oriented stopping points, like the end of a level in another game. It’s all one continuous process until the game is over, which can be 12 hours easily.

Secondly, despite changes in each successive version to address this, Civ still requires way too much micromanagement. As of Civ IV, you can automate city management and production and the activities of workers, but when it comes to war, you’re on your own. Once you’re fighting a war, your turns can take ages since you have to move every unit manually. Also, you’ll probably want to manually control unit production, too. This is especially annoying when you didn’t even start the war, it was those damned Egyptians acting irrationally again.

That’s another issue. Again, despite gradual improvements, rival civilization AI could use some work, if only to make the diplomacy minigame more true to life. And finally, the game has ideological problems, mostly due to the valuation of different government and economic models. But hell, I can suspend disbelief to play the game.

It sounds like some of these issues are being addressed. With Revolution, the goal is a 3 hour game length, which is awesome. Apparently workers and city improvements are now automated completely, which is good. I have not seen any reports of the diplomatic game changing significantly, however, and despite improvements to the ‘army’ meta-unit, it doesn’t sound like there’s enough military automation either. But we’ll see, in april hopefully!