Among the ways to win in past Civilization games has been building a rocket that takes your nation to the stars. Civilization: Beyond Earth takes that concept and makes a game out of it, letting you play out the Civ experience on an alien world.
Some concerns have been expressed that Beyond Earth is too much like Civilization V for its own good, looking and feeling and too much like an expansion pack. Others feel the refinements it offers are more than enough to justify beingan entirely new game. One thing I think we can all agree is that having a satellite-based laser weapon is totally awesome.
We've gathered up a sampling of the first reviews for Beyond Earth below. For more, check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic.
"[T]he path to victory is more elegantly interwoven with the early and middle game this time around, and of course, global domination, ever the crude way out, remains as tempting as ever when another world leader shows up uninvited to talk some smack. The more things change, the more they stay the same, then; a journey to a planet halfway across the universe reaffirming the draw of the same old creature comforts--a plot of land, and just one more turn." - Nick Capozzoli [Full review]
"Civilization: Beyond Earth is an immensely pleasing simulation of a future human society, struggling to survive on a new planet. It presents the player with a constant stream of challenging and intriguing choices. Packed with big ideas about science and science fiction, it meticulously interlocks dozens of strategic gaming systems that work together at a level that approaches genius." - Colin Campbell [Full review]
"This is how Beyond Earth succeeds in spite of its similarities to Civ 5. It offers a game steeped in the traditions and mechanics of Civilization, that's nevertheless surprising and new in often unexpected ways. I've conquered countless civilizations on the planet Earths of each various Civilization game, and each time it's felt like reinventing a fantasy version of the past. In Beyond Earth, victory feels like living in--and forging--humanity's future, and I can honestly say I've never had more fun building a civ 'to stand the test of time.'" - Russ Pitts [Full review]
"Beyond Earth is nowhere near the strongest game in the more than 20-year-old Civilization series, but this big collection of interesting experimental ideas definitely still kept me playing long after I should've gone to bed. The Affinities and streamlined military upgrade system, and a colorful change of scenery make it worth the time to figure out the difference between Protogenetics and Surrogacy, and suffering through temperamental alien wildlife." - Dan Stapleton [Full review]
"Inevitably, it's not really a game about space and aliens, even though it effortlessly got me googling Bracewell probes and the Great Attractor. Like the best [sci-fi], Beyond Earth is about humanity--more so, perhaps, than Civ itself is. Here comes Earth, eh? So filled with contradictory certainties and lofty dogma, so ready to forget its principles when greed takes over. The wider mechanics, meanwhile--with that web, those quests, all those new choices--are emphatically concerned with distracting you from your dogma and even your self-interest, with distracting you from one strategy by offering so many others." - Christian Donlan [Full review]
"Civilization: Beyond Earth takes some getting used to, even for longtime Civ fans. Although the game has more than a fair share of quirks, I believe that it has the potential to become a much better game. While the Affinity system lacks the kind of personality and flexibility that other Civ games have, I'll admit that it is an interesting twist. Even after multiple playthroughs, I can't really say that I'm completely comfortable with the technology web. Perhaps it's because a web makes for more indecision than a straightforward tech tree. Or maybe it's because I'm one of those people who can't decide between a creating a giant robot or a giant bug to crush my foes. Despite its faults, Civilization: Beyond Earth does fulfill its promise to take you to a distant world, where you'll find exotic alien life, meet future leaders of mankind... and conquer them." - Steven Wong [Full review]
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If you're in the market for an Xbox One and can hold out for a few weeks, you may want to consider this new deal from Kmart. According to an adscan for a sale beginning the week of November 9, Kmart will offer Kinect-free Xbox One bundles for $350, a markdown of $50 from the normal $400 price point.
The adscan above comes from Twitter user thebiglouie. If true, it would represent one of the best deals to date for an Xbox One, not to mention making the Xbox One $50 less expensive than the rival PlayStation 4.
There is no mention of a markdown for the $500 Xbox One bundle that comes with Kinect.
It is unclear if this deal is limited to Kmart or if it is a wider price drop that will be available at retailers nationwide. We'll report back with more details as they become available.
The deal, if genuine, is timed with the release of marquee Xbox One title, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which goes on sale on November 11.
This isn't the only rumored Xbox One deal. Adscans from Target and Wal-Mart show that the $500 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 1 TB console will be offered for $450 beginning in November.
The upcoming Gears of War game in development at Black Tusk Studios for Xbox One is not a reboot, according to Phil Spencer, who heads up all of Xbox. In a new interview, Spencer said it is imperative that the new Gears of War game recaptures the essence of earlier titles, including their dark tone.
"I wouldn't call it a reboot because I don't think the franchise necessarily needs that," Spencer told IGN as part of a wide-ranging podcast interview.
The franchise, which Microsoft acquired from Epic Games earlier this year, does not need to be rebooted in part because the series still has legions of dedicated fans, despite an underwhelming game in Judgment, Spencer said.
"I know Judgement didn't hit everybody's needs and desires in terms of what they wanted. But I think we can continue, but we can also--we have a new team, [original Gears of War trilogy producer Rod Fergusson is] there to really help with the continuity. I think we can make sure that we're investing in this thing for the next decade, which is how I want to think about it."
Also in the interview, Spencer said that while the Gears of War series started out strong and confident in what it was aiming to be, subsequent titles felt like parodies of earlier games.
"The thing that was great about the early Gears of War games, to me, [was] just the epic scale of the settings that I was in," he said. "The story, the setting was a lot more what I would call soulful and maybe even a little dark. And [Rod Fergusson] and I have talked about this; I think the game over time became almost more of a parody of itself; not for any kind of horrible reasons. It's hard to continue to manage the IP."
"And Gears 2 did well, Gears 3 did well. So I thought the franchise continued to grow. But we've talked about getting back to something … I think the story and the setting and what they're going through ... in a Gears of War--the name of the game, it really meant something to what that game was about. We've got to get back to that. The feeling of those individuals."
The new and untitled Gears of War game for Xbox One is in the very early stages of development, and all we've seen so far from it is a blurry piece of concept art.
Nintendo announced earlier this month that they'll be revealing "50 new things" coming to Super Smash Bros. on Wii U, and you can watch that presentation right here through the embedded video above.
The presentation is set to start at 3PM PST / 6PM ET.
Leaks have revealed that the game will have a stage creator and a "board game" mode, and we're expecting to hear something about that during the stream. But what do you most want to hear about? Let us know in the comments below!
We'll be updating this story with additional details as they're revealed.