Civilization: Beyond Earth Review - Analysis Paralysis

Greg Tito

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Civilization: Beyond Earth Review - Analysis Paralysis

Even on a different planet, the rules of Civilization still apply.

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Jandau

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Considering that a lot of people (myself included) found Civ 5 to be overly stripped down, the very thing you list as a downside (plethora of choices, decisions and mechanics to manage) will likely be a good thing to quite a few players. Not every game has to be tuned to be "Baby's first strategy game" and it's nice to occasionally see one without all the streamlining and hand-holding.
 

Cowabungaa

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Jandau said:
Considering that a lot of people (myself included) found Civ 5 to be overly stripped down, the very thing you list as a downside (plethora of choices, decisions and mechanics to manage) will likely be a good thing to quite a few players. Not every game has to be tuned to be "Baby's first strategy game" and it's nice to occasionally see one without all the streamlining and hand-holding.
Yes, but for some reason I have the feeling that Civ5 as it is now with the expansions is a lot more complex than Civ:BE is now, at least from this review. Besides, streamlining is not a bad thing. The word has gotten a bad connotation but going back to its original meaning it's pretty awesome. Streamlining doesn't necessarily mean stripping away features, it can also mean presenting all your existing features in a different way. More intuitive, for instance. That's why I never managed to get into Alpha Centauri; it's UI is so poorly designed that it nearly gave me a headache.

But what's more important is whether the choices you make are meaningful or not. This review is making me a little wary that a lot of them don't seem to be. I'll be awaiting other reviews, but I do feel a little let down.
 

Jandau

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Cowabungaa said:
Jandau said:
Considering that a lot of people (myself included) found Civ 5 to be overly stripped down, the very thing you list as a downside (plethora of choices, decisions and mechanics to manage) will likely be a good thing to quite a few players. Not every game has to be tuned to be "Baby's first strategy game" and it's nice to occasionally see one without all the streamlining and hand-holding.
Yes, but for some reason I have the feeling that Civ5 as it is now with the expansions is a lot more complex than Civ:BE is now, at least from this review. Besides, streamlining is not a bad thing. The word has gotten a bad connotation but going back to its original meaning it's pretty awesome. Streamlining doesn't necessarily mean stripping away features, it can also mean presenting all your existing features in a different way. More intuitive, for instance. That's why I never managed to get into Alpha Centauri; it's UI is so poorly designed that it nearly gave me a headache.

But what's more important is whether the choices you make are meaningful or not. This review is making me a little wary that a lot of them don't seem to be. I'll be awaiting other reviews, but I do feel a little let down.
I agree that Civ 5 in its current state might be more complex than Civ:BE, but let's be fair here, it's had two expansion packs. At release, it felt like a lobotomized version of the older Civ games. As it is right now, it's alright, but it took a while to get there and not all of the changes were for the better.

That being said, streamlining isn't always a bad thing, but we often get too much of it, and I'd list Civ 5 at release as an example of that. Granted, it did draw in a lot of new players, but it also alienated some of the older ones. I'm not saying it's inherently a bad move (or a good one for that matter), just that I personally was disappointed by it and that I'm glad that they are doing something with a steeper learning curve and more upfront mechanics.

Not every game needs to be balanced the same way and all I meant with my previous post is that the tuning level which Tito complained about in his review will likely turn out to be exactly the thing a lot of people wanted. You can't please everyone all the time, but you can cycle through the various tastes, pleasing everyone eventually :)
 

StHubi

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That is a really good review although I will probably rate the game higher (2 stars extra because of fanboyism :)). There seem to be some issues with the game. Though I must say that it never bothered me that I could not forsee the consequence of each decision. Perhaps this makes a decision an interesting one? But that is probably also a question of personal taste...
 

Cowabungaa

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Jandau said:
Well, to rephrase myself then; the cutting of features is not necessarily equal to streamlining. Civ5 at launch was very much an example of both; the UI was a thing of beauty, and what they did offer they offered in a wonderfully clear and intuitive way. However, while its presentation was top notch, it didn't exactly present a lot yeah. Civ 5 indeed felt incredibly bare bones at launch.

And yeah that's why I'm waiting for more reviews; is Civ:BE a case of simply suddenly offering a lot more stuff, or is it a case of cluttered presentation? I still sort of fear that Civ:BE will still feel very bare bones in which case I'll wait for content updates and stick with Civ5 for now.
StHubi said:
There seem to be some issues with the game. Though I must say that it never bothered me that I could not forsee the consequence of each decision. Perhaps this makes a decision an interesting one?
I wouldn't think so. If anything it takes away vital player agency and input; you'll end up making arbitrary decisions. That ain't a good thing.
 

Gibbatron

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"An overall solid turn-based strategy game that suffers from information overload resulting in analysis paralysis for the player"

I can't help but feel this criticism only applies to the first few times you play the game. The game is designed to be played repeatedly, as you yourself said you would be doing, so once you've learned the rules information overload should stop being an issue as you get better at the game.
 

webkilla

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So... its not Alpha Centauri - but judging from TB's review then the startup bit where you choose sponsors, colonists and cargo looks quite nice. That seems to be a neat feature


The orbital layer/units seems neat. But it seems to be the only real difference from Civ5


And it doesn't have the unit customization of Alpha Centauri - nor the social engineering options, though the supremacy/harmony/purity thing seems to imitate that slightly - with the virtue system being VERY similar to Civ5's more historical themed social policies - but they're named purely as passive stat buffs... while in civ5 there was at least some fluff on it.

And the usual civ happiness system has been replaced with health. Ok... looks a bit weird - but I guess they wanted to look different.

That said, that the supremacy/harmony/purity affinity system unlock different ending options is really cool. And that the affinity system also ties into unit upgrades - that's neat

Though the range of units seems very limited - reminds me of that other game, Pandora: First Contact


Overall impression: Alpha Centauri is still more diverse and interesting - but this looks nice and I'll likely give it a go, but not at full price
 

Greg Tito

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Gibbatron said:
"An overall solid turn-based strategy game that suffers from information overload resulting in analysis paralysis for the player"

I can't help but feel this criticism only applies to the first few times you play the game. The game is designed to be played repeatedly, as you yourself said you would be doing, so once you've learned the rules information overload should stop being an issue as you get better at the game.
Yep, that's why I said fans will still enjoy it. Heck, I've put in more than 50 hours already and will play a ton more. I still think there's issues with the design though.
 

Ark of the Covetor

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Honestly I find a lot of the critiques you have a bit baffling.

You criticise the initial process of putting together your "spaceship goodies" because you don't have enough information to make choices, because you can't know what to take unless you know how the game will play out - how is that any different from picking a Civilisation in any of the previous Civ games? Literally the only difference I can see here is that in Civ:BE you get to choose what mix of benefits you get, rather than picking from a list of Civs each with a selection of fixed starting benefits. So how did you pick which Civ to play before? If you picked purely on which historical cultures you found interesting, maybe a sci-fi version of the franchise just isn't for you, which is hardly a fair reason to mark it down; if you picked a Civ based on which combination of benefits sounded good together or which fit the theme of how you were planning to play out the game, then exactly the same decision making process applies here you just have more flexibility.

In fact you seem to knock off two whole stars from your score based on a single point that you repeat over and over and apply to different areas of the game; "I don't want to have to make all these decisions, why isn't the game playing itself for me?".

I'm not a "Civ guy", Civ5 was the first one I've actually sat down and played seriously on my own, rather than just having a shot for a wee while round at a mate's house, so this is an honest appraisal not a reflexive reaction; I really do think giving it three stars on the basis that it was more complex than you personally expected it to be is unfair. For a lot of people that's not a negative.
 

dWhisper

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Civ 5 had a lot of similar issues at launch, being both stripped down and with a lot of tedious options for the stuff that was still there. It was one of the few games that was vastly improved through the DLC, going from a fan game to an all-holy time suck of a game. Hopefully we can see that here too, or see a lot of fan mods and the like to improve it as well.
 

Gibbatron

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Greg Tito said:
Gibbatron said:
"An overall solid turn-based strategy game that suffers from information overload resulting in analysis paralysis for the player"

I can't help but feel this criticism only applies to the first few times you play the game. The game is designed to be played repeatedly, as you yourself said you would be doing, so once you've learned the rules information overload should stop being an issue as you get better at the game.
Yep, that's why I said fans will still enjoy it. Heck, I've put in more than 50 hours already and will play a ton more. I still think there's issues with the design though.
I was wondering how long you'd played it for. Is it getting better?

I'm downloading it as soon as I'm uncapped, which is in a few hours. I'll be able to give my own take then. Of course, being a Civ game it will probably suck me into a different time dimension until I finish the first game.

One thing I have to ask. Does it suffer from the same UI lag that Civ5 did or does it feel more polished?
 

WouldYouKindly

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I'd advise anyone looking at this game to take a look at people who've been given pre-release copies. As much as a nearly hour long review can tell you, watching someone go through 300 turns both gives you an idea how to play and a much more complete view of the game if the player is competent.

That being said, most of the things Greg didn't like are exactly what I look for. Give me all that data, I'll sit and crunch through it while smiling.
 

StHubi

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Cowabungaa said:
I wouldn't think so. If anything it takes away vital player agency and input; you'll end up making arbitrary decisions. That ain't a good thing.
If I understood correctly the "mathematic consequences" are visible, but the effect on the game play is not always obvious (please correct me, if I am wrong). That makes a decision interesting. I could also imagine that a decision between two bonusses just branches into two different play styles. But whatever I cannot really judge this withour having played the game... Just 8 hours 24 minutes... I am waiting!
 

Greg Tito

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Gibbatron said:
I was wondering how long you'd played it for. Is it getting better?

I'm downloading it as soon as I'm uncapped, which is in a few hours. I'll be able to give my own take then. Of course, being a Civ game it will probably suck me into a different time dimension until I finish the first game.

One thing I have to ask. Does it suffer from the same UI lag that Civ5 did or does it feel more polished?
The information overload gets slightly better with each playthrough, yes, but the ramp up is not as quick as you'd expect.

I'm not sure what you mean by UI lag, but Beyond Earth definitely takes a long time to cycle through turns in the late game. The maps can be very big and the large number of units and aliens means there's a lot to process. Switching off unit animations helps but part of the fun of a new sci-fi game is watching them move and attack.
 

Belaam

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Looking forward to this unlocking tonight, but I'm a little confused by the question "Will it matter if this building gives +1 health or +1 science over the course of the whole game?" as it seems the author has experience with other Civ games. In Civ V, a granary gives +2 food, and I don't know that anyone questioned the value of building a granary.

It certainly sounds as though this game is a lot less friendly to players new to the genre, but as a rule of thumb, I don't expect to really understand the value of my choices in a Civ game until I have played quite a few games.
 

Xeorm

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Ark of the Covetor said:
Honestly I find a lot of the critiques you have a bit baffling.

You criticise the initial process of putting together your "spaceship goodies" because you don't have enough information to make choices, because you can't know what to take unless you know how the game will play out - how is that any different from picking a Civilisation in any of the previous Civ games? Literally the only difference I can see here is that in Civ:BE you get to choose what mix of benefits you get, rather than picking from a list of Civs each with a selection of fixed starting benefits. So how did you pick which Civ to play before? If you picked purely on which historical cultures you found interesting, maybe a sci-fi version of the franchise just isn't for you, which is hardly a fair reason to mark it down; if you picked a Civ based on which combination of benefits sounded good together or which fit the theme of how you were planning to play out the game, then exactly the same decision making process applies here you just have more flexibility.
In most civ games that I play, there's usually various levels of choice depending on how much the player wants to customize their choices. Here it's not an invalid criticism to say "you're having me make decisions that I have no idea about", and is why many civ-like games offer standard choices.

In fact you seem to knock off two whole stars from your score based on a single point that you repeat over and over and apply to different areas of the game; "I don't want to have to make all these decisions, why isn't the game playing itself for me?".

I'm not a "Civ guy", Civ5 was the first one I've actually sat down and played seriously on my own, rather than just having a shot for a wee while round at a mate's house, so this is an honest appraisal not a reflexive reaction; I really do think giving it three stars on the basis that it was more complex than you personally expected it to be is unfair. For a lot of people that's not a negative.
Reading it, I feel that the review is less that he's complaining about complexity, but more that the game is having him make decisions that aren't very interesting. My impression is that the decisions tended to be about math, where he didn't have enough context to be able to make an informed decision, or that they were tedious and boring and non-decisions. Too much of that can kill a game for anyone that's not into playing spreadsheets.

Compare, say, to early civ games. I start with a single combat unit, and a city that can build something. My build options are pretty limited, but not too dissimilar. For an expert player, building a warrior instead of a barracks (for example) can be a large choice, but still allowing for a newbie to make a choice without a huge possible impact. In not too many turns the difference will be pretty small because now he can build the other option if he wants. Meanwhile, if a building offers a game-long choice, that's a pretty important decision with long term effects. The player will want, because he knows that it will occur for the rest of the game, to make the "right" decision. But he can't, because he lacks the necessary game knowledge to make an informed decision.

That, and from all I've read of the game the main gripe I've heard is it lacks that sense of flavor. The game has a myriad number of choices, but they lack the sort of oomph that gave previous games that bit of life to them to make them more than a playable spreadsheet. I know that sometimes I thoroughly enjoy playing a spreadsheet game, but was hoping that this one wouldn't be like that.
 

Rastrelly

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Cowabungaa said:
Jandau said:
Considering that a lot of people (myself included) found Civ 5 to be overly stripped down, the very thing you list as a downside (plethora of choices, decisions and mechanics to manage) will likely be a good thing to quite a few players. Not every game has to be tuned to be "Baby's first strategy game" and it's nice to occasionally see one without all the streamlining and hand-holding.
Yes, but for some reason I have the feeling that Civ5 as it is now with the expansions is a lot more complex than Civ:BE is now, at least from this review. Besides, streamlining is not a bad thing. The word has gotten a bad connotation but going back to its original meaning it's pretty awesome. Streamlining doesn't necessarily mean stripping away features, it can also mean presenting all your existing features in a different way. More intuitive, for instance. That's why I never managed to get into Alpha Centauri; it's UI is so poorly designed that it nearly gave me a headache.

But what's more important is whether the choices you make are meaningful or not. This review is making me a little wary that a lot of them don't seem to be. I'll be awaiting other reviews, but I do feel a little let down.
I can't play the game yet, but what I see from review goes like 'OMG, they made Civ V too hard to play, that's bad' while Civ V even now is incredibly weak when compared to Civ IV or even III.
 

L. Declis

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Honestly, I just want a good, solid base game which I can have fun with and explore. I'm more irritated that Mac's cannot play, as I was going to have my first game with my fiancee. Now we have to wait.

On the plus side, I am disappointed that diplomacy seems to be lacklustre; in Civ 5, you have to be careful on who you piss off due to the happiness issue, but if favours really don't do much, then it seems a bit meh.

But maybe this is one of the those things which the expansion will fix; maybe they'll add a British Commonwealth race option as well.

Also, Greg, have you played any multiplayer games yet? How are those?

Have they finally fixed the Pitboss issue?
 

gamegod25

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"A good general or leader uses the information available to decide what to do, and I felt I was forced to make important decisions in a vacuum just to see what happened."

Um that's life, you can't always know exactly what to expect. Especially so if your leaving for an unexplored alien wold. As someone else pointed out, you don't know what the situation is going to be like either when picking what civ you want in the previous game. The only difference is you are making your own custom civ rather than picking from a handful of premade ones with predetermined bonuses.
 

Tiamat666

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Interesting review. Like some of the others, I'm surprised by some of your critique points concerning the decision making. In practically every game you start out being clueless, and only later do you start to appreciate the impact behind the choices that you make. Especially in Civ games. So I don't see this as a fault of the game at all, but rather part of the nature of games like this.

The tech web, units and setting sound very exciting, but the diplomatic "favors" do sound very wishy-washy to me. But the AI making ludicrous demands or refusing extremely generous offers is unfortunately a staple of Civ...

Still, I can't wait to play it, because I'm a sucker for Civ games. Especially for one that can be considered a sequel to AC.
But as always, I'll wait for the patches and for a 50% price drop.
 

Jburton9

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Hmm looks fairly solid so far based on the reviews, I really hope they add more Alpha Centauri stuff with the DLC such as the great faction and observation quotes. Also not having modular units is a bummer as well.

Since there will be fan feed back and room to grow perhaps this will round out into a bigger and more complete CiveBe experience. *keeping fingers crossed* heh
 

Shamanic Rhythm

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I don't understand a lot of the criticism levelled here. This sounds very similar in parts to either Alpha Centauri or Civ 5.

It certainly sounds like a Civ game based on the AI alone. "What's that? You want me to play by the same rules as you when it comes to diplomacy and give you a fair deal? Begone, peasant!"
 

TKretts3

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Cowabungaa said:
Jandau said:
Considering that a lot of people (myself included) found Civ 5 to be overly stripped down, the very thing you list as a downside (plethora of choices, decisions and mechanics to manage) will likely be a good thing to quite a few players. Not every game has to be tuned to be "Baby's first strategy game" and it's nice to occasionally see one without all the streamlining and hand-holding.
Yes, but for some reason I have the feeling that Civ5 as it is now with the expansions is a lot more complex than Civ:BE is now, at least from this review.
That's always a big issue with a franchise like Civ. Vanilla Civ 4 wasn't as complex/deep as Civ 3 with all of it's expansions and updates, so it got a lot of hate at first. Vanilla Civ 5 wasn't as complex/deep as Civ 4 with all of it's expansions and updates, so it got a lot of hate at first. Now Civ:BE isn't going to be as complex/deep as Civ 5 with all of it's expansions and updates, I hope we can skip the stupid hate throwing this time around. Either way, I have it pre-loaded on Steam and I am staying up late, lol. JUST ONE MORE TURN, I SWEAR TO GOD, JUST ONE MORE TURN!
 

Steve Waltz

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I was expecting this, sadly. When Civ 5 came out it was kind of lacking. Civ 5 turned into something fantastic after G&K and BNW. I?m sort of hoping that?s what?s going to happen here.
 

Abulurd_H

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Like others here I'm going to have to say that i think the critisism of information overload seems a little premature. I usually have to get to the 50+ hour mark before I really start getting a handle on what sort of impacts my early game decisions are going to make on my civ in the mid to late game. Which, to me at least, is kinda the point of these types of games. You are in for the longhaul, the first 30 hours is try shit, see what happens, ragequit when it turns to custard, rinse, repeat.

Having gotten a bit tired of Civ V I have been waiting quite eagerly for this game but then I discovered Endless Legend. It has ( among other things) heroes that you customise for city or army purposes and that can quite dramticaly change the way you play both short term and long term. I keep wondering how much more awesome a Civ game could be with such a feature.

Sucks to hear diplomatic AI is still broken, that has always driven me nuts about the Civ franchise, diplomatic choices become basicaly irrelevant and you are left with a race to conquest,science,culture etc victory. It would be nice to actually be able to forge alliances and build on them throughout the game and be able to know they theyve got your back instead of knowing that Montezuma will eventually say "Ha Ha. I tricked you. Have at you!" or that Washington will turn around and say " It's a shame that after all these years of peaceful and beneficial co existence and smiting of mutual enemies that you wouldn't give us 200 gold. You really should have given peace a chance. My battle ships and nuclear subs are on the way"

I will be holding out for the first expansion and a package deal on Steam
 

Flankhard

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Steve Waltz said:
I was expecting this, sadly. When Civ 5 came out it was kind of lacking. Civ 5 turned into something fantastic after G&K and BNW. I?m sort of hoping that?s what?s going to happen here.
I agree. Same case with Civ IV btw. I did not start clocking serious hours into Civ V before the expansions where out. This time I won't be supporting the game at lauch. I'll just hope there is enough fans out there that make sure the expansions get made.
 

Powerman88

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Greg I love you buddy but you're funny. This game has "analysis paralysis", but you still gave DA2 a perfect score. Yes I am still bringing that up years later. Yes I am still cranky about how unarguably terrible that game was/is on ALMOST every level. Yes I am still so salty about paying full price for that game based a lot on your review. Yes I still question your ability to review games as a result. I understand taste is subjective, but still you gave BE a considerably lower score than most everyone out there and gave a perfect score to a game where the glaring flaws are so prevalent throughout every level of the experience.

Granted I haven't played the game yet (doesn't unlock for half an hour), but still man. 6/10 for BE and 10/10 for DA2! Man I just want to really go and rip apart every paragraph of that review. I mean I suppose it has nothing to do with you enjoying and being able to recommend BE but still..... I am so unnecessarily salty.
 

Powerman88

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OMG how can I possibly enjoy this game knowing that Greg though Dragon Age 2 was a better experience?
 

themilo504

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I get the feeling that this game is probably going to get a lot better after a expansion or two, even so none of the flaws you mentioned look like things that particularly annoy me, so I?m probably going to pick up the game as soon as I have the money.

At the very least the game is almost certainly better than alpha centauri, since the games interface isn?t designed by somebody who hates the player, and the game doesn?t look completely awful even for 1999(most snes games look better).
 

Kahani

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Greg Tito said:
Gibbatron said:
"An overall solid turn-based strategy game that suffers from information overload resulting in analysis paralysis for the player"

I can't help but feel this criticism only applies to the first few times you play the game. The game is designed to be played repeatedly, as you yourself said you would be doing, so once you've learned the rules information overload should stop being an issue as you get better at the game.
Yep, that's why I said fans will still enjoy it. Heck, I've put in more than 50 hours already and will play a ton more. I still think there's issues with the design though.
This really doesn't make a lot of sense. Information overload the first time you play a game doesn't mean only fans will enjoy it, it means anyone who doesn't quit after the first ten minutes and actually learns how the game works might enjoy it. I haven't played it yet, but the three star score really doesn't make the slightest bit of sense compared to what you actually said in the review - the only criticism you gave is that you don't know every little detail of the game the first time you play, and that's not actually a criticism at all. You don't mention a single other thing that is supposed to be a problem (seriously, every single problem you mention is simply that you don't yet know what effect your choices will have), but still sum things up as "It's kind of shit, but hardcore fans might like it". Summing a whole game up in a single number is never easy, but you could at least pretend to make that number vaguely related to the review.
 

spartandude

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So ive been playing this game for a bit and im very much liking it. In fact i would say its much better than Civ V on launch, its just not as good as Brave New World however which is to be expected. I'm already anticipation the expansions for this game.
 

Belaam

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Played for a few (too many) hours last night and this morning before work. What I mainly we with the adjustments are a find tuning of all buildings. In Civ V terms it works out to "Okay, so your granaries produce +2 food, plus your choice of either +1 culture or an additional +1 food". I think eventually, it will work out to me planning ahead, but as is, I find myself using it as damage control (oh no, my energy is getting low, take the energy boost!). Other changes are more about terrain or play style - like the fence that keeps alien lifeforms at bay either having a radius of 3 hexes around the city or two hexes, but also protects caravans.

I find the interface kind of ugly, and the minimap in particular is sometimes hard early on to tell what is a landmass and what is water.

But mainly, I would agree that it is at least as good as vanilla Civ V, but not as rich as Civ V with expansions.
 

RedDeadFred

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Here's my take from only 5 hours with the game:

Pros:
-The improved spy system is a lot of fun.
-Orbital layer adds a fun new mechanic.
-Aliens are pretty neat.
-Being able to customize your start is awesome. However...

Cons:
-...I have a feeling that some of them are going to end up being clearly over/under-powered. For example, why is the option to start with a soldier in the same area as starting with a worker? Workers cost more hammers once you're in the game so I fail to see how starting with a soldier could give you any kind of better advantage.
-In many ways, it just feels like a lesser version of Civ 5 (with both expansions).
-Affinity seems to be this game's way of telling how technologically advanced your civ is. Yes, you can just rush them, but for the most part, the more affinities, the more advanced. In that sense, it kind of seems like there's only really 3. victory types with the 3 affinity based ones simply being spin-offs of science from Civ 5.
-Trading with other civs seems kind of pointless now that there's no lux resources.
-Kind of ugly compared to Civ 5.

That's just my overall impression so far, but right now, I'm a bit underwhelmed. To be honest, it just made me want to play more Civ 5 than anything... Still, it has a solid foundation for some expansions that could probably help the game out a lot.
 

Aurion

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Well. It wasn't likely I'd buy this right away after Civ V's initial release made me want to punch bunnies, and the reviews I'm reading are not encouraging the cash-splashing.

Wishlist'd, check again during steam sale.
 
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Beyond Earth always looked to me like a mod of Civ 5, so I didn't bother. The review semi confirms it. Steam Summer Sale (I propose we just have 'SSS' just be a stamp for games we'll get later because we don't think it's worth it now) Other than that, I have nothing of value to say.

Except for the Black guy. With his Arms splayed like that and the Gold Chains? Every time I see that picture, the same thing goes off in my head.

"These Space Bitches can't stop me. Do you Galactically Feel me?"

Yes, Celestial Pimp Ancestor of Sisko, I do happen to feel you.
 

Weaver

Overcaffeinated
Apr 28, 2008
8,977
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I agree with pretty much all of your complaints.

The game is far from perfect, and isn't quite the Alpha Centauri successor maybe we were all dreaming of but I don't at all regret buying it launch day and I'm really enjoying it.
 

Thyunda

New member
May 4, 2009
2,955
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Powerman88 said:
Greg I love you buddy but you're funny. This game has "analysis paralysis", but you still gave DA2 a perfect score. Yes I am still bringing that up years later. Yes I am still cranky about how unarguably terrible that game was/is on ALMOST every level. Yes I am still so salty about paying full price for that game based a lot on your review. Yes I still question your ability to review games as a result. I understand taste is subjective, but still you gave BE a considerably lower score than most everyone out there and gave a perfect score to a game where the glaring flaws are so prevalent throughout every level of the experience.

Granted I haven't played the game yet (doesn't unlock for half an hour), but still man. 6/10 for BE and 10/10 for DA2! Man I just want to really go and rip apart every paragraph of that review. I mean I suppose it has nothing to do with you enjoying and being able to recommend BE but still..... I am so unnecessarily salty.
DA2 wasn't terrible.

And like that, I have stripped your argument of all power.

Beyond Earth isn't amazing, but I think it deserves far more than a 6/10, I agree with you. Its complexity is actually kind of brilliant and my only complaint about the building choices is that I saw the same 'Augment' storyline twice in two games. I really hope that was a fluke and that there's actually far more variety.
My other complaint is that the world leaders are silly. What's the point in them? They are not famous people, they are not historic figures, they are invented characters to fill a gap, and I found this inexplicable. We're dealing with 'sponsors' rather than nations, meaning your 'faction' is the logo you slapped on the side of your spaceship and the nationality of the citizens you took aboard.
Why do I have to listen to the African Union guy tell me "No village was ever ruined by trade," every single time he asks for open borders? Also is the African Union a coalition of small villages and a spaceport? Why is he talking in terms of villages and nobody else shares the concept?
Also where are the Brits? That's slightly puzzling, unless the ARC is an alliance of British and American and Canadian (hence the French every now and then).

Anyway, yeah. This review seemed to detract too many points based on "It's really hard and the planet hates you," when that's the exact kind of thing you want from a 4x strategy.
 

shintakie10

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Sep 3, 2008
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Thyunda said:
Anyway, yeah. This review seemed to detract too many points based on "It's really hard and the planet hates you," when that's the exact kind of thing you want from a 4x strategy.
Its not that its too hard, its that the interface is just really bad. Why is there no way to actually see all your units in a list? Why is it that if you have a city with a queue and you're convertin somethin to energy there is absolutely no way to switch that without deactivatin the queue and then reactivatin it? Why is it literally impossible (unless I totally missed it) to see how civs feel about other civs? There was a nice button in Civ 5 that had a nice web that showed everyone's feelin about everyone at once.

As a long time Civilization player there were things that even I couldn't figure out, let alone my SO who wanted to give it a shot and never played a Civ game before. Aliens are disturbingly unforgiving and you absolutely can get screwed very easily by a siege worm decidin to eat all your units for lunch within the first ten turns. That's not cool.

A huge issue is that the UI is crap. Complete and utter rat feces. They stripped it down to the point that basic things are either hidden or completely gone.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sinkin a ton of hours into the game, but that doesn't mean there aren't some serious problems with the game that need addressed.

I will say one thing I really do enjoy is the game doesn't lock up my computer between turns like Civ 5 did when the game gets a lot later. Yes it still takes a second, but I can at least change menus, look at my cities, or go through the tech web. That's a much needed improvement.
 

Thyunda

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May 4, 2009
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shintakie10 said:
Thyunda said:
Anyway, yeah. This review seemed to detract too many points based on "It's really hard and the planet hates you," when that's the exact kind of thing you want from a 4x strategy.
Its not that its too hard, its that the interface is just really bad. Why is there no way to actually see all your units in a list? Why is it that if you have a city with a queue and you're convertin somethin to energy there is absolutely no way to switch that without deactivatin the queue and then reactivatin it? Why is it literally impossible (unless I totally missed it) to see how civs feel about other civs? There was a nice button in Civ 5 that had a nice web that showed everyone's feelin about everyone at once.

As a long time Civilization player there were things that even I couldn't figure out, let alone my SO who wanted to give it a shot and never played a Civ game before. Aliens are disturbingly unforgiving and you absolutely can get screwed very easily by a siege worm decidin to eat all your units for lunch within the first ten turns. That's not cool.

A huge issue is that the UI is crap. Complete and utter rat feces. They stripped it down to the point that basic things are either hidden or completely gone.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sinkin a ton of hours into the game, but that doesn't mean there aren't some serious problems with the game that need addressed.

I will say one thing I really do enjoy is the game doesn't lock up my computer between turns like Civ 5 did when the game gets a lot later. Yes it still takes a second, but I can at least change menus, look at my cities, or go through the tech web. That's a much needed improvement.
I suppose I didn't really make my military large enough to worry about needing a list for them. I tend to build up my infrastructure and only raise armies when I need them and delete them after - the infrastructure means I can whip up a formidable infantry in a couple of turns and hold the line while I construct the specialised stuff, so I can't really pass comment about the missing lists other than the fact I never noticed it.
I find the aliens' hostility is directly linked to the players' hostility - not just yours but everybody else's. The siege worm lived around my civ for the longest time and then suddenly attacked. A couple of turns later, his repeated assaults killed my soldiers but wounded him and he wandered off to bother someone else for a bit. In another game, my brother kept killing aliens near him and the ones near my base went total batshit in response, so I think there might be a connection.

And....uh...what's a queue in the context you're referring to?
 

Maze1125

New member
Oct 14, 2008
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shintakie10 said:
Why is there no way to actually see all your units in a list?
There is.
Click the little + to the left of the bottom right options.
 

Li Mu

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Oct 17, 2011
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Shamanic Rhythm said:
I don't understand a lot of the criticism levelled here. This sounds very similar in parts to either Alpha Centauri or Civ 5.

It certainly sounds like a Civ game based on the AI alone. "What's that? You want me to play by the same rules as you when it comes to diplomacy and give you a fair deal? Begone, peasant!"
I find Civ5 diplomacy to be utterly pointless. In my current game I had long standing relations with India. We traded and I gave them luxuries for free when they asked for them. Our relationship was completely 'green'. We'd even gone to war with common enemies.
Then, in one turn, for no apparent reason, they denounced me. The very next turn they declared war and we were completely 'red'.
There was absolutely no logic behind what happened and it was a complete waste of time nurturing a relationship with them.

I also hate how the trade system is idiotic. I ask for some horses. In return they demand 9000000 gold, uranium, my balls and 5 of my cities. OK, a bit of an exaggeration, but it's ALWAYS completely nonsensical.

So, I was really hoping that CivBE would address these huge flaws. Perhaps I should have expected them to remain. They haven't bothered to address the terrible AI over the last 10 years of CIV games, so why would they bother now?
 

L. Declis

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Apr 19, 2012
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I think that the Diplomacy is so half-arsed, that we are looking at some kind of "Diplomacy" expansion.

I think now, having a game or two under my belt, that this game REALLY pushes you to being a militaristic bastard. There just isn't enough ways to punish people diplomatically (think Trade Embargoes or Sanctions or Standing Army Taxes) that you can ONLY do something with a crap-ton of military.

I also think they need to sort out their resources; I honestly don't bother with Firaxite or whatever and I only ever felt the lack when I was sorting out Xenomass stuff.

Also, Contact is about 2x as easy to win as any other victory condition.

And taking a city in this game is kinda bullshit; either you steamroll over it, or you can hold off an army with the city, a flier and a single decent infantry unit.

Also, the aliens become a non-factor really quickly; I was playing Harmony and hoping the aliens may help me survive (as I was, you know, being the only human helping them). No, they just went off somewhere. Sigh.

On the plus side, it's a fantastic game, and I think there is plenty of areas for an expansion to fix things.
 

NRVNQSR86

New member
Mar 29, 2011
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It's an good review, and the game uses potential interesting concepts, but it's an that flawed execution, that the potential of renewal gets lost. Especially if you also consider that the diplomacy (which got nerfed in Civ V vanilla to an all-time low) is now really about non-existant.
Keeping an tab on more then a few things already gets an totally encumbersome task due to the scrapping of some essential UI-parts for that... So no, atm I'm none too impressed.
I really hope they really do some free major content patches, because they really screwed up. 2K won't like it, but this state of the game is just bad. Not as bad as eg Total War Rome 2 (I guess it's an safe assumption that any profitmargin on it for Sega and CA got majorly drained), but there are quite a bit of fixes needed.
 

bluepotatosack

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Mar 17, 2011
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I'm finding the end game far more interesting than it was in vanilla V. There seems to still be far more to do, and I'm enjoying the other leaders reacting to your affinity. Being accused of tossing aside your humanity is pretty great.

Bottom line: I will say that it doesn't have the same charm that the traditional Civ games have, but I find the gameplay itself to be more engaging.
 

angryscotsman93

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Dec 27, 2008
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webkilla said:
So... its not Alpha Centauri - but judging from TB's review then the startup bit where you choose sponsors, colonists and cargo looks quite nice. That seems to be a neat feature


The orbital layer/units seems neat. But it seems to be the only real difference from Civ5


And it doesn't have the unit customization of Alpha Centauri - nor the social engineering options, though the supremacy/harmony/purity thing seems to imitate that slightly - with the virtue system being VERY similar to Civ5's more historical themed social policies - but they're named purely as passive stat buffs... while in civ5 there was at least some fluff on it.

And the usual civ happiness system has been replaced with health. Ok... looks a bit weird - but I guess they wanted to look different.

That said, that the supremacy/harmony/purity affinity system unlock different ending options is really cool. And that the affinity system also ties into unit upgrades - that's neat

Though the range of units seems very limited - reminds me of that other game, Pandora: First Contact


Overall impression: Alpha Centauri is still more diverse and interesting - but this looks nice and I'll likely give it a go, but not at full price
Yeah, can't blame you for a sale. Full disclosure- I never really got around to utilizing the orbital layer too much, and I was even playing SlavFed, whose big thing is the fact that their orbital units stay up 20 percent longer. Still, I've enjoyed the game a lot. Nothing beats playing an army of Slavic cyborgs on a conquest trip.
 

zumbledum

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Nov 13, 2011
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Well ive managed to log 40 hours into it now and its steadily grown on me. the review if you can call it that is wrong in many places for example aliens do not attack on sight on will leave you alone unless you stray within 2 tiles of a nest then they get territorial on your ass.

the tech web is not really very complex but the branch/leaf idea is excellent combines with the web you dont even have to take 1/3 of the techs available to reach the end tiers allowing for a far more focused civ building experience. infact if anything this needs more rings and things added not simplified.

the "terraforming" ability you have is much more developed than any other civ game since AC. you can actually generate new basic and strategic resources there are techs and virtues to increase just about everything (for example the starting generators go from +2 energy to +6 energy +1-2 resource) farms can either be entirely optional or turned into the backbone of your world. starting at a mere +1 food and possibly ending up +4 with culture res and science boosts. you actually need to plan and think of what techs to go for to suit the area you are in.

the unit upgrade system is a marked improvement to me. in civ 5 you start with 4 str warriors and end up with 100+str units making early games things utterly irrelevant. but in this its closer to 5X power gain instead of 25X power gain making the tech power creep far more gentle.

the covert ops are much better than any spy system civ has seen before but it probably needs either toning down or the AI upping to be better at countering it. as it seems a tad overpowered right now.

there are some areas that do need some serious work. the victory conditions for example there are 4 which are basically the same science victory, one domination and a timed one.
the diplomacy is a straight copy paste of civ 5 in implementation but without the constant annoying open border request spam.
The AI players are not as distinct as they normally are , lacking both normal civs racial background and ability or AC's ideological distinction. the fact affinities are nto exclusive and you actually want to pick up a decent amount in all is counter intuitive but i guess it works when you work it out.

on the whole im very impressed with it. i would rate it higher than civ 5 after its two expansions at launch and its nice to see the series head back into a more "hardcore" direction though in my opinion it still falls short of the legend that is alpha centauri.
 

Strazdas

Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
8,407
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0
it seems that almost every negative aspect you named is actually a positive aspect for me, so this is definitely going on my list of games to buy.

Kahani said:
the only criticism you gave is that you don't know every little detail of the game the first time you play, and that's not actually a criticism at all.
to be fair he does mention micromanagement hell a couple times, namely with trade routes, and that CAN get exhaustive (remmeber HOI 1 convoy babysitting?)
 

Reynaert

New member
Jan 30, 2011
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I've played 3 games so far and I quite like the game. The tech-web is appropriate to the futuristic setting and allows you specialize much more than is the case in Civ5. I do wonder if every sponsor has a favourate affinity. ARC seems to lean towards Harmony in the games I played, don't know about the other though.
 

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
12,070
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Ok, I've logged in 4 full games now, Quick pace, first two on Gemini, next two on Soyuz. And while A LOT of stuff has just been copy pasted from Civ 5 and just painted with a different color, that's good AND bad. Good means I don't have to adjust to the new game much, I mean I only lost the first one I played and won every other, each time a different way, more on THIS issue later.

Anyway, about Civs, or Sponsors, their diplomacy only seems to be affected by their affinity and the amount of tiles between your and their borders, which is kinda lacking I guess, it means they're all pretty much the same, there are no unique units and unique buildings as much and that really doesn't specialize any Sponsor in particular like every Civ game before it did.

Your military might is dictated only by your affinity which may or may not be achieved by churning out the beakers, that Quest system is a good idea but a bit messy sometimes.

Culture is a tad useless, it's practically only useful to allow you to expand faster but with enough money energy you can just pick up the best tiles, flip off your neighbor and just be on your way. Same goes for policies virtues which aren't really all that useful, well, only some of them are but including a bunch of crap ones as prerequisites is a bit dickish, I kinda don't remember Civ5 being that way but eh.

Which brings me to my biggest issue, on Soyuz which should be the second hardest level, the game is just BEYOND PISS EASY to win, I mean I can't be that good because I struggled on Civ5 Immortal so I guess I should up the ante and if I can still get easy wins, there goes your alert.


All this being said, the game is kinda lacking, they're likely going to include lots of new features kinda like Gods and Kings did to Civ5 but it might just be a dead end game that should have been a revamped Alpha Centauri but instead ended up being a "Civ5 in space"