Top Critic Average
It still comes up short on character compared to the best Civs and, of course, Alpha Centauri, but it's without doubt less anodyne than before. Diplomacy, however, seems to me like a significant misfire even without the bugs – the question of your place in this new world, and in relation to your rivals, remains unresolved. I suspect Beyond Earth's road to recovery has only just begun.
A few of my complaints from last year remain - the user interface could still use some beautification and the tech web is borderline impenetrable for first-time players. But Firaxis has made some smart choices with Rising Tide. It's starting to distinguish itself from Civilization V finally, and not just in terms of the way units look. Playing Rising Tide - especially on a water-heavy map - feels appreciably different from previous Civ games.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that Beyond Earth fully captures the feel of the Earthbound Civilization games yet, but Rising Tide makes for a far better game than the original.
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide is a well developed, superbly balanced, and refined evolution of the original. It's a classic example of what can be accomplished when developers and gamers learn from one another to make the best experience possible. If I had known that buying the original could have lead to this, I may have done so twice. Even if you only liked the first one you're going to love this.
Rising Tide brings other content to Beyond Earth as well, from new factions to new planet types. But these additions pale in comparison to the systemic changes Firaxis has made. There are bothersome issues with the new diplomacy approach, and some of these mechanics are too obfuscated to call excellent. But Rising Tide encourages new ways of thinking, and lends character to a very impersonal subject. That old Civilization mantra still echoes, just like it used to: One more turn.
Fans of CivBE will want to pick this one up. While nothing groundbreaking has been added, the new features flesh out some gameplay from the original, and add the new frontier of aquatic colonization. Perhaps a little heavy on the micromanagement, the overall pace of the game retains that "one more turn" quality.
There's still work to be done – the end-game still fizzles out unspectacularly, and it's disappointing that each world's exotic alien lifeforms still act as little more than troublesome barbarians – but Rising Tide is an excellent first step on the road towards a better Beyond Earth.
It's not often that I stare at a game's menu screen for a few moments just because it looks so good. That's exactly what I caught myself doing the first time I loaded up Civilization: Beyond Earth with the Rising Tide expansion installed.
To use a Civilization V metaphor, this is "Beyond Earth: Gods and Kings,": it adds a few new things, adjusts a few others, but overall doesn't really have much impact on the core game. The mechanics are still there, but it's sort of ironic that this expansion adds in aquatic combat, since the thing it seems to lack most is depth. It's a coat of paint, not a deep fix.
'Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide ' includes a lot of great new content that fleshes out the existing mechanics of 'Beyond Earth.' While this expansion doesn't take any big risks, and some new research or victory conditions would not have been remiss, it is a shot in the arm for the already excellent 'Beyond Earth'.
It's a hard balance to strike, thematic purity with mechanical accessibility, and for what it's worth I think Rising Tide does the best that any game could hope to do with those two opposing forces as stated goals.
Nearly every complaint with the base game has been handled with attention, though the new diplomacy overhaul comes with its own unfortunate issues. But that aside, Rising Tide is an essential purchase for Civilization fans who want to give Beyond Earth a well-earned second chance.
A useful expansion that unlike most doesn't ignore the failings of the original, although even with the improvements Beyond Earth still isn't as engrossing as the real Civilization.
At the end of the day, Rising Tide accomplishes precisely what it needed to for the Civilization franchise: it provides a good reason for those players who drifted away to potentially jump back into Beyond Earth, and it provides a timely injection of new content for those players who needed something more to continue sticking around. There are still flaws with the overall experience, but based on this reasoning alone, Rising Tide must be considered a success.
Civilization's anything-can-be-traded-however-unlikely diplomacy system was a key element of the game and seems to have been removed and the war and peace system is broken as stands. Hopefully this will all be patched at some point, the way Beyond Earth had a significant patch history, as Rising Tide brings a number of positive changes to the table.
Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide is an enjoyable expansion pack that offers numerous new features and improvements. However, it's not quite the leap forward that some Civilization fans are hoping for.
Given the cost of this expansion I find it hard to recommend. £24.99 is simply too much to ask for the changes and I can't, in any good faith, recommend that. The highest praise I can offer Rising Tide is that it's finally moving Beyond Earth in the right direction. The inevitable Game of the Year Edition (maybe after more patches and another expansion) will no doubt bring many people back; but until then I'd wait for a price drop.