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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.

From the top: A broad range of benefits fall under the Personality system, and I actually feel like some are waaaay overpowered. For instance, my “Insightful” trait, maxed out, gave me 12 Science per turn for each of the five agreements I was able to initiate with other factions, for a total of 60 Science per turn. That’s huge. It took me a while to get to that point, but even at the end of the game that single trait was responsible for about half my Science output alone. I anticipate some rebalancing in the coming months.

The second and third aspects are pretty self-explanatory, but let’s dive into the fourth: Agreements. Firaxis has trashed the old “I give you open borders and this technology, you give me this money” system of negotiation. Instead, relations between factions are always in one of five states—War/Sanctioned/Neutral/Cooperating/Allied, and each state comes with its own benefits (i.e. Cooperating allows for open borders automatically).

Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide
The list of potential agreements gets pretty exhaustive towards the end of the game.

Factions that are neutral or higher can then initiate Agreements, wherein they trade some of their Diplomatic Capital each turn for some benefit, like military units are less expensive to maintain. Agreements are specific to the leader’s traits, so each will typically have different ones to choose from.

Basically, it’s a complete overhaul of Diplomacy, and I think it works for the most part—although as I said, certain traits seem way too powerful at the moment. I enjoy it more than the old system though, which always seemed needlessly overcomplicated.

Will it blend?

The last change is more a refinement than an overhaul. Firaxis has expanded the Affinity system from Beyond Earth to allow for “hybrid affinities.” In the base game, you were basically forced to mainline a single affinity to get the best units and access to the affinity-specific endings.

The latter hasn’t changed, but Firaxis seems to have expanded how many technologies provide affinity bonuses (and updated the UI accordingly) and also made it so you’re not all-one-or-the-other. If you’re half-Purity, half-Supremacy for instance you can unlock unit upgrades that fall somewhere between the two. Here’s an example of three possible unit upgrades (out of six in this tier):

Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide

Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide

Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide
And somewhere between the two.

Your cities will also show as blended, such as part-Purity architecture and part-Supremacy. It’s a smart update, although tying three of the five endings to single affinities without adding any for hybrid players feels like a mistake.


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