Okay, this game really is generating a lot of debate 'is it worth of the title Civ' - 'is it Civ-lite or Diet Civ' - 'what market is this game for?', etc. etc.
I think what you have to remember is that although it is Civ, it's a new direction, a new franchise and therefore should not be compared directly to Civ4 - as that was a totally different beast. Yes it's a game set in the Civ universe, but this is geared towards a more action-orientated player and also for people that don't have 50+ to spend playing a single campaign (that'll be me!)
Yes it has Civilsation in the title, I think that's where the comparisons should end (controversial opinion, but I think fair)
Right, now for the actual game...
- size of the maps (yes they are a bit small, but not prohibitively so, in fact when you have about 10 cities on the go, it's nice not to be scrolling endlessly across the globe!)
- little customisation (hopefully remedied in a patch, it would be nice to generate your own maps, change the size of maps, how many turns you are allowed, win conditions, terraform, etc.)
- focus on military (yes, it does seem you are producing endless archers, catapults and riflemen to defend your cities, but you can still win with culture or technology if you're sneaky enough, human opponents should take care of this)
- online (doesn't currently appear to be working, have not been able to connect to an online game yet, but I'm sure this is being worked on!)
- 1080p bold, colourful, detailed graphics, with some excellent battle animations and the advisors / leaders are humourous and well animated
- music and fx are chunky and effective, and nice touches like the Civ 4 theme thrown in also adds to the fun
- humour really prevents the game from being too 'stuffy' ranging from little response you give to other leaders to funny animations, all assist with the 'fun' aspect
- playability (the most important factor) 4 ways to win, loads of scenarios, game of the week, a potential endless online multiplayer community, so many ways to play in-game - and you really can lose hours to this game - the 'one more turn' is now replaced with 'one more game'
- controls - it's clear how much time has gone into this, managing cities and armies is effortless
So there you go! The demo is available on both Xbox Live and PSN - so you can try before you buy, however, I think once you have had a go of the demo, you'll be buying it in no time!
An essential purchase.