Sid Meier's Beyond Earth - Alpha Centauri 2?!


No. Just no.


It’s not worth it.

This still is worth it:


I should probably give some context why I dislike Beyond Earth:

  1. The indigenous planet’s race is pretty lacklustre. Early game threat, yes. But it doesn’t take long to be better, stronger than they could ever hope. Barbarians in Civ with a lick of paint and not always hostile.

  2. Diplomacy is shit. Too many times I’m taken to leader screens, particularly to ask if I want to trade diplomatic capital. It takes me away from the game and I honestly have no interest. How I wish 4X games just had a “do no disturb” setting when it came to diplomacy.

  3. Civilization health replaced happiness in Civ V. Health is a little more harder to develop leading to a number of small cities early on before key advances finally unshackle the engine of city growth and civilization on the planet can flourish.

  4. The tech tree, if you could call it that, is a mess.

  5. Trade routes everywhere. So much trade, so little time. Pointless busywork in between managing them all. Civ V had a cap based on tech, Civ VI is capped based on commercial districts. Beyond Earth, trade routes are based on population size if I recall, so it allows for a lot of trade which leads to too much busy work.

  6. End game is boring. It is obvious when I’ve won, yet I have to mindless press end turn for the actual victory to finally trigger because there’s a turn delay for the end sequence to finish, or some other condition to meet that is pretty lacklustre.

Ultimately, the game looked good on paper, but it didn’t really deliver an engaging experience.


I think even worse, Health is basically ignorable. Just keep adding new cities anyway.

It’s a real shame. It’s like they did all the hard software engineering and graphical work, and then dropped the ball on theme, engagement, and good mechanics.


BE is a terrible game devoid of interesting and complex choices. The marketing suggestions that it was the successor to Alpha Centauri was an insult given how little personality the various factions have. The Health mechanic is just about outright broken. Firaxis has made some mis-steps with the Civ games they released but BE is by far the worst. It is the Rocky V of the series.


Wow, I completely forgot this game even existed. I don’t think I ever heard anything about if after release.

I wasn’t even hyped about it during the previews, even though I’m a SMAC fan, because the Colonization remake was already so poorly done that I expected this to be as well :(


shit I have Alpha Centauri complete from Gog on my drive … I fear that it will feel clunky


SMAC is timeless IMO. I think other than the whole conceit of designing your own units, it holds up really well.


I played BE and reviewed it. Calling it a ‘terrible game’ seems unduly harsh, but I have never been able to understand the fine gradations of good and bad within the 4x genre, I suppose. I only grok RPGs to that degree, maybe.

As for SMAC, I have little experience with it but did find it quite playable in the GoG version a year or two ago. Some games just don’t date that much, thankfully.


Indeed. Worms for the win!


If you go pure planet and use mindworms, you never have to design a unit! Or do any terraforming other than build forest! :)


Naw terrible is mild. Sid Meirs:Beyond Earth is execrable piece of software (not even worthy of being called a game, since game implies some modicum of fun) that shameless exploits the Sid Meirs and Civilization brands to extract money for Take two corporate coffers. It is not worth a $1 or an hour of anyone time.


But I played it for a couple of dozen hours and enjoyed it well enough, so again, whatever fine perception makes, say, Civ IV “brilliant” while BE is “execrable” is apparently beyond me. Not saying the former is not better than the latter, but the wide range of adjectives used to describe entries in this genre is something I have always found bewildering.


The end game is so bad, so incredibly bad, it makes you think the designers must never have played a 4x for fun in their lives.

Seriously, 75 or however many turns it is of clicking next turn and waiting 5 minutes for the brain-dead AI to jiggle all its units around and then clicking next turn and after 5 minutes, they all jiggle back. This is as bad as a game gets. It’s literally punishment to play.

This also applies to late-game Civ 5 and Civ 6 in many respects, but at least there is some kind of dynamic goal state you are trying to achieve instead of just clicking next turn and waiting for the automatic victory to occur.


Yes the beginning of the game was almost sort of interesting. Now lots of 4x and builder games struggle with a challenging end game. But as you describe perfectly, it takes a rare talent to combine, unimaginative victory conditions, with awful AI, and miserable performance.

Many years ago at a GDG conference, I asked a pretty senior Firaxis executive after we had bonded over a day long workship. Ok tell me the truth how much input does Sid really have into the games that he isn’t the actual designer. He said "Sid looks at every game, and provides input but mostly he makes sure the games are fun. ". There is no way Sid actually played BE to completion and called it fun.

The 22 hours I spent masochistically enduring BE, I want back.


BE literally offends me with its badness. It’s an complete turd of which everyone involved in the design should be ashamed. I’m not exaggerating; it’s a complete failure of game design. The marketing was pretty good, though.


Again, fairly befuddled at the words being used, but I guess I just don’t get it.


That’s because you are wrong, Gordon. Wrong in your brain. Unable to detect the miasma, you float along, your tissues corrupting as your oblivious mind gently strokes each seed of horror.

“Trade routes aren’t so bad,” your consciousness rambles. “I love resetting them every few turns.”

“Purple is fantastic. Beats everything but green. Oh look, green!”

“I love choosing ideologies,” you say, bemused. “This one is orange. That’s a little +1 defense right over here on my units I’ll eventually build. Hope those suckers over there don’t expect that, and get that terrible +1 to offense!”

I kid, but really BE is a poison that will turn your brain against itself until you're drooling in the corner, buying loot boxes for a mobile game you didn't even want to play in the first place.

RIP Firaxis, is what I’m trying to say here. I hope I’m not being too dramatic.


Ah, now I see.


Glad I could help! ;)