I have played around 80 hours of this game and after playing multiple times on max difficulty (Apollo), I can safely say that I would not recommend the game in its current state. I've finally managed to break my personal record with a turn 145 standard speed victory with Harmony due to the massive amount of oversights the game has.
Right now a ton of features are imbalanced or broken which is very problematic in a strategy game. Let's list them here:
-Trade routes are either too numerous, too strong or both. The ability to spam cities just to increase trade route that will imediately pay for themselves is fundamentaly broken. Their strength belittle a lot of other mechanics making them the only real strategic purpose.
-The mechanic supposed to slow expansion doesn't work and is ineffective (health). The panalities for expanding are laughable in comparison to the benefits. The system to get health is anyway badly designed as this is a global ressource mostly acquired through local bonuses... this makes it very hard to get positive without investing virtues. But at the same time it's very easy to stay positive since you can spam local health until you reach each city threshold.
-The main strategy due to those two previous points is to just spam cities and trade routes. But trade route interface is horrible making the only relevant strategy a hassle to play.
-The UI is worse that the previous game. For no reason. The scales are wrong, colors are terrible and the iconic way of representing buildings units and technologies is lazy. It's very hard to know at a glance what an icon represents. It's a shame considering the wonderful art design of Civ 5.
-The terrain tiles are very hard to distinguish at a glance from one another, especially in fungal maps. You can activate Tile Yields or play with a mod to help for this though.
-The 3 affinities were presented as 3 very different objectives but they are basically all a form of a science victory. Just get the required techs, build the wonder, wait and win. Exit, culture victory, diplomatic victory. Now you have Domination, 3 science victories and Contact is basically a luck victory if you find the right artifacts....
-The game is incredulously easy to beat even on the hardest difficulty. The AI is pathetic, not agressive enough and still awful at fighting wars.
-The spy system that was advertised as deeper than civ5 is weak. It takes way too long to use the additional options from spies unless you use an exploit. And even it's not very interesting.
-Favors, advertised as a way to manipulate AI ended up falling flat. It's only purpose is to exploit the AI to get many loans of gold.
-A quest system is in the game but some quests are bugged and many decisions in them are just stupid bonuses that never feel like a choice due to the terrible balance of the options.
-No civilization leaders, lack of soul. No leader introductions with voiceovers, barely any context.
There are some stuff I like:
-Combat animations and unit models
-The tech tree and virtue tree
But that is it. And sadly the rest make it an unworthy challenge for any strategy fan.
It's really with astonishing wonder that they got so much stuff wrong after 5 years of civ5. A game that was heavily copied to get this one.
If you have never played Civilization 5, please buy Civilization 5 Complete instead of Civ:BE. It's a way more interesting product. It has more issues but you will find a lot more appealing than this one. If your a fan of Civ5 but are a little bored this may entertain you for 50hours or so but be warned.
This review was made with v1.0 Maybe some patches will fix some of my issues... maybe.