I really tried to like this game but I have to give it a thumbs down.
- the game lacks personality.
- the leaders are bland.
- diplomacy is worse than Civ V
- colour palatte/graphics make it hard ot distinguish tiles
- buildings are boring and non-descript
- wonders are underpowered and unimaginative
- there are better games out there (Endless space, endless legend, Gal CIV III (when it comes out).
Don't buy it.
(1) Leaders: It's certainly been said before, the leaders are boring. They have no personality. They're animations are basically the same as well.
(2) Diplomacy: Civ V's diplomacy was a huge stepdown from Civ IV but what made it passable was the excellent leader animations which made the model tolerable. With BE, you have the exact same diplomacy from V but with bland leaders.
They had a real opportunity to make this game stand out but they decided to add in feature after feature rather than refining what was there. One common complaint regarding Civ V was the diplomacy but it seems the Devs here could really care less. Too bad. Great diplomacy could have rescued this game
(3) Graphics: Certainly the graphics are different than what you see in V but they are ultimately forgetable and very frustrating. The biggest complaint I have is it's impossible to tell what some tiles are without hovering the mouse over them. On some planets you'll have purple tundra which looks very simlar to purple grassland which looks similar to plains. ARRGH.
(4) Too many buildings: I think what ended up happening is when they were making the game the Devs realized you run out of things to do quickly since the game isn't very deep. Hence, they added more buildings to give you something to do with your cities rather than just allocating them to wealth, research, production. The end result is you get building 1 which give 1 health, and building 2 which gives 2 health and 1 science, and building 3 which gives 2 health and 2 science. None of them are interesting or something you'd b-line a tech to get because it will help you. They are all forgetable.
(5) Wonders are horrible: Wonders in every Civ game were something that ultimately could give you a good boost. In BE they are basically slightly more powerful verisons of the normal buildings you'd already build but they cost 5-10 times as much. I don't even remember the names of any of them. Again, they're forgetable.
(6) Victory conditions are too similar: Three of the 5 conditions are pretty much the same: Build special building, then in 30 turns you win the game if you remember to click the buildling every turn (yes, this is a simplification but that's pretty much it). Again, forgetable.
Really the entire game is: forgetable. There are other games I'd try before spending any money on BE. Endless space, despite it's shortcomings really had more charm and gameplay. Endless legend is way better.
If you doubt my review, check out the latest game play stats. Despite getting a huge patch a day ago the number of players hasn't jumped beyond 6200. Civ V, 4 years since release, is still at 35000.
Firaxis dropped a rare bomb here. I truely hope that the Devs who worked on this don't play any significant role in Civ VI.