I've spent many hours on this game. If you like strategy games I definitely recommend this game. It is a little bit cartoony but that is one of only 2 things wrong with it. I loved the characters they chose as options for leaders. The game-play is smooth and long just as you would expect it to be. (Which I'll talk more about later in the review)
Civilization games are great games but the one characteristic they all share can deter you is the length of the games. I've played 8 hour games on this. So if you don't have the time for this game and don't like to chop up your game-play you can stop reading now because this game is probably not going to be for you. For those of you who would not allow this to hinder your opinion of the game, there are lots of positive characteristics.
You can save and come back to the game later in the same exact spot where you left off. There are some very creative ways to win the game, for example: A Science win, Culture win, or Imperialism win. The variety of maps is astounding. You start to wonder if you'll ever play the same map twice. The biggest plus for me is the variety in game-play. Just so many possible ways to win on so many different maps. The possibilities seem to be endless on this game.
Now, the reason that I gave it an 8.5 is because I've played Civilization 5 and it's just astounding and blows this one out of the water...as it would most others. If you haven't played Civilization before this is a good one to start out on. It'll teach you the ropes relatively easy and you'll be on your way to domination of the game. If you get really good you can get the cheat to unlock GOD mode but, it wont be easy I promise you.
Build city, train warriors, build additional buildings, fight computer... Just about all this game has to offer. Game gets VERY repetitive after a couple hours. Sure, you can chose to be different civilizations but they are all similiar. Do NOT waste a GameFly rental on this. Other reviews claim this game is good, not sure how that conclusion was reached. Disc would make a nice coaster though!