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A game I am not playing right now is Civ - Beyond Earth.

 

I own Civ 5, and have just sat through a couple of video reviews on Youtube.

 

The reason I am making the post is not just to give a space to discuss it, but because I think Firaxis have been making two key mistakes in recent years. Although no doubt you'll all have your own reactions. 

 

1. Combat 'balance'

The combat system is still trying far too to be balanced. I've given this quite a bit of thought and believe that you cannot have combat with a consistent rule base, and make every faction equally capable, yet different. war in the real world rewards certain behaviours; you can't just ignore that. But in Civ everyone gets an equal 'shout', because multiplayer. Which is just foolish.

 

 

2. Passion

I didn't get the impression with either Civ 5 or this game that it had been made with passion. There were no little curlicues of design excitement scattered around. You DO see this in - for example - Alpha Centauri's voiceovers.

 

I don't know what causes this, but suggest that it's probably game project management being _too_ professional. "No, Anil, you can't add in a cool widget, because that's not what the agreed design spec is, and I need to come in on budget and on time."

 

But the pint for me is that a civ game eats _hundreds_ of hours of my life. I don't want a carefully prepackaged boring suare brown box. I want something that's known a little love and excitement.

Edited by Walsingham

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Yeah, I heard players describe it as a "Civ V mod".

 

Also it doesn't have the unit customization of AC.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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It has a slightly weird feel to it.

 

It's like playing Civ V.. but it's not.  The basics are the same, but handled in a slightly different manner. Then everything else grows from there.

Frankly the only reason I picked it up was I realised I had some coupons and got it silly cheap from Goodman Games and I needed some mental distraction that wasn't stressful.

 

You can slide into almost auto-pilot in playing it because everything is so similar. But because of all those small differences in what things do and how they work will mean that your "normal rules of Civ play" don't actually work and you need to start poking at it from another angle.


"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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Honestly I lost interest when I found out the civ options were basically "Oh all the Asians got together and made a country and all the Africans got together and made a country etc".

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I think part of what you miss is a sense of individuality in the various cultures and leaders.

 

There's nothing in game to really differentiate them. Nothing storywise, just some minor gaming mechanics, a bonus to this, a bonus to that. In several short games, they've all gone different ways, so it's not like they apparently always take the same affinities either. Sure, you have a "this one is more military, this one is more espionage, this one is more economic" but no really serious depth to them.

 

Even with Civ V, the different leaders all had their own personalities of sorts, and each culture had it's own unique feel to lesser or greater degrees.

 

Edit:

 

Also, building Wonders doesn't really feel that wonderful. Doesn't really show up on the city, and you get some basic "moving blueprint" thing with a small quote that's vaguely philosopher-sci-fi when you build one. All they are are various in-game bonuses.

Edited by Raithe

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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I've never been the biggest fan of Civ but I enjoyed Call to Power, III and IV for what they were. My problem is that you can't really simulate history in any way (like with Paradox games or even Total War) - but once you treat it as a cute gamey blobber it shows its addictive side.

 

Having gotten Civ 5 for free a while ago and never bothered with it I've been doing multiplayer with a friend, and it's definitely a much easier and much more simple game than its predecessors, and also losing a fair bit of charm. It works well as a casual game because 1 unit per turn and other changes means a lot less sloggy micromanagement, but the AI is fundamentally stupid beyond belief and you realise soon that you might as well be playing by yourself. (I coudl never go above Warlord/Prince in previous versions, now I can play almost the highest difficulty.)

 

My friend got Beyond Earth and enjoys it but yes, it really does look in every way like a Civ V reskin. It has nothing to do with Alpha Centauri, and I'm not sure it's worth getting at all unless you really loved Civ V and want more.

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The worlds are pretty neat.  The science tree is also off the hook.  I don't regret my purchase, but yes, I can see the Civ V expansion talk.

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One gripe I have. 

 

I'm interested in going back to Earth and freeing the people of the old ways. But I have to take a certain path to do that. The path I'm on, which is pretty much going native with the alien planet and adapting yourself into it, well I would have to get points in another path in order to build a giant portal to Earth. 

 

No! I wanna build it without having to divert technology points in useless techs in order to get my purity points up. 

 

Otherwise, good game, I'm having fun. 

Edited by NKKKK

Ka-ka-ka-ka-Cocaine!


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I wish I could have my trade routes renew themselves without me picking it every time. It gets really tedious late game when you have a lot of routes and options on where to send them. Just keep going where you've been going the last 50 turns.


Free games updated 3/6/19

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I did a short review of it on metacritic under the nick Varyag.

 

The gist of it is this - its Civ V dressed up in some of the trappings of SMAC. It has neither the depth the ideas present in that game, nor the writing, none of the flavor - if it wasn't published under the Firaxis name you could be forgiven for thinking its an indie product.

 

The budget for the game was obviously modest. No movies for secret projects, no diversity in actors for the quotes (which are embarrassingly bad this time around for the most part)... there's even no summary screen once you win a game! In fact, when you "win" all you get is a little text box... after enduring the 50 or so turns it takes to create a portal and get earth refugees through. There seems to be little variation between affinities - you basically pick one at mid game and stick with it because of the unit upgrades it'll bring you - whether you're going for that particular victory or not. All the victories are basically the same thing - multi step quest like sending the man to space + SMAC ascent to transcendence in the Harmony affinity. 

 

From a mechanical perspective the game suffers all the flaws of Civ V - tight constrained maps (I played on massive map size by the way) that are impossible for armies to navigate, leading to few cities overall. To keep the map from filling up most things take too long to build and research takes ages so you're left twiddling your thumbs particularly in the endgame where turns can last forever but there's absolutely nothing for you to do - so you'll just switch your cities to produce research and hit next turn until you win. 

 

To curtail expansion even further cities become outposts prior to growing to cities, which just means an added ten turns after plopping down a settler before you get an operative city. Like Civ V happiness, you get health as a global expansion limiting mechanic, that you can get around with some base improvements. 

 

Since you can buy anything with money there seems to be a huge dis-balance in favor of money vs production. It simply pays more to make a money making civ and buy out anything you want while at the same time producing most things almost as fast as everyone else.

 

The AI is sh!t. There's no other word for it. I was never attacked in a 300+ turn game, even though they ganged up on another player who almost won - they were happy to let me build my way to victory. From what I saw of the AI warfare, it doesn't seem to be very good at it.

 

The diplomacy is the same Civ V nonsense. With no tech trading, map trading and other things I'm accustomed to I had no reason to use it at all. The AI's constantly ask for exorbitant sums in any dealing, unless they come with the same deal first so there's no point offering them anything. I did have some success trading strategic resources though so I could build new units that ended up mowing the lawn at my borders.

 

I don't recall how this was solved in previous civ games but the strategic resources are in fact a limited thing - if you say have 5 floatstone and your Purity special unit costs 5 it all gets used up on that single unit and the only way to get it back is to destroy that unit. So I had a fancy Lev tank for 5 floatstone, but if I wanted a Lev destroyer for 7 I had to destroy my tank (!) and come up with another two floatstone leaving me broke yet again. And there aren't that many of these strategic resources around. 

 

The tech web is the same as all tech trees, superficially its a non linear affair but in fact to level up your affinities you're going to get techs scattered all over the web (which means getting all the ones inbetween that lead to them) and since the cost increases as you expand outward from the center you're locked in a gradual circular expansion and end up researching almost everything anyway. By the time you've maxed your affinity you have almost all the techs barring the ones that boost other affinities.  So, its nothing new or really innovative but it is a pain in the ass to navigate. The tech's themselves are boring --- getting all the way to another planet to research Physics, Biology and Computing is kinda ridiculous.

 

They knew that the gameplay lacked depth and substance so they tacked on periodic quests to give you something to do. These quests are always the same with each playthrough and they give you a small reward. As one long time poster here would put it: Ha! Good fun!

 

Factions are dead. Its nations now, with leaders that have no personality or uniqueness whatsoever. . They aren' based on ideology so there's no incentive to pick one over the other. They're just one bonus you'll pick when starting a game. They don't play any different.

 

Another feature that died on the way to the new planet was social engineering. No longer can you flip the nature of your civilization within a few turns. Instead you get culture. With culture you buy Virtues. Virtues are small permanent bonuses. Anybody who played SMAC knows how thoroughly you could change things with the 16 or so options in the social engineering panel. Here there are like 50 options and out if them at least half are irrelevant trash buffs that you pick because you want the next one in line.

 

Comprehensive terraforming - gone. Unit customization - non-existent ( you get to pick between 2 perks on upgrades, yaay, affinity levels give auto upgrades). No planetary council. 

 

Wonders are utterly useless, sometimes worse than a tile with an improvement (they usually just give a bonus to something, no game changing effects)

 

Bottom line:

Civ BE is a mediocre product by the standards of the company who made it. There can be no comparison between it and SMAC. The Civ V framework proves to be a fundamentally flawed one yet again by comparison to previous Civilizations. It is simply a game with less depth and less fun than a 15 year old title and I don't recommend wasting money on it. 

 

If it had flavor it could be decent. As it stands its just not worth recommending. 

 

PS: trade routes break the game. More bonuses on a single route than all the city tiles your're working!? Two routes out produce and out tech most cities. They're also insanely  annoying. 

Edited by Drowsy Emperor
  • Like 5

И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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Yeah, after watching some lets plays I have to say its boring as hell. All factions are same, virtues are boring, units are boring, hell even new planet is boring. I dont see any reason to go for it


I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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I've gotta agree with everything Drowsy Boo says (good to see you posting.)  I would say it's a decent little expansion, but not worth the full price.

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Thanks Hurl, good to see you too.

 

Other things that seem like choices but really aren't: strategic resources. Each affinity tends to use one resource for its special units, and since you're going to lean towards one affinity by default, you basically have no need/opportunity to make use of the others. I think Purity relies on floatstone, Harmony on xenomass and Supremacy on geothermal or firaxite. Other resources see more use across affinities but these are basically locked, the same way unit upgrades are locked.

 

 

I tested a game where I emphasize energy almost exclusively - and its as I said, I'm swimming in cash and able to buy out anything I please in two turns on average.  I'm able to buy more than I need at turn 150, which is relatively early in this game (why buy production enhancing base improvements when they'll bleed my treasury?), which is basically a no no in a strategy game. If you're swimming in resources, then the game economy has basically crashed.

 

The thing that makes this strategy even more cheesy is that it stops cities being dependent on placement. You can make any city into a money factory merely by making generators around it and spamming solar orbitals on it + picking the energy enhancing virtues.

 

Basic resources are supposed to be co-dependent but money flat out crushes production and food is less relevant since its in your interest to have more cities with less population to keep your health level up as opposed to having each city grow uncontrollably. With more cities you get more trade routes which dump loads of free resources on you that you wouldn't otherwise get.

Edited by Drowsy Emperor
  • Like 1

И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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I kinda like the quotes you get with techs, wonders, etc. They're quotes from the made-up leaders of the factions, and emphasize that they're just as stupid as real leaders.

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Well, I made my money empire but couldn't take it to the end because in a fit of stupidity the designers made everything but wonders and endgame projects available for purchase.  So I got to the end... and the mind flower project said 50 turns due to my low production. I can buy a building that has half as much production value in two turns of gold collecting, so I'd finish the game in 4 turns if it wasn't for yet another artificial barrier the designers impose to save the game from its wonky economy.

 

Now, the previous thirty turns were spent launching solar orbitals and clicking on trade routes so I'd rather commit seppuku with a rusty fork than wait 50 turns for the thing to build.

 

The AI failed to attack me yet again in 260+ turns. In fact, no one attacks anyone in the game it would seem and everyone is content to play their own civilization themed solitaire.

 

So, in less than what a single turn of trade route management would take I won a ascent to transcendence victory by uninstalling the game and transcending to something else.

 

 I hope they skip making expansions for this one and go straight to Civ VI.

Edited by Drowsy Emperor

И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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I played the demo.

 

I think I'll pick it up next year on sale when both expansions are out and it has the resolution fix.

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Waiting until Firaxis finishes the game is the plan.


Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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I was sooooooper-doooooooper excited about it (Second Coming of Alpha-Centauri and all that jazz,) but then I did research and it sounds like a Civ V mod, so I'll wait for a 50+% discount on Steam. Whilst playing Civ V: BNW off-and-on the whole time.

 

From what I understand, it sounds like a replacement of barbarians with tentacle monsters of varying sexuality and replacement of interesting historical Civs with less interesting fictional space-Civs.

Edited by AGX-17

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Tentacle monsters never go away though, and they grow stronger as the game progresses. 

 

But, going down a certain path you can become friendly with them and produce xeno porn. 


Ka-ka-ka-ka-Cocaine!


Z9SVsCY.gif

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