Exploring Uncharted Planets In Civilization: Beyond Earth

In the newest Civilization: Beyond Earth gameplay video, players are “writing the future of mankind.”

In this particular instance, the player has chosen write the future with the “Purity” affinity.  Purity is focused on preserving, glorifying, and creating the ideal version of humanity. It means that this particular affinity is going to be the peaceful route for players to take once they sink their teeth into Civilization: Beyond Earth.

During the video, players are shown a skill tree named “virtues.” From previous videos and interviews, we know that virtues are essentially a new form of “social policies” like that in Civilization V.  Virtues are bought with culture and they serve the purpose of allowing players to receive certain perks. For example, in the video, the player chooses “Technoartisans,” which grants the founding player the ability to “earn extra science equal to 25% of the culture you generate.”

Although it may have just been for the purposes of the video, it seems like players will now be able to choose their virtues no matter the location on the tree. If you have enough culture to purchase the more powerful virtues, you can bypass ones that you do not want.  This will make for interesting playstyles, as players may want to exert all of their time into receiving culture and reaching that one big item they’ve had their eye on. But for fans of Civilization, we know that focusing all of your efforts on one front will leave you weak in other areas.  Will that virtues buffing stats be enough to risk having a weak and timid military? The choice is certainly yours.

Something that makes my heart grow brighter is that Firaxis is doing away with those pesky barbarians. However, in their wake they have brought along other forms of threats. The AI narrator, which will also be known as Master Control, tells the player that an offshore enemy has just arisen near the border of the their city. A Kraken is revealed and the player is told that it poses a large threat to trading and naval units. Although the player made quick work of the beast, this extra level of gameplay means that you must constantly be on your toes, even when your naval units are secure in your harbor. Imagine coming across a Kraken early in the game while you are trying to scout distant land. I’m guessing that it wouldn’t go too well.

At the end of the video, more combat is shown when a neighboring force, ran by a cybernetic human focused on the Supremacy affinity, decides to place his military at the players border. Master Control offers her analysis by claiming that a declaration of war will likely occur, so the player may as well be the first one to strike.  As the player is taking their turn, Master Control is guiding them towards the best possible outcome. Followers her directions, the battle is secured.

Master Control may be an interesting new addition to Civilization, but it also seems like it could get pretty annoying, especially once players have placed several hours into the game.  If previous Civilization games are any indication, players will thankfully have the option to turn this feature off whenever they so choose.

As somebody who has close to 100 hours placed into Civilization V, I am happy to see that Beyond Earth is coming together nicely. As we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Civilization: Beyond Earth, be sure to stay tuned to The Game Fanatics for more coverage.

Civilization: Beyond Earth will be released on PC, Mac and Linux, October 24th.

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