Civilization has typically been a game about rewriting history. You start off far into the B.C. and work your way forward, learning technologies such as the Wheel, mathematics, and atomic theory. But what if instead of rewriting history, we could be presented with a blank canvas on which to write our own new history? One of Civilization’s many paths to victory is completing certain technological researches and acquiring the means to build a spaceship to send your civilization to space. Beyond Earth builds upon that ending and creates a beginning to a whole new story.
Stepping into Beyond Earth, I thought I could take my previous Civ 5 strategies and import them into this new title. Needless to say, that didn’t work. In my next game, I tried using the adviser system but found myself on auto-pilot throughout my time playing. Finally, I decided to do exactly what the story is implying you do; I just learn as I go. Civilization: Beyond Earth may be running on the same engine as Civilization V, but the mechanics of the game are far from it. New gameplay mechanics such as Affinity and the new technology tree, or “web”, as this game has it, provide a fresh new twist to the standard Civilization formula.
Beyond Earth is very stunning in its presentation and does provide an intriguing new play style to the board. A wide variety of aliens, who replace barbarians, make starting a new game very interesting. They aren’t afraid to attack you early in the game. Miasma also changes the game up quite a bit, as it not only heals aliens who end their turn in a tile with this gas, but damages your units.
That’s not to say the game is without its faults. In everything new that Beyond Earth brings to the table, it excels. But in parts that it shares with it’s bigger brother, Civ 5, it fails dramatically. A paltry amount of civilizations combined with very little content that can’t provide that whole new game feeling leaves me almost wanting to stop playing and go to back to my content-filled Civ 5 save.
All in all, when deciding if this game is right for you it comes down to a few factors. If you enjoy exploring a whole new world and a brilliant twist on the Civilization formula, this might be a good title for you. If you prefer dealing with the ways that we have learned in our history books and don’t want to fight giant siege worms that are attempting to pillage everything on turn nine, you might want to just stick with Civilization V.
Great Twist, But I'm a Purist
Gameplay - 9/10
Plot - 7/10
Design - 8/10
Despite the flaws Beyond Earth has, it’s still a great title. I found myself plays way more into this review than many other titles I have had. Part of it was my love for all things Civilization, but the other was just general curiosity of the boundaries that could be reached in this new title.