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Civilization: Beyond Earth Review

Civilization: Beyond Earth Trainer
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Civilization: Beyond Earth. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience.
 

Reviewed on: PC
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Rated: "E10+" for Everyone 10+

 
CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki
Presentation 8/10 
Firaxis may not have reinvented the sci-fi style with Beyond Earth, but it does do what's come before quite well. Colors pop and the world animated quite well.
Gameplay 9/10 
There may not be many huge improvements to the series here (besides the obvious change in the setting) but the slew of small improvements are almost all welcome additions to the established formula.
Lasting Appeal 9/10 
Just like the previous games in the long running franchise, Beyond Earth is best when you're able to play long and extended games with two nations jockeying for position.
Overall 9/10 
Fans of the franchise will love where Beyond Earth goes, and there's never been a better point for new gamers to jump in to one of the medium's most beloved franchises.
CHEATfactor 7/10 
 

Civilization is just as much of a gamble as it is a safe bet for for legendary creator Sid Meier and developer Firaxis. While it does build on the success of one of gaming's most beloved franchises, it also takes it to places it's never been, and though it does have it's fair share of misses, the results are wildly positive. With Beyond Earth, Firaxis takes Civilization in an interesting new direction, but it also feels like some of the most pure strategy gaming you've played in years thanks to a slew of small but significant changes to the established formula. If you're a fan of the Civilization series, you simply can't miss Beyond Earth, and if you've been waiting to jump in, here's the best chance you've had in quite some time.

Beyond Earth owes a lot to it's most recent predecessor, Civilization V; so much so that anyone the least bit familiar with it (or any of the other more recent Civ games for that matter) will feel instantly at home here. Battles still take place on a the hex-based field and your end-goal is still the same, bring your area and it's people to a golden age via either diplomacy or ruthless aggression. Yes, Beyond Earth is familiar enough, but it's where that familiarity ends that the game really starts to get interesting. Where the previous Civ games were based in well-known world history, Beyond Earth takes the franchise to the not-so-distant future and the furthest reaches of space, and the result is undeniably interesting and fun.

"...takes a lot of the repetition out of the early sections of the game."

 
   

You'll start the game off as the leader of a small pod of survivors who have jettisoned Earth in an effort to find a better life. One you land on your first Alien planet, you'll choose your philosophy out of three and begin to build your new home. Your philosophy choice effects a lot more than you think, even if you've played previous games in the series. Your choice has a profound impact on everything from your relationships with AI controlled nations, your resources and research speed and pretty much anything you can think of. While it may seem like this affinity system is too overbearing and micro-manages a game that's all about choice, it opens up the game for more dramatic decision making later on down the road and also takes a lot of the repetition out of the early sections of the game.

Where previous games in the franchise had your scientists racing to be the first to discover historic inventions like the Wheel and Nuclear Power, Beyond Earth puts the focus on futuristic weapons and technologies. My first few times with the game, I longed for the old-days since there was a steep learning curve of having to figure out just what path I wanted to focus on more so than previous games, but then it hit me - this was how the Civilization franchises was meant to be played. For the first time in a long time I was focused more on discovery and research than just trying to find the quickest path to victory. I know what big discoveries like the Wheel and the Printing Press can lead to, but a Thorium reactor? That one isn't so easy. It was a bit refreshing to dial such an established series back to it's roots and in a way, feel like I was playing it for the first time all over again.

There's a slew of seemingly small changes to the established Civilization formula that those who have played for years will recognize right away and welcome. Chief among these changes is that your citizens happiness is no longer directly linked to the amount of resources that are readily available to them. Instead, more emphasis is placed on specific construction and quick reaction unhealthy and threatening outside forces. It can be a bit more difficult to keep a large number of citizens happy, but it also seems more manageable and even more rewarding when you're successful. It feels like each time I play Beyond Earth, I'm constantly finding new improvements that make it such a fun game to play.

"...makes exploration and research more of a treat, and less of a task."

 
   

There's almost a level of detail in Beyond Earth that doesn't seem necessary, but seems to fit right in place with Firaxis and the Civilization series. It's in the gorgeous way that your troops are animated on the field, or the simple way that a robot goes about his task. Beyond Earth doesn't exactly reinvent the science fiction style but it does look absolutely gorgeous and makes exploration and research more of a treat, and less of a task.

All this isn't to say that Beyond Earth is a perfect game though, as it certainly has it's fair share of stumbles - chief among them being issues that have haunted the series for years. If you're in the middle of a game and having even decent enough success, the end-game can feel like a very slow slog. During several of my games I found myself highly engaged in a huge amount of the game, but then was removed from the immersion when I was just coasting and waiting for the game to end. Lower ranking enemy AI can still get desperate and go on suicide runs for almost no reason too, leading to the game getting even easier. All of these seem like small little nitpicks though when a game is this enjoyable.

One more turn, I just kept telling myself one more turn. I've played the Civilization series for years, in fact some of my first gaming memories are experimenting with the game on our first true PC, but I've never felt like the game was this refreshed and this inventive. Beyond Earth takes a lot of chances and most of them pay off widely to create something that builds off the previous iterations of the franchise but creates a unique identity all it's own. Fans of the franchise will love where Beyond Earth goes, and there's never been a better point for new gamers to jump in to one of the medium's most beloved franchises.

 
 
CHEATfactor
 
CHEATS USED: Reset Unit Moves, Fast Research, Add Harmony, more
 

The trainer from Cheat Happens for Civilization: Beyond Earth is a lot like trainers for the previous games, but that's not necessarily a problem. With the trainer you'll have access to everything from reseting your unit's moves and speeding up processes like building and research. I particularly liked the cheats that allowed me to easily make my citizens happy like adding food, purity and harmony.

Stick with Cheat Happens for more on Civilization: Beyond Earth!

 
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