Home / Gaming / Games / Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide

Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide review



1 of 5

Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide 9
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide 9
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide 3
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide 5
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide 7


Our Score:



  • New aliens add more “life” to the game
  • Water colonisation adds another layer of strategy
  • Moving the base game in the right direction


  • Too expensive
  • Changes to trading are arbitrary and reductive
  • The new diplomacy options are a significant downgrade for the series

Available on PC (tested), Mac and Linux

“Max, I need you to take a look at Rising Tide – the next DLC for Civilization: Beyond Earth.” I shuddered. I have a history with the Civilization games, a long and painful history, and being asked to go back is like being asked to revisit an old girlfriend. My glasses are firmly tinted with a rose hue until I double click on the icon and am quickly reminded, a few hours later, of all the things that went wrong for us last time. The late nights, the failed attempts at culture domination and the last minute losses to a space race victory. Maybe the ex-girlfriend metaphor doesn’t extend that far…

Regardless, I knew going back was going to be an issue, especially give just how much I disliked Beyond Earth’s original release and, judging by the panning the game got from hardcore and experience Civilization fans, it seemed I wasn’t alone. Technical issues were abound at launch, while experienced players decried the lack of soul, the needless homogenisation of factions and leaders (while stripping down their AI to boot) and a tacked on quest system to try and compete with Amplitude’s wonderful Endless Legend.

This expansion, we were told, would correct mistakes and make up for the horrendous issues that people experienced with the game. The question I’ve been tasked with answering is; did it succeed?

Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide

As I sit here, with hours sunk into the game, I wish I could give you a simple answer. I would especially have loved to say “Yes!” but, as with my relationship with the franchise, it’s not quite that simple.

There are still technical issues here. In fact my first three hours with the game were an exercise in getting the game start. Google searches demonstrated that I wasn’t alone so, as with any PC review, a caveat has to be attached to any kind of recommendation I can give; you may well have technical issues but, thanks to Steam’s refund system, it’s less of an issue than it used to be.

Once you dive into your first game some of the game’s strongest, and weakest, elements become instantly apparent. Much of the criticism levelled at Beyond Earth was that it felt like a reskinned version of Civilization 5 or, at best, a total conversion mod. Rising Tide, even within the opening hour or so, feels much more confident, much more like its own game. The aliens, those things that were just green insects in the base game, finally have character and variety and, along with some cool new tech opportunities, are finally demonstrating a little life and refreshing the formula.

Having said that, though, the inclusion of aliens still feels lazy. The barbarians in the original Civilization games were a roaming annoyance; constantly aggressive and in need of destruction. Doing so would grant you bonuses and freedom of space. In Beyond Earth, and still in Rising Tide, the aliens are merely a reskin. This expansion offered Firaxis the opportunity to make the interactions with the various species a profound one. Instead they’re merely there; an obstacle, a thing that’s preventing a casual passage through the turns.

Related: Best PC Games 2015

Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide 3

It’s a shame in many ways because there are additions to the formula here that make the game feel unique compared to its predecessors. The complete revamp of the oceans being one of the most important. Far from being the blue coloured hex on a map that simply limits your movement around the world, now the oceans are an integral part of the Civilization: Beyond Earth experience. There are aliens in the ocean, cities can be built and captured. It is though, as with most of the additions that Rising Tide makes, one that carries its own set of problems.

Oceans are notoriously boring in Civilization games, to the point where players simply ignored them; they were simply bodies that needed to be crossed to reach other areas. That is engrained in Civilization players – certainly in my mindset – but when I ignored the oceans here I was routinely punished. In fact, even when I did build a city in the big blue, I’d find myself skipping over it as I conducted the million and one activities on my turn, only to find it ransacked later because I forgot to build any kind of military on it.

It’s not so much a criticism though; in fact you could argue that its inclusion is another example of Beyond Earth being pushed away from Civilization 5, for better or worse.

If you’ve played a little bit of Rising Tide and are checking for some kind of critical consensus then you’ll be eagerly awaiting my thoughts on the new Diplomacy system. When I was playing through this expansion I had a horrendous time with the changes to this system, to the point where even I jumped online to make sure I wasn’t missing something. It turns out I wasn’t.

In the previous Civilization games the diplomacy system was crucial; if you were getting attacked, and decimated, you could bargain everything you had for aid. If someone had a technology you wanted you could throw cash at them until it was yours. If someone was desperate for peace you could drive a hard line until you bankrupted them in the process. There was depth and intrigue, both of which have been stripped out in this new system.

Related: Best Steam Skins 2015

Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide 5

Instead you have points. Diplomacy points. These can be exchanged, or offered, to other Civ players and in return you’ll get various things; from a bonus to culture or other bits and pieces. Those Civs can also offer these points to you and, by accumulating a large amount, you can unlock bonuses for the entire of your nation. It’s arbitrary though and adds just another number that needs to be managed and helps to differentiate Beyond Earth from its predecessors. But in doing so adds more issues.

You can’t choose the amount of points you offer to other leaders; instead the game decides that a culture bonus might cost 150 points. You offer and you’re refused. The natural logic would suggest offering, say, 300 points but the game’s internal logic doesn’t allow that option. It takes any kind of negotiation out of negotiating and means that my final thoughts on Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide remain altogether mixed.

Related: Best Witcher 3 Mods

Civilization: Beyond Earth Rising Tide 7

This is an expansion that has one sole aim: to make your purchase of Civilization: Beyond Earth justified. To placate those people who, like me, claimed that it was just a lazy, reskinned version of a classic game.

Did it succeed? I suppose in many ways it did. Many of the decisions made mean that Rising Tide moves Beyond Earth away from the classic formula; but many of those decisions feel like they were made simply for that purpose – rather than being an intelligently designed system to advance the series.


Given the cost of this expansion I find it hard to recommend. £24.99 is simply too much to ask for the changes and I can’t, in any good faith, recommend that. The highest praise I can offer Rising Tide is that it’s finally moving Beyond Earth in the right direction. The inevitable Game of the Year Edition (maybe after more patches and another expansion) will no doubt bring many people back; but until then I’d wait for a price drop.

Overall Score



September 21, 2016, 11:24 pm

I think the only major issue I have with Beyond Earth, is that you can
have a city or station surrounded with a huge naval fleet, and have weapons of
mass destruction blasting the city to bits... but the city will always have
1 HP... until a melee unit mopes around the world to capture it.

When I heard there was improvements to the diplomacy setup, and that it
was more dynamic and versatile... I actually envisioned something entirely

The respect/fear, do add an interesting level to the game-play, and in the
initial stages of the game, when there are lots of players, it seems to make
sense. But once you're down to a few players left, and you're all at war with
one another, and have taken half the other players city's. It kind of gets weird
to have your enemies complement you on the size of your army out of respect
and or fear. Even when you're at war, their initial greetings are fixed,
and they sometimes seem to be complementing you.

In the original Beyond Earth, it was definitely more flexible, as you could
barter for peace or war... I think they must have traded in "Favor" for
"Diplomatic Capital", personally I think the favor made much more sense...
considering halfway through a game, i had thousands of unspent Capital.

plus, if you needed a resource, you could make agreements to trade something
for it.

You really have to study the agreements for your "personality traits" carefully,
as if you choose the wrong one, you could be offering a huge advantage to
your enemy (if you accept the request later).

I had one ally repeatedly ask me for a tech agreement, and i refused... yet
she didn't seem to mind. yet, the category that my personality trait was under
could have been seen as something favorable to them.

the last game I played... I was allied with someone, and if you are allies with
someone who is at war with another player... it instantly puts you at a state of
war. so I actually had my ally... dragging me into his wars because he wasn't
as diplomatic. I also noticed, as soon as war with one leader ends, they started
yet another war.

so for the game i played... it worked to my advantage being dragged in and out
of wars, because it kept up the momentum of my own invasion.

on the other hand... if i wasn't prepared or the enemy was on a more difficult

setting, I am curious whether this would really be an advantage being forced
into other peoples wars.

i also noticed that the AI likes to build up huge fleets of ships, and then try to
stomp you with it, after that... it kind of loses all its steam and kind of just gives up.
(Not sure if a harder difficulty would reflect differently.)

Artifacts were incredibly useful, and at first it seemed like i was finding them left
and right.... then after I used an improvement virtue to find more artifacts... it was
like they all but disappeared. I suspect that, other AI players in the game may have
found the rest.

I kind of miss the first "Alpha Centauri", how it had really amazing videos for its
technologies... this is still amazing, and I dont know how they were able to make
so many for the first one as it was.

I will say this, that Firaxis has some amazing graphic artists. the graphics alone
deserve a 5/5.

The musical ambience is perfect, as it kind of picks up on the user activity, and

sets the tone, that aspect was well done, as its seamless.

as in the past alpha centauri game, they kept up with the same quirky witty humor,
and the voice acting is top notch.

I did feel the military upgrades were more in key this time around with Rising Tide,
as the synergy features were a nice touch. I finished the game without getting a
chance to explore many technologies that would have provided more units to play

Perhaps they want you to keep playing the game, so you can rediscover the new
units in different combinations... another way around this though, would be to

reduce the strength of military units... so that the battles would be more drawn

out, thus giving you a chance to explore more technologies, and discover new
strategies of attacking collectively.

Another flaw with the diplomacy system... was I'd get an AI player down to

1 or 2 cities, and they had no chance of victory... my war points, would be
10x or 15x theirs, and then they'd ask for a "White surrender", where each
player walks away with nothing gained or lost.

Then several times, i'd ask an AI player to end the war, where they would have
to give up cities... and they all said they refused to surrender, even though their
status was "Dominated", and they were well on the way to being destroyed.

I have mixed feelings about the diplomacy system... i think the idea of

personality traits, is more appealing, than the way they had it set up.

comments powered by Disqus