All in all… strategy isn’t my thing. You could say that it’s because I’m dumb and I’d have a hard time finding a comeback so I guess you’re right. Now seriously, the problem I have with this whole genre is that they often don’t have the best controls. I’m first and foremost a console gamer (I may explain why in a future article) but strategy games will always be better played with a keyboard and a mouse and not with a console pad.
Now, fortunately for me, the Civilization series has always been a turn-based strategy franchise. That means that, at least, having trouble selecting your units using the analog stick won’t cost you a victory.
“Civilization Revolution 2 plus” may seem like a unnecessarily long title for a game but it actually tells so much about what you should expect from this. It’s not Civilization followed by a numerical which would imply that this is a sequel in the mainline of Civ games. No, this is a sequel for the 2008 spin off (sorta) Civilization Revolution.
That game was Firaxis’s attempt to bring this classic PC franchise to the consoles. Shrinking some the scope of the game and also streamlining some of the more complex mechanics from the regular Civilization games to make the matches simpler but also faster to cater to the console crowd.
The game I’m reviewing today is a sequel very similar to that but, furthermore, it adds a plus at the end. What does that mean? Well, while the regular Civ Revolution 2 is a mobile game for IOS and Android, this one has been ported for the Vita adding some extra content in the form of new scenarios, units and extra leaders to control.
Just in case you haven’t played (or heard) about any of the previous Civ games I guess I should explain what you’ll be doing in it. At the start of a match you have to select the leader of a nation you’ll be playing as, think about JFK, Julius Caesar or Napoleon. Then you have to build that nation from the very dawn of humanity until well into the space age. You have to build cities, research technologies, trade and negotiate with neighboring nations and prepare armies just in case that diplomacy fails.
The goal of the game ultimately is be the most successful nation of all and that can be achieved through different milestones. You can achieve a victory through domination which would mean conquering the capital cities of the other nations. You could also achieve a cultural victory by building the United Nations wonder. Achieve an economic victory for owning the World Bank. My favourite one is the technological victory which is achieved by being the first nation to build a space ship to reach Alpha Centauri.
Like I said, this game is a turn-based strategy game. On each turn you’ll be able to command all of your units while city growth and developing technologies all require certain amounts of turns to advance.
Graphically this game isn’t what I’d call photorrealistic. Not even the mainline Civilization games were but this spin off is known to have a more cartoony look which certainly benefits this game. Unfortunately, even if the game graphics aren’t exactly awe inspiring, the performance of this Vita port is sadly far from stellar.
As for the audio department, the Revolution 2 + fares pretty good. The music is fitting, the sounds are iconic and the voiceover for the leaders give them some personality even if they don’t really speak much. Knowing that this department isn’t really that important on a “cartoony” strategy title, it gives an impression of a well rounded game.
Things I liked
- Strategy “light”: The mechanics are sure not as deep as the regular Civilization games you will find on the PC platform but I don’t see that as a negative at all as it translated the formula very well for “on the go” gameplay. In its core it’s still the same fun Civilization formula but matches will be shorter and quitting and resuming is made easier when you don’t have to catch up with a massive world map with a bazillion units you have to take care of.
- Fancy: The cartoony visual style is eye catching and the whole game feels pretty meaty and, at the same time, well rounded. It certainly doesn’t feel like a cheap mobile game.
Things I didn’t
- Performance: There are big performance problems in this port that are bordeline game breaking. The game runs perfectly fine on the early stages of the matches when there aren’t many cities nor units across the map. However, the game chugs pretty badly at the later stages when the map is crowded even going as far as making the game unplayable if you try using diplomacy at that point.
Things that eh…
- UI: The User Interface has been simplified to acomodate into the Vita’s input methods but it still is somewhat confusing as it doesn’t make use of many of the front buttons. Clearly a remnant of the original mobile release.
- Easy: Don’t bother playing this game at the easiest difficulty settings because you’ll have to willingly sabotage yourself to lose at if you’re playing on easy. Fortunately the game offers plenty of difficulty settings so this is more like a warning to players rather than a critique.
Who’d like this?
This game isn’t for the harcore strategy players that will probably be playing Civ VI until VII comes out. But this may very well be the entry point for someone trying to get into this series. The core is the same and it is indeed quite fun.
However, I can’t fully recommend the Vita port unless they patch it and make the performance acceptable.