Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (XBOX 360)

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution is a fun game. I never really played the PC versions until I needed something to play while waiting for the newest version to be released. Some reviews said that the console version lacked the depth and complexity of the PC games. That's definitely true but I found the PC to be complex to the point of tedium - much like a Romance of the Three Kingdoms game.

So I tore through SMCR. At the beginner levels you can basically just whup and whomp on the enemy to your heart's content. "King" difficulty is tough and frustrating but doable. Unlocking the "Deity" level Achievement points is a borderline nightmare. Most of the time you are holding on by your fingertips and the moment you have a lead the other leaders gun for you. You must remain 100% focused on your goal, make careful decisions, and be very lucky. Very, very lucky.

I managed to bag the Economic Achievement with the Incas - barely. They start the game with enough money to rush production of a warrior which gives you a five turn edge for exploration of the map. If you can grab enough villages you can make the 100 gold to get the Settlers bonus. The villages I got had Caravans which I promptly sold - doing this allows you to get 30 gold without handing anything over to enemy leaders. I also noticed that not running into enemies for as long as possible made life a little easier. The sooner you meet them the sooner they start making demands. After that I focused on scientific advancement and building everything I could to make money - Markets, Trading Posts, and Banks. I made no effort to build wonders. I kept one city cranking out defensive troops and slowly built "speed bumps" at key points - i.e. borders between nations. Eventually everything worked out. It was still a freaking nightmare. Near the end I was cranking out defensive troops as fast as possible just to keep my cities from falling in order to buy time to build the World Bank.

The other Deity acheivements were much, much easier. I started with the Germans in the hopes of a Domination victory. I was extremely lucky from the start. I managed to find an ideal location to put Berlin. I quickly built an army and smashed the Japanese who were very close to my starting point. My section of the map only had two access points so I was able to set up a defensive perimiter early on. I put all my effort into cranking out troops and working toward unlocking military scientific advances. I was at war for almost the entire game - Arabs to the North, Indians to the South - but managed to hold them off fairly easily. At the defensive strong point my troops gained a lot of experience which helped me later in the game.

Note: DO NOT leave attacking troops undefended! Watch where you are placing your troops - location is vital. Hills are your friend unless controlled by the enemy. DO NOT take the bait! I noticed that the computer would dangle a weak army in front of my positions. If I sallied forth with a unit that didn't have a high enough movement to return to safety they would be stranded and summarily picked off. REMEMBER to bring occupying forces along with your blitz. Nothing worse than conquering a city only to have it snatched away because you didn't have units there to defend it.

I strongly suggest using Spies - who gain a bonus from being in the same area as a Great General. I had one city cranking out Spies as soon as I could get them. Form one cell to defeat any opposing spies in an enemy city - the rest of your spies keep single units. When you finally mobilize your forces focus your effort into one unstoppable sledgehammer use the spies to decimate the city. I stole every Famous Person I could, then tore down defenses and then battered the living hell out of the opposition. Hint: Bring more troops than you think you need. For taking one city I suggest nine core troops choices plus whatever else you can get your hands on. Three sets of: Defense, Attack, Blitz - i.e. Archers, Legion, Horsemen. Plus a good number of spies and at least two defensive occupying troops. It's a lot but you want to win don't you?

Domination was a breeze compared to the Economic victory. Now for the cheezy part. This probably isn't 100% Kosher but it's a good cheat. When I got to a point where I knew I had the game in the bag - three out of four enemies defeated - I saved. Then I just achieved each victory and reloaded from that save point to achieve the next one. A cheat? Yes. However after nearly tearing out my eyes in frustration for days trying to win the Economic victory - Amanda & George ran and hid from my ranting - I felt I deserved the break. Plus it was fun to just pulverize the enemy. I mean just grind them into dust. I think I continuously bombed London for most of the 20th Century just out of spite.

Oh - just to let you know - nuking an enemy capitol does not count toward a Domination victory you still need to move troops in to occupy it. It's also a good idea to move all troops away from the city you are going to cook unless you just don't care.

I only have one achievement left to acquire but damned if I'm even going to try - win the game before 1000 AD. Screw that, I'm gonna play more Battlefield: Bad Company.

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