At the end of June a successor to Civilization Revolution was announced for iOS and Android. Originally designed for console, the strategy game worked like a charm on mobile devices when ported over. Not only did Firaxis Games provide us with a pleasant user experience, but also with the right pacing for games on the go. Another positive was the decision to release Civilization Revolution 2 at a premium price, like Xcom: Enemy Unknown. It would have been an easy way out to launch it cheaply or as a freemium game.
The result, however, is a little sobering, as Civilization Revolution 2 brings little new to the table. If you got the additional content for its predecessor, you pretty much have the same content and on top of that a multiplayer mode. While we get updated of the graphics and, in many places, improvements to the touch controls, these changes don't really make much of difference in terms of gameplay and could probably have been implemented via a large update of the original.
Another thing that has annoyed us is this game in relation to the development that the series has undergone over the last five years. There's not only been progress made as far as visuals and presentation go, but the mechanics in the core Civilization games have also been updated and refreshed. Firaxis has done a number of very instrumental things with Civilization V and its expansions. Focus isn't solely on military conquest and pure number crunching battles; strategic depth also comes from improvements to culture and economy. And there's the new hexagons, something we don't want to move away from. As it is, Civilization Revolution 2 feels like a blast from the past.
The artificial intelligence doesn't help matters either. It feels like we're constantly at war. The game usually favours military solutions, and we tend to sort things out via the pointy end of a sword. Diplomacy in Civilization Revolution 2 offers little more than a temporary respite. The bloodlust increases on the higher difficulty levels. This aggression seems to be reserved for the human player, however, as the computer factions seem to get along much better with each other. And as the game doesn't really offer you an overview of other conflicts it feels as if you're constantly being badgered.
There are some funny things going on with route calculation such as when you send a ship out across the ocean. Rather than finding a route around an obstacle it veers off-course to avoid it and takes a detour. Moving units is not always as easy as it should be. If you're playing the game on your smartphone it gets a little fidgety in the menus. In longer lasting sessions, we simply cannot produce the required wealth towards the end of the game, but we're forced to produce units we may not need.
There is, however, no denying the effort that has gone into the development of Civilization Revolution 2. It looks beautiful. And perhaps some of the changes are subtle enough that they're hidden away. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time with this game will favour it over the predecessor. But, paying £10.49 for what essentially feels like an updated version, doesn't feel like great value. Owners of older models such as iPad 2 should stay away as they're not powerful enough to run the new graphics smoothly.
The bottom line is that this remains a great game and it's great in all the same ways as the original. The smaller maps and streamlined mechanics make for perfect portable entertainment. It's just annoying that we're left feeling that what we're getting is mainly an updated visual finish. If you already own the original you'll likely be disappointed by the lack of new features as it relates to the price tag. But, it's far from a poor game. We only hope that a few quirks are sorted via updates, and that a multiplayer mode is coming soon.