|a game by||2K Games|
CivCity: Rome is an attractive package that hints at a connection with the mega-selling Civilization franchise. Right off, it should be said, there is no game play connection. How could there be, really? This game is a pure city building exercise with more in common to Pharaoh, the Caesar games, Tropico and than with the epic turn-based, clash-of-civs strategy game.
CivCity: Rome includes a tutorial campaign, some free-form Single Missions in various pre-built terrains and a Map Editor. The files created with the straight-forward Map Editor go right onto the Single Mission menu list, so it's easy to whack up your own map and start a game on it ASAP.
Graphics, of course, are excellent. Audio is perspective-governed, depending on what you're near and how close you are to it; and there's the expected heroic orchestral and choral soundtrack music. All in all, in these areas there's not much more than previous efforts in the ancient city building genre.
The main Campaign introduces concepts as you make your way up the promotion ladder in the service of Caesar. As governor of various provincial towns, you'll build some from scratch and step in to improve others. All the while the in-game messages hint that a shot at the Big Town may be in your future.
Progress is measured by, it soon becomes apparent, the level of lifestyle improvement of your individual citizens, as signified by upgrades to their house, which starts out as a Shack. Housing in an area will improve if it's within walking-distance to goods and amenities. For instance, to make the first jump from a Shack you need well water, and the occupant of the Shack must be able to walk to it. Click on the Shack and a green diameter circle will aid in placing a well. Place the well itself and as soon as the resident walks to it and back home with a jug of water the improvement happens. The Shack becomes a Small Hovel. Add a source of meat in the diameter and the Small Hovel becomes a Medium one. This is the way all the improvements work. You can place an amenity, but until the citizen actually uses it, the improvement is only a potential one. Also, if it's a shop, it must have some of the product it offers on hand.
There is a basic user interface design flaw that should never reach a product in this day and age. The software has no autosave setting that we could find, and on the Game Menu is an Exit button. This button gives no opportunity to back off an inadvertent click. It immediately exits, and you lose all progress since your last manual save. Hopefully this will be corrected in a later version, but in a game where progress is all, losing it all so suddenly is a big discouragement.
Sadly, its similarity to earlier titles and it's somewhat mechanical game play, this one gets a Fans Only for fans of city sims and fans of all things ancient or ancient Roman.