|Dev: Firaxis Games|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: October 24, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Language|
The rest of the gameplay mirrors Civilization V for the most part. The game is played on a hex grid, and for the majority of the early game you will be looking for a suitable place to settle and start building your great cities. You click on cities in order to manage their resource usage as well as develop new units and structures, while you click on other parts of the map to get your units moving and fighting. It’s all pretty basic, which is welcome for people who thought older Civilizations were too complicated. It’s also still turn based, so you will be playing this game for literally hours at a time to even get close to halfway done.
Exploration is necessary but is kind of a different beast in Beyond Earth. You aren’t seeking out natural wonders as much as you are simply scouting. Once again, the game has a heavier military focus this time around, and that applies to the indigenous alien species as well. They are far more deadly than barbarians were in other Civ games, and if you don’t go out and find them and handle them, they might waltz into one of your cities and wreak havoc. You can also find ancient alien pieces of tech but these are few and far between and usually aren’t the main reason for traveling outside your boundaries. There is sort of this air of paranoia the game has, in which you never really have the time to stop and appreciate the map as you travel it.
The coolest new addition to the formula are quests. These are short term goals that, if you complete them, give you an instant bonus. It gives players some direction in the short term, just in case they didn’t know what they were going to do next. It also gives players access to resources that they otherwise wouldn’t have access too. This subtly influences the path you take through the game, which influences your tech, which influences your diplomacy, so on and so forth. The ripples can be felt all the way down.
The fact that you can trade in favors is also kind of cool. Many times in Civ games, leaders would come to you asking for some resource and they, unfortunately, would have nothing you want. Now you can trade this in for an IOU to be fulfilled at a later date, which might not mean much in a game so based around military conflict, but certainly feels better.
Overall, I would say that Civilization: Beyond Earth was fun, at least as fun as Civ 5. It just wasn’t mind-blowing, which is a shame because all the Alpha Centauri fans out there were kind of hoping for that. The game almost feels like a Civilization 5 sci-fi mod, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If anything, the game sells itself on promise. I can see expansions including new factions, new tech, and possibly even new affinities making this game a wonderfully fun and addictive experience that lasts for years. For now, however, the game is simply fun, and that is probably enough to warrant a purchase for most. Just don’t expect this game to give you the stars.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: September 3, 2014