The last Civilization V game I played was about a week ago. For those that don’t know, Civilization V (Civ 5) is a strategy game where you build up cities and armies and basically try to be the best country among a small group of similarly competing countries. Sounds boring to you? Who cares, it’s the greatest game ever.
My last Civ 5 game was against the AI, Deity difficulty, huge map size. After watching Marbozir do it for so long, I thought, why not? It was my first time playing deity and I kind of screwed myself over by going for the huge map setting. That’s because, if you’re playing against the computer on deity level, they have the resources to churn out cities and sprawl across the map like a swarm of locusts.
But I also had the pleasure of being Atilla’s neighbor. If you have any inkling of what Attila the Hun is like from your history books, then you have an idea of what I had to deal with. Nothing better than having your capital right next that guy with the battering rams who just loves the war thing. Needless to say, I didn’t progress as well as I had hoped.
There’s not many people who don’t know my
addiction to fascination with Civilization V. To put it in terms you can quantifiably appreciate, I have logged in excess of 1360 1369 1374 hours on that game. Go ahead, check my steam account. It’s plastered right there in thin, steely-grey font.
The truth is, I’ve had to put it aside and force myself not to play in order to even have a chance at doing other things. And I still get an intense urge to play it more often than I’d like to. The phrase “one more turn” has never been truer than when it comes to me and this game. There have been plenty of times where I’ve started playing from 11 pm at night to 11 am in the morning. That’s really not an exaggeration.
So imagine the happiness/horror when I discovered that they were coming out with a new Civilization game. This time it’s all about space and future and stuff. Titled Civilization: Beyond Earth, the game basically aims to be a spiritual successor to Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, a previous game in the Civ series that focused on colonizing a planet in the future as well. Some of the same concepts are there, apparently. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never played Alpha Centauri. But the developers at Firaxis Games have been pretty enthusiastic about making it clear that it’s not a direct sequel to that game. Not that I care. Since, like I said before, I never played it.
Beyond Earth has a lot of new features previously never seen in a Civ game before, although I’m more than sure they’ve been in other games of the same type in one form of another. The ones I’m most interested in are the Technology Web and the unit customization. Ever played Final Fantasy 10? Well they had this wonderful thing called a Sphere Grid. You basically started in a specific spot on the grid and was able to branch out into different directions to pick up certain traits and abilities by following a certain path. Customization came from taking alternate routes, or you could specialize by going deep into one portion of the grid. At the time, I thought it was the best way to level up rpg characters EVER. I was completely wrong about that, but I still like the idea of a Sphere Grid.
Well the Technology Web is similar enough. Rather than the linear tree system of previous Civilization games, technologies are presented in a web-like configuration. You can go in any direction you like while researching, and there are multiple paths to reach a particular technology. It would be impossible to learn everything in a single game, though, so you’re forced to pick and choose what works for you, and it also has an affect on the look and feel of your civilization.
Unit customization goes hand in hand with your research choices of course. It’s a little different this time around, though. Previously, researching certain techs gave you access to different types of units. You could gain exp and customize your units through promotions which served to make your units more powerful and useful. In Beyond Earth, you have a number of generic units you can make from the very start of the game. Rather than grabbing newer and better units through technologies, you unlock promotions through the technology web. All units will gain access to these new promotions which will help to future customize your units. But even this is limited, so you have to be careful in your selection. No backsies.
There are a lot of other features that set Beyond Earth apart from the previous Civilization series, but those were the two that stood out the most to me. It’s enough to make me consider diving back into Civ again on October 24, when the game is supposed to see its PC release. And no, Attila , you can’t come.