Civilization Revolution makes your eyes bleed

August 29, 2008 · 3 minutes read

I played Civilization back in the day (on my Mac IIci, when I was still a Macintosh fanboy). Great game, but none of the sequels ever did much for me. Too complicated, and I never got the hang of properly micromanaging my cities to generate the right stuff for my empire.

More recently I looked at FreeCiv, which is an open source clone of Civilization. It has the same complication level as the later Civ sequels, but with not much hand holding on how to survive. My ass kicked forcefully, I gave up.

Since I had to buy a PS3 to play Grand Theft Auto IV, I recently downloaded a copy of the Civilization Revolution demo. It really hit a good note for me. It has all of the things I liked about Civilization (great battles, building up an empire, researching new tech) and a nice learning curve on the easy levels.

Plus it has just enough depth for your city interface without usually necessitating too much micro-management. The defaults for city production do pretty well, so not until you have specific needs do you need to delve into playing with your workers too much.

The interface is clean, easy to use on a console, and really displays well what you need to know. It’s concise but pretty, and the battles are fun to watch (though seemingly unskippable).

One new feature not in any of the older Civs is the ability to combine three like units into an army, which then moves as one but has 3x the stats. Also, units have different offensive and defensive stats, so you need to combine them intelligently. Whichever unit has the best defense when that square is attacked will defend first. So you want to group your catapults along with your archers so the archers can be a shield while your catapults deal out death.

I bought the full game a few days ago and have been playing it as much as possible since. Very addicting, and it has revealed perhaps my only major complaint about the game… it HURTS MY EYES.

I’ve more than a little experience with first person shooters. I ran a CS, then a CS:S, and now a TF2 server. When playing those games, you do have periods where you forget to blink… you’re so intent on the action that you can’t look away. But when you die, your eyes get a break until respawn time comes.

In Civ Rev, when it’s my turn, I’m obviously concentrating on what’s going on… but when my turn is done, I don’t look away, because I’m so concerned about what my opponents are up to! You never get a break from the visual stimuli.

My eyes have been dry and red and irritated for the last 5 days as a result. Must learn to blink more while playing. Civ Rev makes your eyes bleed. You’ve been warned.