Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
Top Critic Average
It is a wonderful love letter to fans of 'Alpha Centauri' and certainly one of the best turn-based releases this year.
It's funny, there's a lot about Beyond Earth that I'm not too sure about and a fair number of mechanics that could be better. Yet it's incredibly playable and just as addictive as every other Civilization game. It's incredibly easy to lose a lot of time while playing, which is a testament to how the game can really get the player involved. It's ever-present that the game has a tendency to force the player down a certain path, lacking the overall freedom of something like Europa Universalis IV. Yet when the path is as beautiful, thoughtful and fun as Beyond Earth, it's not exactly a challenge to walk that path over and over again. It does indeed feel like a reskin of Civilization V, but it's a skin that the game wears quite well.
The new Civilization game gives you more of what you expect from the franchise without much to blow your socks off.
It's Civ, but not as we know it… and that's a good thing. The focus on choice and adaptability on the alien world allows players to deal with new challenges on the way to taming this new frontier. It's not a flawless effort, but provided you can overcome the slower pacing of progress, the addiction of going yet another turn is absolutely there, making Beyond Earth a highly enjoyable entry in the Civilization series.
Civilization: Beyond Earth is my game of the year for 2014
Passive AI and lackluster online support from the community isn't enough to make Civilization: Beyond Earth a total wash. If you've enjoyed the series over the years, you'll likely spend many hours with this entry as well. It deviates just enough from the excellent Civilization V to be a worthwhile experience, and it offers a different pace than its predecessor, so even though it's not a significant upgrade, it's still pretty remarkable.
Beyond Earth is just as innovative when it comes to the mechanics of the turn-based strategy series as Civilization V was before it and gamers will need a bit of time to become accustomed to the increased customization, the tech web and the powerful challenge posed by the alien life.
Beyond Earth grasps its topic less firmly, but more fully, insisting that whatever future comes to pass won't be the only future that might have been. Truth be told, though, Beyond Earth likely won't have quite the staying power of either Alpha Centauri or Civilization V.
If you ever want to play another game again, this series is not for you. But, if you had to pick only one to play for the rest of your life, Civilization: Beyond Earth would be a solid choice. The various factions and Affinities will ensure multiple, robust playthroughs, each presenting unique scenarios that will encourage the player to strategize in challenging new ways with each file. I look forward to my next 400 hours with the game.
If you're a fan of the series and you're not short of money, then Beyond Earth is worth getting. Otherwise, wait for a sale or buy Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri instead.