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Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide expansion review: Lifting all ships

Hayden Dingman | Oct. 9, 2015
We take a look at Beyond Earth's first major expansion.

Just make sure you’re playing a map with a lot of water if you want to explore all the expansion has to offer. I had a ton of fun playing on the archipelago-esque planet “Fungal Tau Ceti D,” but something land-locked would basically negate two-thirds of this expansion—not just the aquatic cities but all the new naval units and aliens too.

Diversify your portfolio

Those with an aversion to water need not fear, though. Firaxis has done more than fill out the oceans.

And to be honest I think the biggest change is going to be the most controversial. We’ll see. Firaxis has overhauled Diplomacy in a big way for Rising Tide, fundamentally changing a system that’s existed in more or less the same form for...oh, twenty years?

Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide
The tech web is now more colorful, making it easier to spot affinity-related techs.

It’s in part a response to the pervasive complaint last year that factions didn’t have enough personality. Sure, there was the “American” faction and the “French” faction and the “Russian” faction and et cetera, but these weren’t people we knew. There was none of the kinship you’d feel in traditional Civ when playing as Gandhi or Washington or what have you. Beyond Earth’s factions were mostly interchangeable.

Rising Tide doesn’t necessarily fix this—it adds a few new factions, including some with corporate (instead of governmental) origins, but by and large the figureheads running each are still pretty interchangeable.

But it does at least surface what tactics each faction is pursuing. Leaders now have up to four personality traits, divided into categories—Political, Military, Domestic, and one that’s unique to your leader. While the unique trait is locked, you’ll choose the other three over the course of the game or change them on the fly to fit your play style. This is all governed by a new currency, Diplomatic Capital, which you earn each turn and which can be spent on units/buildings if you have a surplus.

Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide
Choosing a trait.

Traits serve a number of purposes. 1) They provide your faction with material benefits. 2) They give you an indication of what aims the AI leaders are pursuing. 3) The AI will base whether or not it likes you based on whether your actions match their traits. For instance, someone with a lot of military-focused traits will gradually start to dislike you if you don’t maintain a large standing army. And they’ll tell you they don’t like it, over and over and over again. It’s a bit annoying, actually. 4) Each trait you choose allows leaders to make “Agreements” with you. This replaces the old-style negotiation system.


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