Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide Game Poster Image
Oceanic expansion makes sci-fi world simulation even better.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about social studies and strategy in this complex, sci-fi-themed civilization simulation. Players get to guide the development of extraterrestrial colonies by conducting diplomatic negotiations with rival and ally factions, making ideological decisions that will affect the tenor of their cultures while developing offensive and defensive military capabilities. They'll learn that becoming the strongest nation doesn't necessarily mean conquering others, but could instead entail the development of non-military elements within their own culture and cooperating with other factions for the betterment of all. Don't let the science-fiction theme fool you; Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide will get kids thinking about social and political concepts that apply to our world.  

Positive Messages

Encourages players to think about interactions between cultures, nations, consider the potential societal impact of future technologies, contemplate humankind's impact on environment.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Colonial leaders tend to be stereotypes who generally with people's best interests at heart practice rigid ideologies (such as pursuing knowledge at all costs, believing in their own superiority) that often comes at expense of some groups.

Ease of Play

Dense, complicated, but with plenty of guidance each turn. Strategy is important, but multiple difficulty levels allow even rookies to experience success early on.

Violence

Depicts skirmishes, wars between human, alien, robotic units from a camera placed high in the sky. These units use guns, rockets, lasers against each other, civilian outposts, cities. Defeated combatants fall to the ground, disappear. There's no blood, gore.

Sex
Language

Mild and infrequent; includes the word "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine mentioned in text a few times, never seen onscreen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - Rising Tide is a turn-based strategy game that simulates human colonization of other star systems. It makes players consider virtually all aspects of a nation's development, including politics, culture, military, and technological advancement. Players can win not only through might but other pursuits including scientific and even pseudo-humanitarian endeavors. Combat can see armies and even entire cities destroyed via futuristic weapons, such as robots, rockets, and lasers, but everything is presented from a raised, satellite-like perspective that minimizes the intensity of these attacks. Parents should also be aware this game supports online play against strangers with text chat, which means kids could be exposed to bullying, inappropriate language and topics of discussion, and can share personal information. Be aware, too, that the original Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is required to play this expansion.

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What's it about?

SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION: BEYOND EARTH – RISING TIDE is an expansion to 2014's Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, a game that moved the popular historical civilization simulation game into the stars and onto alien planets. Colonists on enormous generation ships with conflicting ideologies landed on new worlds with intent to create cities and societies. Players directed their cultural, military, scientific, and diplomatic efforts in hopes of helping them ascend to become the planet's ruling power. This expansion keeps all of that, but adds new systems and mechanics. For starters, players can now settle cities in the middle of the ocean, and even move them around to claim new territory. Plus, diplomatic interactions with other colonies have been completely revamped, allowing players to engage in more complex negotiations, foster specific leadership traits, and earn a new resource dubbed "diplomatic capital" that allows players to purchase and trade for upgrades to colony development and military might. Other enhancements and additions include new colonial factions and mid-game quests, changes to how military units are upgraded, and the ability to combine and turn in artifacts found across the planet's surface for significant, one-time resource bonuses. 

Is it any good?

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide isn't an entirely new game, but it's close. The changes to diplomacy add a deep and multifaceted political layer that goes far beyond the basic abilities to declare war and open borders found in the original game. And while it still needs some tweaking -- it can be easy to generate a vast surplus of diplomatic capital late in the game -- the new diplomacy features can have game-changing results when used properly early on. Aquatic cities, meanwhile, completely alter how empires evolve by enhancing our ability to exploit ocean resources and the removing the once dire limitations of unluckily founding a colony on a small section of land. It's now possible to grow your territory simply by moving your sea-based city, one tile at a time.

A laundry list of minor changes also serve to help refresh the experience. For example, as players grow in the game's three affinities -- supremacy, harmony, and purity -- they can earn specialized hybrid military units as well as level up units with upgrades that compliment their dominant affinity, providing boosts that increase unit's attack, healing, and cooperative abilities. These and other changes provide a host of new variables to be factored into the player's constantly evolving strategy, and will take multiple games and dozens of hours to master. The wealth of new content and changes to game structure provide plenty of reasons for fans of the base game to get lost in this robust civilization simulator all over again.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about setting media consumption time limits. The Civilization games are famous for luring players to keep playing for "just one more turn," sometimes causing them to stay up until the wee hours, so how do you ensure your kids don't get sucked into clicking the next turn button for hours on end? 

  • Talk about the concept of nations and nation building. Is it a good or bad thing for people to separate themselves into nations? Does building one nation up automatically mean that other nations will appear inferior beside it? What's the best way to work for the good of all humankind?

Game details

  • Platforms: Mac, Windows
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading
    Science: biology, energy, geology, rocks and minerals
    Social Studies: government, power structures, the economy
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, prediction, problem solving, strategy
  • Price: $29.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid (This is an expansion pack for Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth. The base game is required to play.)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: 2K Games
  • Release date: October 8, 2015
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Topics: Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Language

Themes & Topics

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