Beyond Earth (BE)
doesn't feel like a Civ game. Sure it has many similar features & mechanics, and you'll know most of the basics from the first turn, but numerous other changes just don't sit well with me, feeling unbalanced & unintuitive.
For many Civ fans, winning their space victory and seeing their rocket set off for the stars always left you wanting to continue the journey, one day. There was Alpha Centuri off course, but BE
is not AC. BE
is set about 500 years into the future, a dying Earth, the remaining civilizations (conglomerates of existing nations)
reach out to the stars in hope of survival.
One of the first issues you will encounter is the new tech-web. Not necessarily a bad concept, when there is some logic behind the progression. In Civ, this is natural, as a player you understand the significance of your technological advances (its intuitive, part of our collective human history)
. In BE
where there is no basis, no lore, no previous history created to help the player understand where you are starting from at turn one. Most of the sayings, names, wonders or civilizations for that matter hold little meaning or interest.
Technologies for the most do not seem to have any logical steps once you step out the inner circle (few that are familiar like Computing, Chemistry etc.)
of the tech-web. It's symmetrical, not organic and although you appear to have so many more paths to potentially explore, in practice I found I just wanted to get the affinity ones primarily as fast as possible to get various bonuses/buildings but most importantly military upgrades. Tech-web is bland & overall is very hard to follow. You will revert to always using filters to make any sense of it all.
Military Units now upgrade rather than becoming superseded. I really like this idea, although I don't like the implementation. Your upgrades are seemingly tied to your affinities, along with requiring certain techs to build some units. These steps up in strength can make a huge difference and when all your units instantly upgrade. You can have a war turn instantly on you! It’s a flaw (or perhaps a limitation)
; these steps should be more gradual. In Civ, this happens as you cycle through and upgrade new units into your military over many various iterations. In BE
, there might be 4-5 main iterations over a game per unit type. This can represent significant stats improvement to receive automatically which seems to widen later in the game. Unit upgrades should be far greater in frequency considering the limited number of unit types and should involve other techs, not affinity related too (maybe more minor improvements but still help players keep pace if exploring other parts of the tech-web)
. Going a smaller arsenal also should have a high level of customisation than simply choosing the affinity. Affinity is also tied to your victory conditions adding further to its importance.
I did like the aesthetics & more intense colours used in the alien landscapes and thought the musical score was excellent (so was the intro video!)
. UI was good in places (liked the colours again)
, but confusing in others. It seems BE
is almost a stats free Civ & other management features seems very cut back to almost non-existent. This simply adds to the confusion when you cannot assess how you are tracking. All feels a bit dumbed down really, even further than Civ V. Feeling less strategy, more plain luck at times. Please bring back the stats!BE
is also cut back in other respects, such as no more intros for leaders, no more wonder videos or cool narrators. Diplomacy, is none improved from Civ V and the generic leaders have no personality. Doesn’t really matter much of the time anyways as games mainly turn to war (seems after 500 years nothing’s changed :lol:)
. One little hex of Miasma clearing can turn your friendly neighbour to the brink of war. AI flip-flop consistently and there is little you can do to avoid it, making it a better approach just to avoid them all together where you can or go strong and wipe them out.
Aliens on the planet are an improvement over barbarians, but still not terribly intelligent (or aggressive)
. Worms are cool!
Although the health (happiness from Civ)
is less penalising if you go in the negative, I have found it harder to keep in the green. Depending on your tech choices you can find yourself very limited in improvements to counter expansion. I would have liked to see both health and happiness included as different measures, and more flexibility to manage your cities. There are more improvement options for your workers which is nice, but being the future, I would have liked to see options to better evolve your landscape.
Satellites (Orbital Layer)
are another addition to BE
. This could have been a really awesome feature improvement. In practice, I found myself using it very little, as often you had limited choices in launches, and they don't seem to stay in orbit very long for the turns used to build. I would have loved to seen this fleshed out further, options for upgrading satellites to make permanent or increase coverage. Using Miasma killing satellite can send you to insta-war too, so I found myself avoiding using it.
Another annoying feature in the late game is having to keep setting your trade routes every few turns. You have so many to manage too it becomes incredibly frustrating!BE
has bravely tried to be something unique, introducing some new mechanics to the well-established Civ world. Some of it is interesting enough to experience a few times, but overall this world feels generic, unbalanced & frankly uninteresting. Too much of what makes Civ addictive is lost in BE
and I come away feeling a bit dirty about it all, especially knowing the premium price charged (should add overcharged for us Australians at approx. ~$80USD)
for what is at most an expansion in terms of real content.
For me, this is the biggest disappointment of the year, but Firaxis are known for good after release support, so I am desperately hoping some balance patches and more content might make this more enjoyable. As a big Civ fan I will keep my eye on future progress, but at this stage, in its current state, I don't see it holding my interest for many more turns.