Beyond Earth, But Not Beyond Expectations

Acroamatis October 31, 2014 User blog:Acroamatis

This seems as good a place as anywhere to express my opinion - I don't think Beyond Earth quite lived up to my expectations of it.

This isn't to say that I haven't enjoyed my playtime - it's still a Firaxis game, which means that it's solid, play is enjoyable, and the game is relatively well-balanced.  And pretty.  But there are still a few bones of contention I have.

  • Gameworld details.  The designers may have been trying for "vague and mysterious", a la Mitchell and Webb's "Event", but I want to hear about the Great Mistake.  What was it, exactly?  Who was involved?  How did the sponsors come to be?  The civilopedia, in addition to having a somewhat obtuse interface (more on that later) is startlingly bare of the kind of rich detail that _makes_ speculative fiction.
  • Art.  The world itself is intensely pretty, and the various units (of which there are too few, but that's not necessarily a dealbreaker) look great - but the art for the various technologies is practically nonexistent, and the art for the wonders is worse - I want something _pretty_ for my work.
  • Victories.  The victories (that I've seen thus far, at least) are intensely underwhelming.  It may be something from an older era, but after the opening cutscene in this game, I want the same kind of thing for a victory.  An emancipation victory should show my faceless troops marching back through the Gate to Earth.  I want something more than a two sentence blurb in the same damn interface window we saw from Civ V.

So yes, overall, underwhelmed.  I'm still glad to be playing it, but if it'd been 50 euros (as it was across the pond), I might be  feeling a bit ripped off right now.

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