Civilization: Beyond Earth is not a flawless game. It’s AI annoys the piss out of me, the bugs bothersome, and the feels extremely similar to Civilization V for obvious reasons. Yet, despite these complaints I remain addicted to Beyond Earth. It has wrecked my sleeping and eating cycle as I continuously utter “One more round… one more round…” I am somewhat more addicted to this than I was for Civilization V, the reason for this is because I have no clue what I am doing. It feels the same, but the revamps done have truly made it feel completely different despite looking very similar. The game still manages to stand on it’s own two feet despite what people have been saying.
The new things to consider would be the obvious, the tech, the aliens, and the affinity level. Although the affinity levels somewhat feel like religion, as the AI is constantly knocking at your door and begging you to switch your ways. The AI is actually the most annoying thing about this game as they really have done nothing to change them. “Oh, the aliens attacked and killed your traders, your colonist, AND your workers? HOW DARE YOU ATTACK THEM!” Yeah, maybe put some reasoning behind them next game? Because I am rather tired of them also complaining that I settled too close to their cities… when they moved near me. God, I can not properly begin to explain the pure HATE for this.
I turn on the hate machine and roll out the army, because they never shut the **** up. Anyway, besides the AI being how terrible they have done some nice changes with everything else. Tech is odd at times, but fairly interesting as you gain affinity points through them and unlock special units and buildings. Some areas the tech don’t exactly make sense though. We just flew across the galaxy, landed on a new planet, and yet we need to research… computing? I feel like it should have a fancy name because computing to me sounds like we are just discovering this mysterious tech. Although the tech tree is rather interesting as you are forced to go between useful techs and affinity levels with some not so useful things.
The most disappointing thing perhaps is the Health, which has taken over happiness and makes almost no sense. This is due to the fact that you’re civilization is almost always unhealthy until mid game. It hurts your science and production, so it’s not a very fun thing to have. It’s something that takes way too long to even out and the only way to really do it is by researching tech that generally has no affinity behind it.
What’s interesting is the design for aliens, the design for the new units, the cities, and the design of the planet/resources. It’s all rather interesting to discover, the biggest issue is that there is only really one design for the aliens. They have several different units, but manage to look the same. What would have been insanely interesting is if they had several different alien designs and a random one would spawn on the planet with you, it would make the discovery of them in a new game all the more interesting.
Everything is designed rather well and it looks rather unique. While I can’t stand the miasma the rest is solid. You have your choices of what type of planet you go to, but not the option of how many civilizations you want to fight against, perhaps this is because there are so few and it’s an issue. The graphics aren’t improved much, but one thing that is drastically improved are is the end game lag. I remember playing Civilization V and always lagging towards the end of the game, but no more! It runs rather well and while it takes some time to load, I have yet to see any drastic drops in framerate!
There aren’t many civilizations to pick from, but you do get to tune it towards your play style. While you won’t be dazzled by the discovery of the civilization (they appear to you when they land) their models change over time and that’s pretty neat. The saddening thing is you do not have the mystery of discovering who you are up against, as there are so little civilizations, that they all play with you and they are revealed the moment they drop down on the planet. It takes away from the mystery of the game as you explore around.
The issue with the actual AI themselves is that they haven’t changed much at all. If you played Civilization before odds are you know what I am talking about. They insult you for little to nothing and then the next turn they are begging for some resources or energy. It goes something like this: Always coming in with “THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW YOUR SINS! YOU DISGUST ME!” 1 turn later “Hey, things aren’t going so well over here. Do you think you can help us out?” 50 energy a turn, 1000 energy, and 3 Xenomass for 1 favor!” Yeah no, but you can go jump off of a mountain. Seriously, get some common sense. I’m not giving you anything after you just condemned my actions. In fact, this leads to 95% of my wars, the other 5% is just because I feel like it basically.
Civilization: Beyond Earth has done some very interesting things so far. It’s very well designed, but overall your gameplay may be bogged by the bugs that run throughout the game. You may not be as forgiving as this Sid Meier’s fan, but I am addicted. I love the game and can’t get off of it. The interesting design is what really holds the game together. It may not have a ton of civilizations, no variety in the aliens, bugs, and no improvement with the AI, but I still manage to love it. What it does right though is good enough for me. It’s design of everything really holds it up and let’s stand tall as a standalone game. While it needs improvements it remains to be a fun and addicting game as a whole. The game is nowhere near perfect, yet I am perfectly addicted.
Overall Score: 8.5 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Available On: PC
Review Copy Info: The author of this article received a digital copy of this game from the publisher for the purpose of this review