Every gamer worth their weight in... erm, games, has played - or at the very least, knows about - the boy Sid Meier. Before Will Wright, Peter Molyneux and Hideo Kojima were the gaming auteurs on everybody's lips, this man was bashing out classics like Pirates!, F-15 Strike Eagle, Covert Action, Railroad Tycoon and - last but certainly not least - the mighty, genre-defining, awesomely consuming, Civilization.
Currently enjoying its fourth, and arguably greatest, iteration on PC, Firaxis obviously decided the time was right to port their opus over to 360. No mean task. So how exactly have they gone about trying to accomplish the, well... bloody near impossible?
For starters, the old archaic control scheme that usually spans the entire length and breath of a QWERTY keyboard had to go. In came a sleek one-button (a, in case you we wondering) method, used in conjunction with the left analogue stick to direct units and armies. When you're in a city, the d-pad is used to perform various tasks - such as summoning advisers to prattle away or talking tactics with generals before a vital ruckus. Which is easy peasy, trust us.
Meier High Club
Whether you're battling barbarians, forging vital trade routes, conducting diplomatic relations, constructing a rocket for blast off into outer space, or nuking your bitter foes with a comedy A-bomb, this is compulsive fare, executed with love and some serious comedy panache. Our fave crazed ruler so far? It has to be Cleopatra, whose alternately flirtatious/psychotic demeanour had the Xbox World 360 team in stitches.
PC Civ players will no doubt have a field day poking fun at the alleged concessions Meier's boys have had to make on 360, but we reckon they've succeeded in creating a meaner, leaner beastie whose fast-paced skirmishes and streamlined tech tree lend them-selves to satisfyingly succinct sessions of gameplay. Potentially best of all is the multiplayer over Live, which will hopefully offer a unique experience to 360 owners craving some turn-based titillation.
So, no, it's not the same, quintessential Civilization that you'll experience on one of those £1,000 PC's, but then it was never going to be, was it? Instead, this is Civilization Lite - and, we're happy to report, none the worse for it either. Bring it on.