Civilization: Beyond Earth Gets 30-Minute Gameplay Demo, Details New Mechanics Like Quests, Favors And Decisions [VIDEO]

By Connor Sears , Updated Sep 03, 2014 04:59 PM EDT

YouTuber Northernlion uploaded a 30-minute gameplay demo for Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth today that shows how the new entry in the storied franchise follows the footsteps of its predecessors and how it breaks from tradition.

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The running theme of the demo is pretty clear: Beyond Earth plays very much like Civilization V in many respects. Some changes are made to the terminology. Civ V's happiness is replaced by a resource called health and gold now takes the form of energy, but the graphics, unit movement and general mechanics still seem fairly preserved.

For those of us who have, over the last several years, sunk hundreds and hundreds of hours into Civ V, this could be exciting news. For those who are looking for something new from the series, there are still several meaningful changes that make Beyond Earth a fresh take on the nation-building sim concept.

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Beyond Earth includes a system of quests that gives players short-term goals to shoot for in addition to the long-term goal of their chosen victory condition. Players are rewarded with small bonuses like a free unit for building a certain structure or killing a specific enemy. Also new is the decision system, where leaders are presented with a choice to make in response to a random event. Both choices have advantages and, presumably, downsides. It is up to the player, then, to decide how they'd like to shape their settlement.

When you first land on the new planet to start a new game, native alien wildlife will be there to greet you, but they don't act like the barbarians of past games. Instead, the aliens react dynamically to your presence in sort of a "they won't bother you if you don't bother them" kind of set-up. This system also has diplomatic consequences, as your attitude toward aliens affects the aliens' behavior toward the rest of the game's civilizations. Others may not take too kindly to you disturbing the natural wildlife.

On the topic of diplomacy, the video shows precious little of this aspect of the game, but the narrator does touch on the new favor system. If you do something nice for a civ early on in the game, you can call in that favor later on. If nothing else, this solves the frustrating problem of Civ V diplomacy where a civ will refuse to play nice even after you so generously helped them out with a gold gift several turns earlier.

Finally, the Beyond Earth tech tree was frequently on display, showing how it built upon the tech trees of earlier games. Instead of being linear, the Beyond Earth tech tree is more radial, allowing players to pursue many different tracks of research right from the get-go. It's also organized into tiers so that once players discover the first level of a given tech, they can either move into the next one or keep researching in that same field, unlocking more objects related to that technology.

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is set to hit PCs on October 24.

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