Sid Meier’s Civilization®: Beyond Earth™
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Sid Meier's Civilization®: Beyond Earth™ is a new science-fiction-themed entry into the award-winning Civilization series. Set in the future, global events have destabilized the world leading to a collapse of modern society, a new world order and an uncertain future for humanity. As the human race struggles to recover, the re-developed nations focus their resources on deep space travel to chart a new beginning for mankind.
As part of an expedition sent to find a home beyond Earth, you will write the next chapter for humanity as you lead your people into a new frontier and create a new civilization in space. Explore and colonize an alien planet, research new technologies, amass mighty armies, build incredible Wonders and shape the face of your new world. As you embark on your journey you must make critical decisions. From your choice of sponsor and the make-up of your colony, to the ultimate path you choose for your civilization, every decision opens up new possibilities.
Seed the Adventure: Establish your national identity, choosing one of eight different factions, each with its own unique gameplay benefits. Craft your expedition by assembling your spacecraft, cargo & colonists through a series of choices that directly seed the starting conditions when arriving at the new planet. A new quest system guides you as you begin your journey.
Colonize an Alien World: Explore the dangers and benefits of a new planet filled with alien terrain, resources, and hostile life forms unlike those of Earth. Build outposts, establish trade routes and develop flourishing cities to create prosperity for your people.
Technology Web: To reflect progress forward into an uncertain future, technology advancement occurs through a series of nonlinear choices that affect the development of mankind.
Orbital Layer: Build and deploy advanced military, economic and scientific units that provide strategic offensive, defensive and support capabilities from orbit.
Unit Customization: Unlock different upgrades through the tech web and customize your units to reflect your play style.
Contend with Rivals: Wage war, form diplomatic alliances, and engage in espionage in your path to victory against other factions, each with its own leader and different gameplay style.
Multiplayer: Up to 8 players can compete for dominance of a new alien world. Mod support: Robust mod support allows you to customize and extend your game experience.
Civilization: Beyond Earth Brings Innovative, Previously Unseensuperhomosapien | Aug. 21, 2015 | See all superhomosapien's reviews »
I really wanted to like Beyond Earth. Sadly, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t. Out since October 24, this latest instalment in developer Sid Meir’s now thirty-six title franchise of empire building games carries a hefty AAA price tag. Beyond Earth keeps the premise of its predecessor, Civilization V (Civ V). During the game, you start with one city and expand into an empire, either working with other civilizations to expand your economy and improve your security, or warring against them. The most obvious difference between the games is that, while Civ V, like almost all previous Civilization titles, casts you in the role of a real country as you play through 7,050 years of history, in Beyond Earth you are a colony on another world that is sponsored by a fictional nation of future Earth. In Civ, each city can produce one thing at a time: either a building or a unit. Buildings give a specific advantage to your civilization, while units can move and perform a task like constructing farms or fighting enemies. In addition to managing your cities, buildings, and units, you organize national projects like researching new technologies and spying on enemy nations. You oversee diplomacy, trade with allies, and explore your world. Even simple changes are managed poorly. Take Beyond Earth’s infantile unit names, for instance. The guys at Firaxis, the game’s developer, seemed to give this project to children. The game has a unit called the “Rocktopus,” which is a combined rocket and octopus that shoots lasers form space. The cringe-worthiness that is the Rocktopus is quite the deviation from Civ V’s serious and descriptive unit names, like “Swordsman” and “Cannon.” Much else of Beyond Earth has also descended into a meaningless technobabble, with units like the “Holomatrix” or the “Evolved Xeno Titian.” This highlights a broader problem with the game: since the names of things in Beyond Earth are essentially meaningless, my actions in the game no longer feel like accomplishments, like building the Great Pyramids in Civ V was, but dull meaningless abstractions that aren’t worth my time. While this is certainly a striking change, it is not the only one. Firaxis has also reduced the length of a game by about one third, not by making the game play quicker but by cutting out two thirds of the content and making it twice as slow. Many gameplay features were stripped down: In Civ V, your civilization’s happiness influences productivity; acquiring luxury resources is essential to maintaining your happiness levels. In Beyond Earth, happiness is replaced with health, which serves the same function, but there are no luxury resources, making it to difficult, costly, and often impossible to maintain a healthy civilization. Beyond Earth also did away with religion. In Civ V, religion could grant you benefits if you converted other civilizations. It also affected diplomatic relations – nations of the same religion will often band together. This was yet another layer of complexity that Beyond Earth lacked. Also, city states were replaced with stations. In Civ V, you could ally with a city state: in return for resources, the city state would defend you in times of war. In Beyond Earth, it is possible only to trade with stations. This, however, is rarely a sound strategic move – stations just end up cluttering the map. Beyond Earth did manage one gameplay improvement, though: aliens. Beyond Earth’s aliens replace Civ V’s barbarians. In Civ V, barbarians would attack whenever possible, forcing you to maintain at least a small military even when you were on good terms with surrounding countries. Aliens, on the other hand, are a far more interesting opponent: they won’t attack unless you encroach on their territory. They’re less aggressive but more powerful, and how to handle them is an interesting choice. One of the new features in Beyond Earth is the tech web, which replaces the tech tree from Civ V. Instead of each technology allowing one or two more to be researched, one in the tech web unlocks as many as seven new choices. Choosing what to research quickly becomes overwhelming, especially as many of the technologies have cryptic names. In Civ V, when you research sailing, it’s easy to know you’ll be getting the ability to build ships. But “Transcendental Math?” While Beyond Earth makes it perfectly clear that researching this unlocks the “Transcendental Equation,” the game doesn’t provide any context as to what I can use that for. The soundtrack in Beyond Earth, like Civ V’s, falls flat in comparison to Civ IV’s Grammy Award winning theme “Baba Yetu,” which draws on rich corals and a powerful percussion section to bring a feeling of grandeur to the game. Baba Yetu, along with the 103 other songs from 21 composers that make up Civ IV’s soundtrack, make it one of the greatest game soundtracks ever made. Meanwhile, the music from Beyond Earth is slow and static. While it has great moments, they are crowded out by hours of uninteresting auditory mush. It doesn’t distract from the game, but it doesn’t add to it either Another thing Beyond Earth is lacking: a graphics update. Even though Beyond Earth was released to run on graphics cards almost three times more powerful than the hardware available when Civ V was released, they have the same graphical quality. Beyond Earth is also not fully debugged. Many textures fail to load on startup, causing much of the terrain to appear black while the game finishes loading. When the game displays a unit icon, it will sometime display another on top of it, causing a distracting graphics glitch. While there are good elements to Beyond Earth, it’s a game that tries to capitalize on the popularity of its predecessors, not provide a new experience to fans. It’s a half-baked experience that adds nothing new to the series and lacks the balance and sophistication of Civ V.
Civ V: Space Texture Packstorm84 | Aug. 18, 2015 | See all storm84's reviews »
Being a clone of Civilization V is not necessarily a bad thing - Civ V was a lot of fun after all. But Civilization: Beyond Earth is not at all adventurous in trying to offer anything on top of what was already made for Civ V. This is like a glorified mod, with the new features being quite insignificant compared with the overwhelming sameness of the core gameplay. It's still Civilization, and Civilization has that addictive quality that keeps you coming back, so on that alone it can be recommended. But unless you really like the idea of playing Civ V on an alien world, there's nothing you'll get out of this game that you wouldn't get from just playing Civ V instead.
Promising, but just a little lackingpsychosis01 | July 1, 2015 | See all psychosis01's reviews »
If you're debating between this and Civ 5, go with the latter. Quick notes on gameplay concepts: UI leaves a bit to be desired - for example, you can display trade routes on the map, but I couldn't find a quick and easy way to get a list of what trade routes are up, other than building a new trade unit. Tech umbrella instead of a hierarchy - great idea, but it's easy to get lost in the sauce as you expand research outward. Affinities - I like that everyone is more homogeneous at the beginning and then specialize as time advances, but it "feels" like it shouldn't take so like to advance in affinity ranks. The combat is my biggest critique - siege weapons are critical in a game where you can't stack more than one combat unit on a tile, but given that 1) most capitals are located by water and 2) 90% of ranged units only have a range of 2 means that it's rather difficult to achieve the domination victory. I hope that the upcoming expansion really fleshes out and fixes some of the gameplay issues.
Fun!! ..but it's no Alpha Centaurioctoxan | June 6, 2015 | See all octoxan's reviews »
One of the best games I've ever played growing up was Alpha Centauri, so when this spiritual successor was announced I freaked out. The game is really fun but it doesn't have all the features of the last game which is about 15+ years old. No water cities (until the expansion) and all of the civilizations feel bland. Don't let that fool you though, the game is still worth $60 in my opinion. If you love Civilization V but want customizable units, missions, and the whole game to have a scifi skin, then go for it! It's different enough than V to be worth it, but it's still no AC.
Effectively an overpriced DLCZaggeta | May 12, 2015 | See all Zaggeta's reviews »
Beyond Earth is basically a reskinned version of Civ 5 with a few minor gameplay tweaks. The most notable of these tweaks being cultural alignments determining civ appearance and victory conditions. In regards to the alignments - I'd much rather have what Civ 5 has and have my initial civilization determine my appearance. As it stands, there is basically no reason for having separate civilizations. The new victory conditions, from an expositional perspective, are nice - but boring by Civ standards. All in all, this could have been infinitely better as an expansion to Civ 5 and would probably have been accepted better.