impressions

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – My thoughts.

Hello there! I wholeheartedly apologise for such a lack of content recently and I’m not going to bore you with excuses but I will say that this isn’t so much of a review rather than my thoughts and experiences with the game so let’s just get on with it.

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If you own a computer or are in to strategy games and haven’t heard of the behemoth that is Sid Meier then where the fuck have you been? The strategy game giants have graced us with another instalment to their Civilization series this time however there is a twist. It’s set in the future! Instead of doing the usual business of building a famous empire from the ground up over thousands of years this time we take on the job of setting up a colony on a distant planet. Each Civ is funded by a sponsor so instead of having separate countries you have different corporations. Now for the interests of impartiality I will admit that I am quite the Civilization fan but for the sack of this article I have put aside my preconceptions and tried to play this game with an open mind.

First off I am going to address an issue that I have seen a lot of people have with this game and that is that there is a lack of personality from the A.I. leaders. I don’t really think this is as big a deal as what some are making it out to be. Yes their aren’t as many leaders(as of yet) as there have been in previous games so most playthroughs are similar but you can clearly see patterns in behaviour and individual characteristics of each one. I think the major difference in this game is that none of the names are recognisable as in previous Civ games so we have no previous ideas of what that person is like. I do agree that the level of personality isn’t as high as in previous games but it is undeniably still there. I found myself many times getting angry with how certain factions were acting and even being very spiteful in different playthroughs because of how a leader acted in a different game. Anyway rant over.

The game plays a lot like any other Civ game so if you aren’t a fan of the previous ones then this probably won’t float your boat however if you are a fan of the earlier games or the genre in general then this will be a happy edition to your collection. For most part the game is almost identical to Civ V as they run on the same engine however it is the new setting and tweaks that they have made that make the game feel drastically different. The most notable change is the tech web, previously being a tech tree, allowing for much greater variation in advancements and giving science an even greater level of strategy as it makes each technology you research that little bit more significant. It also separates the different countries/corporations quite drastically as there are now hundreds of different orders to unlocking things like buildings and new units. The next most significant feature is probably the Affinity system. By acting in certain ways or researching certain things you gain affinity points and increasing your chosen affinity will lead to stronger units, new perks and also affect how other Civs react to you. This is a welcome addition however can prove a bit distracting as sometimes you focus on growing your affinity rather than your own Civilization.

There are so many choices to make in this game that it borderlines on the ridiculous. One of the reasons there aren’t that many starting leaders(in this game they are called sponsors) is because after picking which one you want to be there are then three more choices for you to customize your Civ with such as starting bonuses etc. This can be really fun as it really feels like your Civ is your own however as all the A.I. also customize themselves can make it difficult to work out how the opponents will play. The game also runs a quest system helping you to feel like there is a progression to what you are doing and with certain quests you are given a decision to make which will change what certain buildings output or give different buffs again further customizing your Civ.

Level design is a bit lacklustre as most places feel very similar however knowing Firaxis, the company behind the game, they will be releasing a bunch of dlc maps as they normally do. This is cushioned as from day one this game came with steam workshop support so modders have already been hard at work making the game have even more content.

Civilization: Beyond Earth is another good instalment in the franchise and is well worth a play if you are a fan. There are a few things that I think don’t make this a less fun game but do impact replayabillity and so I doubt it will eat up as many hours as say Civ V will/has/is but given the history of these games once a few large expansions have been released I would not be surprised if this game could eat away around 60hours+. Let me know what you guys think and what things you would like to be included in the expansions or made as a mod, thanks for reading!

Civilization: Beyond Earth is out now for PC.

 

-Joe

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Watch Dogs Impressions – Not an Anne Robinson in sight!

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Greetings everyone! sorry for the late upload but I have been incredibly busy trying to get as much done in this game as I could before I wrote about it and believe you me there is a hell of a lot to do.

Right, Firstly Im gunna talk about this games launch on the PC and most of it might just be technical rubbish etc so if that doesn’t interest you or if you have it on another console then feel free to move on. This game had an incredibly mixed launch with some peoples games not even loading up or instantly crashing while others had absolutely no trouble at all and then again thousands more on the spectrum in between. Fortunately for me  I only experienced some very small bug issues that didn’t really affect my game but I wouldn’t be doing my job right if I didn’t tell you all the details. First off Ubisoft have announced that they are patching the game and have said that at some point this week they will have released a patch that should (in theory) resolve a lot of issues for a lot of people. What really worries me though is this isn’t the only time this has happened even this year, where a hugely hyped up and publicised game fails at launch, just look at Battlefield 4 and Titanfall on their launches to see what I mean and it looks like this is going to become the norm. Almost like a rite of passage. However saying that there are some things that distinguish this case from the others. Where most of the other games were down to rushed deadlines, poor ports to other consoles and not enough servers Watchdogs fell because they tried a little too hard. Now some of you are probably thinking “Da fuq?” but let me explain. The reason why only the Pc version of the game is flawed isn’t because Ubisoft made a bad port from the console its actually because the Pc version isn’t a port at all. They attempted to optimise PC users experience by creating they’re version from scratch pretty much but the key word there is optimise. That’s the main problem people have been receiving, the game isn’t optimised for most drivers and graphics cards. Not to bore you with details (unless I have already) but this sucks. It means that even those who can play it relatively bug free (like me) can’t experience the full graphics and speed of the game It also means that to be able to play the game on max settings you’re going to have to fork out a lot of money! personally this whole debacle has been kind of bitter sweet (but more bitter than sweet) as even though it is littered with bugs it also shows that the developers tried to take time and think about the PC gamers rather than just do the easy thing and port it however they clearly bit of more than they could chew.

Right ramble over! now to the actual game. This game is a lot of fun despite what people will have you believe. Missions types are varied but with the length and size of the game do get repetitive after a while. Unlike games such as Assassins creed where the puzzle sections feel kinda clunky and out of place the puzzle sections here are incredibly well done with a large number of obstacles having multiple ways of doing them. It’s the type of game where you can really play how you want to form run and gun to stealthy and tactical. You can even go the entire game without killing a single enemy (however that proves hella difficult!) however I have yet to discover If how you play impacts the story or environment because (as I said) this game is huge! The size of the city is impressive and I honestly didn’t expect it to be as big as it is due to the type of game it struck me as not only that but there are so many side quests and other little things to do which reading an interview with the developers are seemingly endless as they are randomly generated and found by simply hacking people on the street. Gameplay feels good and other than the odd occasion Aiden (the main character) controls very well. The city itself feels alive especially with the little details you find out about every NPC in passing.

The game is tactical and will have you using your brain to get around certain objectives, especially those involving enemies. Aiden isn’t a tank of a computer game character and can only take so much damage, not only that but when you are damaged you slow down and even some times limp meaning that you really need to strategise especially because the game has several different enemy types that react and work in different ways. Speaking of the AI they have been for me one of the most impressive things about this game. They actually try and fight you as a unit and will constantly try and flank you and out manoeuvre you on foot or in car. They react to their surroundings like they are supposed meaning you need to keep moving if you want to keep them guessing where you are. You can distract them with hacking and even set traps and ambushes for them. What’s more is that the enemies react to other enemies, the gangs and police react to one another, meaning if you can make enough noise that the police come while you’re in a fight for your life with another gang you can slip out undetected while they have a gun fight. It’s great because it means that it always offers you a challenge as there is no one mode of attack that works every time making you have to re assess and try out different ways to succeed.

This isn’t a review really and I apologise for lack of pictures but because I can’t capture at the optimum resolution I thought it best to simply give my experience and views rather than a definitive score review. I will however say that if all the bugs are fixed then this game would definitely be well worth the money and time to play it.  But for now I would say hold off on buying it for the PC for maybe a month or two. But if you have a PS4 or XBOX ONE then I urge you to get this game now as its exactly the kind of next gen game that people have been waiting for. Let me know what you thought of the game or any issues you’ve had with it in the comments and make sure to like and share!

 

 

-Joe