Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Great strategy game builds alien worlds; some safety issues.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids will learn how cultures grow and evolve, and they'll execute strategies of their own design in this sophisticated civilization simulation. Players get to experiment with and observe the impact that various national policies and advanced technologies might have on a futuristic society. They'll use what they learn to create plans and tactics to try to win the game, developing their civilizations in key ways to achieve goals they set for themselves. Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth doesn't teach kids about history the way other Civilization games do, but it will get kids thinking about the future and let them practice strategic thinking.
Players observe and experiment with social, political, and technological factors that contribute to the development of a culture and civilization. The science-fiction angle makes this game less educational than other Civilization games, but the design still promotes strategic thought and encourages kids to think about how nations and cultures are built and evolve.
Positive Role Models
The fictional civilization leaders fit simple stereotypes. Some are interested in using aggression to dominate others; others think capitalism or spirituality is the best path to supremacy. None comes off as inherently evil; they're all doing what they think is best for their people.
Ease of Play
This is a complex game with a noticeable learning curve. But it leads players through each turn, providing alerts whenever decisions need to be made. Plus, a helpful advisor explains new game concepts when they appear. The Civilopedia -- a comprehensive reference guide that explains all aspects of the game -- is available at the click of a button.
Violence & Scariness
Top-down combat depicts tiny units -- tanks, alien worms, soldiers with guns -- battling each other in short animations. No blood or gore, and the raised, overhead perspective reduces the impact of violence.
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The word "bastard" appears once in text form.
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Products & Purchases
Part of the popular and long-running Sid Meier's Civilization series.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional text references to wine, but characters don't consume alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is a simulation game that lets players replicate the development of a human civilization on an alien world. Unlike previous Civilization games, this one doesn't provide players with an educational database of humankind's historical achievements, but it still lets you experiment with and view the impact various technologies and social and political advancements have on different types of nations. Though players can engage in violence by making their gun-toting armies attack rival colonies, the relatively mild combat is viewed from a bird's-eye perspective and doesn't include any blood or gore. The word "bastard" and occasional references to alcohol appear in text dialogue and descriptions. Players may be exposed to inappropriate comments via the unmoderated multiplayer chat, which raises some safety concerns.
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Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
Based on 2 parent reviews
Fails to live up to Alpha Centauri despite amazing base
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Just Play Civ 5
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What’s It About?
Sid Meier games are renowned for delivering detailed simulations of humanity's gradual growth and development on Earth; now SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION: BEYOND EARTH moves the action off our planet and into the future. Players assume the role of a fictional leader who's taken a small group of humans to a distant alien world to establish and guide the progression of a human colony. But he or she will face competition from other human colonists who have the same idea. What's more, the planet they try to settle is home to a wide variety of alien life that's all too happy to gobble up hapless explorers. Luckily, the colonists are armed with futuristic technologies and a broad range of progressive cultural, sociological, and diplomatic doctrines and tools. It's the player's job to deploy these nation-building elements to establish the dominant civilization on the new world, striving to achieve supremacy (and victory) in a variety of ways, ranging from military conquest to making contact with a sentient alien race.
Is It Any Good?
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth succeeds in standing apart from the series' Earth-based entries. Some parts feel like the Civilization games players know and love simply done up in sci-fi clothing, but there also are entirely new systems at play that meaningfully change the experience. The orbital layer, for example, lets players launch satellites that confer a variety of useful benefits -- before they eventually crash back to the ground, where they become possible treasure troves for rival nations. And the addition of multistage quests that have specific goals and force players to make hard decisions helps create the narrative and can alter the trajectory of some civilizations.
Although the historical detail that many of the franchise's fans have always enjoyed is missing, it's been replaced with interesting speculative concepts and themes, as well as believable future technologies -- such as genetics, robotics, and artificial evolution -- that will leave players pondering how scientific advances will affect our species in the coming decades and centuries. This is still fundamentally a game about the development and progression of humanity. It's undeniably a different kind of experience than past Civilization games, but that shouldn't scare players away. The world simulation on offer here is just as rich and complicated and satisfying as that of any Sid Meier game set on Earth.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about online safety. What precautions do you take when playing online games? What steps would you take if a stranger you met online began verbally attacking you or probing for personal information?
Discuss Beyond Earth's take on humankind's potential colonization of other worlds. If people left for the stars, do you think it would be a global effort or one started by individual nations? If by individual nations, would they try to find their own worlds or compete to colonize the same planets?
Talk about the violence in Beyond Earth. The top-down view lessens the impact of violence among units in the game; is this more appropriate and tolerable for younger gamers? How does it compare to other strategy titles?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Science: engineering, biology, energy, Social Studies: cultural understanding, government, the economy
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, strategy, Self-Direction: goal-setting, work to achieve goals, working efficiently
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Release date: October 24, 2014
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Robots, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Language
- Last updated: August 25, 2016
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