The probability of owning one if you’ve been a Civilization series fan is high, but you are left to wonder if you have not purchased one then this should help you decide if you would be purchasing a physcial or a digital version. We played our Steam copy twice; the first is to get a feel of the game, and the second to try one specific approach to the game and see if we would have a hard time learning the basics of the game. If you are not a fan of the genre then I suggest to read more in depth reviews of the game.
Civilization: Beyond Earth is under Firaxis Games which gave us the popular Civ series and the XCOM titles; apart from this we believe that Civ: Beyond Earth is a rebranded Civ: Alpha Centuari which was another Sid Meier game in the mid 90s. The game starts of with an explanation why Earthlings of the future would need to go into a journey to space to find another planet to inhabit; the story moves forward with you picking a faction/ nation with specific speciality and dominate a new planet. The game, although gives you almost the same experience as Civilization 5, there are some changes to take note as it might affect your gameplay and would give you enough confusion to stop think if it is really a good buy.
What has changed?
Apart from being on another planet; set on a future timeline, and given a new set of nation to develop, Civilization: Beyond Earth gives you new Virtue ladder and instead of the standard tech ladder, Beyond Earth presents a more complicated Tech Web, unit progression paths, and resource pooling strategies.
Instead of just choosing a set of pre-made Earths with different geographic layouts, Civilization: Beyond Earth gives you different planets with different terrain formations. Although it is still possible to customize your own map, Civilization: Beyond Earth lacks the ability to give your specific preference of high or low resources on your planet.
Set of Nation/Sponsors
As part of the single player gameplay, your chosen nation by default will be the first to start colonizing the planet. Other nation would follow suit and you will be able to see where they are to land.
Surprisingly, Civilization V (Including Gods and Kings, Brave New World Expansions) contains 43 Nations, while Civ:BE only has a mere 8 nation you could play with. Hopefully Firaxis updates this at once as it is very limiting and gives you a repetitive experience on the fourth the fifth play through.
Affinities, Virtues, Health and Tech Web
Affinities are very similar to Civilization V: Brave New World’s ideology. There are three affinities which are Harmony, Purity and Supremacy. It was one of my favourite part of the game as it takes you to experience different approaches on this new world you are living on. Harmony, for example, is more keen on blending your citizens lifestyle with the aliens; Supremacy, on the other hand is directed to having robots doing most of the work for you; while Purity is targeted to a more humanist movement. Difference of affinities will lead to friction with other nations having a different view on things.
Your Affinity, your Nation, or even your Tech should be align with your Virtue. Virtue is earned through Culture; and are composed of 4 Virtue flowcharts – Might, Properity, Knowledge and Industry. If you have a specific victory type, the four Virtue paths are very VERY important; but on a normal game; you would probably be getting the Prosperity and Industry first.
Your Tech Web goes hand in hand with your affinity; playing the game for the first time, you would be confused as it does not any more follow history’s chronologically designed advancement. Beyond Earth’s tech ladder is designed to conform with your Affinity, or the terrain you were randomly placed in. Personally; I think the your Tech progression is the most essential part of this game as it is essential in improving your war units, improving your economy, and improving espionage. Unlike old Civ games, everyone on Beyond Earth is bound to do something different or unorthodox on their getting their tech ladder filled. One might be very economical with regards to earning more money; but another one might be putting a lot of effort in espionage where he could steal tech and power (cash) from another nation while also strengthening his/her army for an assault. Your path on your Tech Web will also result to giving you higher points for a certain affinity; which will also result to the unit progression you would want to achieve and the resources you would be needing to train such units.
Aside from culture, hammer or productivity, and science, one of the most frustrating non-physical resource on Civilization V was happiness which is now coined as Health. Having an unhealthy nation means that progress would slow down or even stop; while having a very healthy nation would reward you with great bonuses on science, productivity and defence on espionage.
Unit progression will be based on your affinity. Having a higher affinity for Supremacy will give your nation machine type units. This is the same with having higher points for Harmony to get more alien-like military under your command. Basically, you start off with basic units which you could upgrade when certain affinity points are reached; the design will be unique to one Affinity, at the same time you are given two perks to choose from for every upgrade that you do. Speciality units will be available once you have collected a certain number of Affinity and will be needing extra resources of Xenomass for Harmony, Floatstone for Purity and Firaxite for Supremacy to produce; so make sure your affinity is aligned with resources abundant on your continent. At the end of the game; it would depend on how well you played your Tech Web to achieve a balance of a powerful nation with plentiful units, economy and resources that compliment each other.
When you think that the gameplay for all Civilization is equal and the same; then your wrong.
Quest and Orbital System
In addition to the quite “complicated at the start” tech web and affinity system, Questing is introduced. Certain tasks are brought up to your screen like doing an excavation on a ruin or building a specific building on a specific city; finishing a quest will give you rewards like gaining an extra culture points for every building build or gaining extra units for military purposes. Which ever it may be; it adds on the experience of honing a very specific nation you want it to be. The orbital system on the other hand is more of a helping hand. At the start, you would probably get 3 to 4 solar collector that could help in increasing the power/gold collected on a certain area. Orbital are not technically buildings or units; they are satellites that has certain time span before it goes down to rubble, around the late game; orbital units are great for transporting units and destroying opposing forces.
Back in Civilization V, I did not paid much attention to trading as it only became essential with the last expansion “Brave New World”; this time around the same system was applied and is as useful as it gets. Since the gameplay is much more faster, getting colonies to become cities and produce essential units and buildings are much more important; creating trade routes from bigger cities to small cities can help speed up production and expand your territory. And if you find your nation down on power/cash and science; creating international routes should do the trick.
There are 5 victory types; you could choose not to choose one for a never ending game which I enjoy.
- Domination: The good ‘ol total war victory type. Race to destroy all other nation on your planet and claim or raze all their cities to claim victory and become the sole ruler of humans’ new home.
- Contact: This victory type requires you to follow certain clues and do certain task to be able to achieve contact with a sentient alien life.
- Promised Land: Reserved for Purity aligned affinity players, you create a gate that connects the Earth to this new planet. As colonist enter the your new planet through the gate, you are tasks to help these colonist to settle in and create cities on a land scarce planet.
- Transcendence : Reserved for Harmony aligned affinity players, you are tasked to build the mind flower to help your people connect with the planet and achieve a harmonious connection with the alien life.
- Emancipation : Reserved for Supremacy aligned affinity players. The basic goal is to end humanity by building a Warp Gate where your units can go through transporting them to Earth to annihilate the whole of humanity.
- A new look on the Civilization franchise
- Expanded Tech Web system
- Orbital and Questing system
- Great unit advancement ladder
- Huge mod support from the community (Check this out if you have your own copy)
- Small number of character/nation choices
- Limited unit choices
- Repetitive affinity choices
- Repetitive virtue course
- Unbalanced nation perks
At 1,700Php on Steam; I feel that Civilization:Beyond Earth deserves less. It does however deserves more time on the development stage with to add more complication and choices for gamers. We feel that there is a lack of customization; although there are 3 affinities, 4 virtues and a very flexible tech web; you are forced to do a repetitive system or path as it proves that there are only a few strategy that really works. The ending for any of the victory types are also disappointing. The game however is worth buying if you have lots of hours to burn or have been a fan of the series; knowing Firaxis, expansions to their titles brings out the best of their games. For now, it is not at par with what Firaxis and 2K did with Civilization V and its expansions.
|CPU:||Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 64 2.0 GHz|
|OS:||Windows Vista SP2/Windows 7|
|Video Card:||256 MB ATI Radeon HD 3650 or better, 256 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT or better, or Intel HD 3000 or better integrated graphics|
|Free Disk Space:||8 GB|
|CPU Speed:||1.8 GHz Quad Core CPU|
|OS:||Windows Vista SP2/Windows 7|
|Video Card:||AMD Radeon HD 5000 series or better (or ATI R9 series for Mantle support), NVIDIA GeForce GT 400 series or better, or Intel IvyBridge or better integrated graphics|
|Free Disk Space:||8 GB|