BreakingModern — Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is the latest installment of one of the longest-running computer-game franchises of all time. Sid Meier has been making notable and often award-winning games since the early 1980s, and Beyond Earth doesn’t disappoint. If you are a strategy-game fan and have been looking for a new game to hold your interest and challenge your skill, then you owe it to yourself to try Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth.
The Final Frontier
Those of us who have been playing strategy games for a long time will recognize Beyond Earth as the modern embodiment of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, which was originally released in 1999. But Beyond Earth adds a few twists on that older game. Twists that keep the gameplay fresh and wonderfully engaging.
The basic premise is that the Earth has become uninhabitable for reasons left to the imagination. The remaining governments of the Earth have launched colony spaceships to find a new planet to live on. This is where the player starts to make decisions that will impact the rest of the game.
Players have to decide which government they will initially represent, what type of personnel will be included, what equipment will be stored and which technology will be available when your colony is first established. All of those decisions have to be made before you even start the game.
That is the beauty of a strategy game, especially a Sid Meier strategy game. Every decision impacts every next decision, only you cannot always foresee that impact. I cannot get into all of the potential decisions here, but suffice it to say Beyond Earth will exercise your brain like no other game around.
Affinity and Beyond
There are a few new decisions to be made while you play a game of Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth. Probably the most-obvious and, as it turns out, most-important decision to be made is the choice of an affinity. This is a new concept for Beyond Earth and it is the cornerstone of the game.
The affinity you choose will determine how you will interact with your new planet environment, which in turn will lead you to specific victory objectives. In a nutshell, the affinity you choose for each game will be one of the following:
- Harmony - Embrace the planet to evolve into a hybrid species
- Supremacy - Embrace technology to evolve beyond humankind and the planet
- Purity - Reject the planet and technology to remain as human as possible
Which affinity you choose for each game will largely depend on the resources you find as you explore the planet. A bit of strategy advice: Choose an affinity to follow as soon as you can because that choice will determine how you work your way through the technology research web and, ultimately, how quickly you achieve victory.
This is another twist to traditional Civilization games. Instead of a hierarchical research tree, Beyond Earth‘s research tree is an interconnected web of choices. During the course of the game, you will have to move through the tree in all directions, depending on how the game is playing out.
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is the latest incarnation of what has been dubbed the 4X strategy game: Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate. But Beyond Earth is more than that because it has added layers of subtly that will keep any strategy gamer happy into the wee hours of the morning. If you are a strategy gamer, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is a must have.
For BMod, I’m Mark W. Kaelin.
Feature image credit/All screenshots: Mark Kaelin