WiiHD's Civilization Revolution (DS) Preview
11 Jul 2008 23:41
David MarseillesDavid Marseilles

WiiHD's Civilization Revolution (DS) Preview

WiiHD is proud to present our own Civilization Revolution Preview for the Nintendo DS. There has been more limited coverage of the DS version, and some of it hasn't been very thoughtful. We decided to fill a gap and provide newcomers to the series a good look at just how the game plays.

WiiHD will release our full review shortly, and in it, we'll be sure to note changes in the franchise for Civ veterans. Keep an eye out for it.

Now hit the break for the full preview, perfect for beginners.

Are You Ready for a Revolution (DS) page 1

1. A Beginners Guide

There are more than 60 million DS units out in the world bringing joy to a wide and diverse gaming population. So it's understandable that a lot of their owners wouldn't know anything about Civilization, a long and storied PC franchise with a niche (not small, but niche) audience. So in this preview of the DS version of Civilization Revolution, we're providing a both an overview of the game, and a beginners guide, explaining the basics of the game to people who've never heard of the franchise before.

Civilization Revolution (Civ Rev) belongs to a genre called Turn Based Strategy (TBS). Other DS games that use this Turn-based gameplay mechanic include Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, and Age of Kings, however, that mechanic is about all they share with Civ Rev. In scope, it is the most unique strategy game on any current generation console or portable, and it is easily one of the most hardcore games on the Nintendo DS, which makes a great first game for WiiHD to review.

Rather than being level-based like most of its kin, Civ Rev is an open world. You don't advance from one battlefield to start fresh on another, you start on a map of the world itself, and you finish on that same map. You don't change commanding officers throughout the game to get different types of bonuses, you choose one civilization, and use their bonuses throughout the game. Finally, while you can play Civ Rev as a pure war strategy game if you want to, you have other options. You can win a Cultural Victory, a Technological Victory, or an Economic Victory, in addition to the more war-oriented Domination victory (See victory conditions).

1.1 Getting Started

So now we're going to explain step-by-step how you might play the game. This is not a guide to how you Should make decisions in the game, just what decisions there are to make, so you can get a good idea of whether this unique title is for you or not.

Let's assume you want to start a brand new game from scratch, you'll choose Random Map (the main mode of the game), and then choose your difficulty level. If you're new at this, you may as well choose the easiest difficulty, Chieftain, just so you can get a feel for the game before really challenging yourself. Now you get to choose a Civilization, and each has it's own strengths. On the touchscreen, you'll see the name of each civilization's leader, and their picture. On the top screen, you'll see the name of that civilization and their strengths. There will be one bonus for each of the 4 eras of the game (like increased strength of a unit, cultural bonuses, technological bonuses, wealth or base production bonuses), and one General bonus. Long time civ fans will be able to quickly determine which bonuses they want. Newcomers will have to experiment, but don't worry, you will quickly come to understand the advantages of these bonuses. In my experience with Civ Rev, the Romans are a nice civilization to get started with.

After you've chosen, it's time to start the game. Chieftain difficulty starts you out with a tutorial, which is especially nice for newcomers to the franchise, but a little annoying for longtime users. You can choose to end the tutorial after the first barrage of prompts if you so choose, but if you're new, keep it on for a while. In Chieftain, your starting location is chosen for you, but in later difficulties you will get to choose. We'll describe choosing city locations a little later, but for now, let's look at the base menu by pressing the R shoulder button.


On the left side, from top to bottom, you have the option of 1) Building a unit (your army or Settlers) 2) Building Buildings (stuff that makes your city better at various tasks, or Wonders that can improve your entire civilization), 3) building roads 4) Rushing Production (pay x gold, and complete you build queue immediately) 5) Viewing your already build city buildings, and 6) Viewing the Wonders that that City has built. On the right side, from top to bottom, you have 6 options for resource gathering at that base, 1) A balanced focus (default, and what most beginners will use the entire game) 2) A focus on wealth, 3) a focus on food (and thus growth for that city) 4) a focus on production (churning out buildings and units faster) 5) a focus on research (finishing new technologies faster) or 6) you can hand choose each resource square you want to harvest.

What do you need to know about building in your city? Well right off the bat, you want to explore the map, so building a warrior first is a good idea. That warrior will also let you defend another base when you build your next one.

1.2 Taking Action

Why do you want to explore? Well, when you start you can only see a certain area around you, the rest is covered by the "fog of war", so scouting helps in several ways. 1) You want to scout out locations for new bases. Different areas have different kinds of resources, and the more of the map you can see, the better a location you can get, and the faster you base will generate what you want to generate (wealth, production, science, food, etc). 2) The Civ Rev map is full of opportunities. By discovering a great river or great forest, you get free gold. By discovering a village (a peaceful non-civilization), you can trade tech with them (it's not really a trade, you find a village, they disappear, leave a resource behind, and give you things like gold or technology). By conquering barbarians (hostile non-civilizations) you can get gold and units AND increase the experience of your military units increasing your odds of victory in battle. 3) You want to know where the other civs are. You don't want to get attacked without being prepared, and knowing their location will allow you to trade with them. 4) Finally, there are relics (archaeological sites) in the game that each provide you with unique bonuses for whoever finds them first.

Eventually, you will want to build buildings and wonders as well. If you want a technological victory, building buildings and wonders that provide a tech bonus help, like the library (building) or the Great Library (Wonder). Wonders require a long time to build, so you might hold off on them until you have more than one base.

Intermittently, when you make a technological discovery, your Science advisor will ask you to choose another technology to research. Use [[| WiiHD's handy Technology Guide] (downloadable and optimized for printing) to decide what technologies are right for you. Each technology opens up different units, buildings, wonders, and different technology paths for you. Choose wisely.


Now it's time to get out there and explore. How? Controls are just what you'd expect. If you want to move your selected unit, use the dpad for up, down, left, right and diagonal movement. That will point an arrow in the direction of movement, but doesn't automatically move your unit. Once you have a desired spot picked out, press the A button, and your unit moves to that location. Some units can move more than a single space in one turn, and roads allow any unit to move faster, so you can go more than one square in many cases, just keep dragging the arrow out. While the arrow is white, you can accomplish that move in one turn, once the arrow turns yellow, it will take more than one turn to complete the move, but you can drag it out as far as you want, and the next turn, the unit will automatically continue it's trek toward the destination you selected. Don't want to move that particular unit right now? You can cycle to the next unit with the L shoulder button. Want it to stay still, hit B. You can also fortify (making them stronger on defense) with the Y button.

Stylus controls allow to tap and hold a unit to bring up buttons representing possible actions. Tapping, holding and then dragging will let you move the unit where you want it.

Go on to the next page to find out how to attack and more.

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