Join Isentropic as he travels into deep space in Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth.
G'Day my Glitchilization, I am Isentropic and today we leave behind the hexagons of this planet and colonise a new planet, with new hexagons, in Civilization Beyond Earth.
Developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K, Beyond Earth is the newest instalment in the Civilization franchise. Departing from the historically based Civilization series, in Beyond, an event referred to as the "big mistake" has forced the human race to flea earth and search for a new home among the stars.Upon reaching orbit above the new planet the player is given the chance to choose their, Sponsor, or starting race, their colonists, their landing spacecraft, and their cargo. This series of choices at the start of the game is a great addition and gives the player better control, and makes them feel more connected to their colony.
There are a few more additions to the standard Civilization recipe that comes with Beyond Earth. An orbital layer has been added to city management, giving the player more outpost specialisation options. Quests have also been added as a side item to general colony management, and they act as a good grind breaker in long games.The tech tree has had a complete overhaul in this instalment and now follows a more web like, leaf and branch design. This tech tree design, coupled with a raft of new techs has me repeatedly starting new games just to test out each scientific branch. The social policies of Civ 5 have been swapped out in Beyond Earth, and have been replaced with Virtues, but for all intensive purposes, they still work the same.
The final change to gameplay in Beyond Earth is the introduction of Affinities. Affinities represent the overall aim of your civilization, and are gained through the pursuit of specific technologies. Players can choose from Purity, which focuses on terra-forming the planet, Supremacy, which is solely tech focussed, and Harmony, which aims to coexist with the new planet and its life forms. I love the Affinities, as the choice to embrace one over another changes the appearance of a civilizations' cities and units, and frankly having more paths to victory is always welcome in Civilization.
Everything else in Beyond Earth is the same as its predecessor, except with a sci-fi face lift, and it's in this, that I am completely torn about this game. On the one hand, the Civ formula is tried and tested, and I love it. But on the other hand, should a game developer be rained with praise for releasing what some might see as an expansion pack, masquerading as a new instalment? All I know, is that the subtle feeling of Alpha Centauri, permeating through every aspect of this game, coupled with the familiar, comfy undies sensation, that is the Civilization game model, was enough to sell me.
Civilization Beyond Earth is a great release and combines the extremely polished, 4X, turn based strategy of Civ, with a sci-fi setting. All of the new tweaks an inclusions to the game work perfectly, and are enough to make it feel different while remaining familiar. I will be expanding my colony into every adjacent hexagon for the foreseeable future, and give Civilization 8.5 out of 10.
Available on PC and schedule for release on Mac and Linux.