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Posted on Oct 26, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

CivCity: Rome – Game Review (PC)

By Nicholas R. Reese


Even though CivCity: Rome isn’t necessarily a military history game, if you’re interested in ancient Rome or city building, Rome gives it to you. Made from the master of Civilization itself, Sid Meier, and the developers of Stronghold, CivCity: Rome is the combination that “Armchair Generals” and alternate history buffs love to dream about. Unfortunately, despite the build-up, CivCity: Rome leaves you hanging.

Seem surprised? It’s no coincidence that the preceding sentences just changed your ‘next-to-buy’ list for video games. I felt the same disappointment upon experiencing CivCity: Rome. It’s not that CivCity: Rome is a ‘bad’ game. It’s more that the hype and quality I expected and believed I would get from the creator of the greatest strategy game of all time, let me down.


Succinctly put, the game has been done before—maybe it hasn’t been done in Rome but it’s a rehash nevertheless. The gameplay is a reformatting of old concepts and the graphics are simply decent. Obviously the gods must have overlooked Rome this time because nothing yelled, “Nick, buy this game!”

One fatal flaw in the overall gameplay: It would make more sense to have the donkeys tote the wagons across the town, but Romans apparently would rather do it themselves. When you want to look inside a building, the game will give you a nice cross section. Sometimes there may be a glitch, where in this case the priest can fly.

Upon the start of the game, CivCity: Rome gives a dynamic, short video of Rome at its ‘barbaric’ beginnings to the Rome we all know. The graphics will wow you here, but don’t expect them to return. The graphics throughout the rest of the game—as said before—are merely mediocre by today’s standards. The graphics are circa 2004—but even had the game been released at that time, it would have still disappointed.

No matter when a game is made, it all comes down to its gameplay. I’ve seen games that have been released recently that look as if they were produced back in 2000 but still claim editor’s choice in almost every magazine. Those games invariably have depth, challenges, and innovative concepts—all of which have are lacking in CivCity: Rome.

This doesn’t mean, however, that CivCity: Rome ‘s gameplay is terrible. It just means that the creators just did an “average” job and didn’t bother to spend any more time with it.

The overall goal in CivCity: Rome is just like the opening video—to change your city from a collection of huts into something of which Rome can be proud. Rome allows you to give your citizens more advanced amenities that would be expected from a Roman city and once those amenities have been given, you slowly start to see your citizens change their huts into more advanced structures until eventually they become villas. Regrettably that’s as deep as it gets. While the game does add some flavor to the process of the amenities, it—just like the rest—falls short. There are few steps in providing your citizens with certain amenities such as wine, bread, food, and clothing. We build a farm, then we build a bakery; now we have food to our people. That’s it. It does this continually with each amenity and after a while, it becomes an easy job to give your citizens whatever they desire. It’s O.K. to make the process simple, but there’s no more depth to it.

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  1. My grandson & I are playing the game. We can not get wheat farms and we can’t upgrade to larger hovels. Anyone out there with an answer.

  2. Hey, I had the same problem, thought the game was bugged, but actually you just need to build a trade caravan and import the wheat.
    Hope this helps. 🙂