Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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It is always great to see franchises, that we all know and love, finally grow up. So seems to be the case with 2K’s mobile-exclusive sequel to 2009’s tremendously successful Civilization Revolution. Taking a page from the console version’s book, the title has a completely revamped visual style. But is a fresh coat of paint enough to make this new installment worth the price of admission?
Players who adored 2K’s freshmen pass at Sid Meier’s seminal series will notice that Civilization Revolution 2 instantly feels very familiar. That is not to say that the game looks similar, presentation wise, (in fact, the exact opposite is true) but it features the same comfortable gameplay formula that worked so well the first time around. Unfortunately, for some reason that also means that this game has inherited most of the baggage from the first installment as well.
One of the key complaints that make a repeat appearance this time around, is the lack of focus or depth when it comes to non-combat related victories. Where prior Civilization incarnations have gone to great lengths to make sure that there are several paths towards success, the mobile efforts continue to try and funnel the player towards the battlefield. Granted, the combat portion of the title is far and away better than just about any other tactical battle simulation available on iOS, it is still hard to shake the lingering feeling of Déjà vu.
This is not to say that everything is stale, because the new visual presentation is fantastic. Seemingly ripping art assets right out of the original console game, the new 3D character models and smooth animations make for a far superior viewing and even playing experience. On the same front, the streamlined interface makes much better use of touchscreen technology, which is critical in a game that can have matches that could span multiple hours.
Elements like the stacking of units into a single grid position helps to prevent bottlenecks in the unit movement. On the other side of the coin, however, the new presentation style also tends to make it awkward to determine the size of an army at a quick glance. The only way to get an accurate read on size is to cycle through the selectable units one-by-one. Also, there is no way to group together troops outside of an army made up of three of the same unit. It would have been nice to continue to stack units into larger groupings, if for no other reason than ease of management and movement.
As much as we loved the game the first time time around, Civilization Revolution 2 assumes that you have amnesia. It hopes that if it changes its visual appearance a bit, it can pass itself off the same core engine as a completely different game. In some respects, it does make great strides to deliver a superior mobile experience, but it lacks the true innovation to justify its existence as a genuine sequel. Compound that with the title’s extremely steep $14.99 pricetag, and it becomes extremely difficult to recommend over the far more affordable first iteration.