>And we’re back

>Back in a big way, actually. The summer gaming doldrums have hit us here at SFTC HQ quite hard, and not even Braid, Eden or GeoWars2 – all of which are excellent in their own unique ways – could do anything to relieve them.

But then I decided to rent Civilization Revolution for the 360, and now I’m afraid I’ve gone and unleashed some feral nightmare into my brain. After deciding to purchase my GameFly copy Friday night, I was (kinda) exiled from my living room on Saturday, so I ended up downloading Civ 4 – and its 2 expansions – over Steam; and then, to top it all off, I traded in some old 360 games on the way back from Pineapple Express (meh) on Sunday towards preorders of Fable 2 and LittleBigPlanet, and also CivRev for the DS.

And here’s the funny part – I suck at Civ. I suck at strategy games in general, and I normally don’t even bother, but I was playing Pirates! the other day and I realized how much I’d missed it, and being that Sid Meier has such an impressive pedigree I figured it couldn’t hurt to give CivRev a shot, especially considering how little else there is to do these days. And the truth is, it really is fun. As with Pirates, SM has a great interface and the gameplay is simplified enough for the console so that everything makes sense, once you understand how the concepts work. I can’t say the concepts have fully taken hold for me just yet – it took about 4 hours on the PC, 2 hours on the 360 and a multiplayer session with a friend and about 15 minutes on the DS for me to figure out that I’ve been playing Civ as if it were SimCity, which it most definitely is NOT.

I wonder if this is going to get me into strategy games; I suspect that it will not, if only because I tooled around with C&C and the LOTR strategy games on the 360 and couldn’t make heads or tails of them at all, and gave up after about 30 minutes or so. But then, those games kinda missed the point a little bit – so much fuss was made about how those games were dramatically retooled in order to be workable on a controller, when instead the retooling should have been about how to make those games approachable to a strategy neophyte; after all is said and done, they’re still hard-core strategy games and having a simplified control scheme didn’t change the fact that I had no fucking idea what I was doing or why. CivRev on the 360, on the other hand, is incredibly simple to control – it’s as intuitive as it can be – and so instead the focus is very much about showing you what you’re supposed to do, and why you’re supposed to do it. (Granted, a lot of it is still lost on me, but that’s only because I haven’t had enough time to even finish 1 game on the 360.)

The PC version, on the other hand, is vastly more complex, but it’s still very approachable, and you can automate a lot of menial tasks so that you can better concentrate on the bigger picture. It’s a little surprising to me that of all 3 versions I now own, I’ve only finished a game on the PC.

I wonder if I should start getting excited for Starcraft 2.

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