Civilization: Beyond Earth
(Win (Steam)), 2014): simulation of multiple cultures in competition which, unlike its predecessors, brackets certain awkward and potentially offensive NorAm-centric assumptions. Apparently, either one understands that this is not Civ 5
with a different skin or one doesn't: the formal reviews divide neatly if not evenly between individuals excited about the things that BE
offers, and individuals cranky about how it isn't exactly like Civ 5
and what are these aliens doing within my cultural sphere anyway and gosh aren't they hard to eradicate. Point missed indeed.
For the sort of player who plays enough games to hold a games-journalism job respectably, BE
may not be very exciting. Neither was Civ II: Test of Time
, the offshoot from Sid Meier's (ahem) railroading vision of global domination; Test of Time
is the one with multiple official "modification" sets that totally transformed gameplay and gave it narrative triggers to go with the multiple maps. For the casual Civ
player who never gets past the third difficulty setting (of, like, seven, IIRC) but has been noodling along steadily, BE
is a great gift because its early gameplay rewards that manner of interaction. Don't try to churn out fifty military units or ten settlers at once; explore a lot, drop a colonist here and there, go for the technological advancements that protect explorers and keep the aliens less angry with you; slow the hell down.
In short, for my sense of the game (with a few successful easy campaigns beneath my belt), the Eurogamer review
gets it mostly right, and the IGN review
is an ignorant piece of jingoistic malarky. I have been playing Civ
since the first one---haven't skipped any---and my favorites are Test of Time
followed by 4: Beyond the Sword
, FWIW. Alpha Centauri
was a good idea not well implemented, for my tastes, and BE
improves self-consciously upon it.
Though the BE
production team could've done a lot more with the concept, then only gameplaying readers of thinky SF prose would like the damned thing; someone has to pay Firaxis. Also, at least the tech tree of the earlier games---easily the weakest part of them, conceptually speaking---is overhauled completely in favor of a cluster map reminiscent of Final Fantasy X/XII/XIII
. I have hated that reductionist tech tree since 1991
, you guys. Will Partin's review
offers a good summary, I think.
That said, I notice that I haven't played any BE
since last October. hmm. Knitting is easier during Dragon Age: Origins
and now Inquisition
, but it's probably the persistence of a storyline, even though those of both DA
games irritate me a bit.