Finally, I can’t help feeling that the game is too stingy with the exciting stuff early on. Getting this right is always difficult for any developer – give the player too much to play with to begin with, and they either can’t learn the basics, or they don’t feel sufficiently rewarded later on. However, if I’m playing a Roman city builder, I don’t want to spend the first six hours acting like a provincial flunky in charge of a village or small town – I want to get the gladiators, build wonders, and see the Coliseum. Come on, chaps, a little spectacle in the early states wouldn’t go amiss.
You see, this seems endemic of CivCity: Rome’s problems – it just doesn’t try hard enough to get you excited in the short-term or grip you in the long-term. Instead, it settles for being a fun and engaging city builder with a nice modern look; the sort of game that earns such hackneyed phrases as “if you like the genre, you’ll like this”. And like it you will, but like, not love. It’s not the Brangelina of PC strategy games, nor the Jordan and Peter Andre, but something that sits squarely in-between. Anyone wanting something more than an amiable city builder would probably be better off waiting for the upcoming Caesar IV.
The CivCity coupling is a brilliant idea, but the offspring doesn’t quite live up to that potential. It’s a decent, good looking city-building game, but not the stuff empires are made of.