Civilization: Beyond Earth Review

This is a community review of Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth Review on the PC, taking a look at what makes the game great and not so good.

First of all I must acknowledge that I might be a bit biased in favor of “Beyond Earth”. I love science-fiction and all things robots, genetic manipulation and space. I’m a true disciple of strategy games and especially of the turn-based variety and quite the veteran of many, many rounds of “Alpha Centauri”. I’ve been very hyped.

This said as introduction I’d first like to say that I like the design of Civilization 5, although I consider it a seriously dumbed down game, up to the point of it being the mentally handicapped little brother of its predecessors. But is it fair to use such harsh words? Maybe I should come to peace with the fact that Civilization 5 just isn’t the same as the other games and in certain ways it did improve. Despite being dumbed down it isn’t an easy game to master when you face human players that operate with the same meta as you. So it didn’t get boring too quickly.

“Beyond Earth” kept the best of Civilization 5 (non-stackable units are debatable) and added a whole bucket of goodness to create a truly amazing game with an atmosphere that puts your mind at peace, while focused on the task that lies before you: survive on an alien world.

I love the addition of the affinity system which visually expresses the philosophy you embrace, which means you either play as Col. Quaritch, Robocop or Ray Kurzweil. Additionally you can select virtues divided into might, prosperity, knowledge and industry (basically a different sort of social policy system, but improved as it rewards both beelining as well as grabbing many boni from one section, or combining sections as well as tiers… and so on). I’d wish for “hybrid” affinities that let you embrace 2 main affinities for special units, but I don’t see the developers doing that anytime soon. One can still embrace 2 affinities, in rare cases it even pays off (for example the Prime version of the Aegis mech of the purity affinity needs 10 purity affinity and 3 supremacy affinity [resistance is futile, puny meatbags!]. I found out that for units it pays to have up to 5 affinity levels of a secondary affinity, however affinity influences much more than just units, so I’ll have to experiment around a bit. I for one enjoyed going Purity as my primary affinity and Supremacy as my secondary affinity in my first game.

Beyond Earth added quests, better neutral city state mechanics (called stations now), better barbarian mechanics (b-but aliens aren’t barbarians! They are different! Yes they are. This makes it better, dear reader. That’s what I talk about!), better victory conditions and it feels much better writing possible future history, instead of reenacting history in the most ludicrous ways (nuking ancient Egyptians as Gandhi!). And space colonization! Is that nothing?

Last but not least you select your colonists’ loadout: that is sponsor, equipment and type of colonists. This is a very great addition as it lets you customize your starting conditions in a more unique way than in Civ 5, adds the feeling that you have more control and ownership over your colonists and allows different strategies instead. We’ll see more than a couple of viable strategies that will be quite different to each others. A bit irritating is the fact that the sponsors do not include a Northern European race. Sure, Russians are Caucasoid, but so are some North Africans strictly speaking. I’ll play the French for now. What I am missing is a member of one of the Nordic, Anglo Saxon and Germanic race. It is quite likely they’ll send people to space, although the developer might have wanted to show us a grimdark future where mass immigration replaced the European people almost completely with the grand daughter of Marine Le Pen leading the last Front National enclave of the French into space. Who knows.

Apart from this the personalities and background of the sponsors don’t appeal to me. They are quite bland persons. That said it allows the player to use his imagination more. Still given how fleshed out the characters are, one could imagine them to be at least a bit interesting. Yet they are not. The most important issue however is balance. So far I believe all sponsors have their viable ways of working well, so as of now I think Firaxis did that one well.

I could drone on a bit more but this is lost time that I could have used playing this game!

The Verdict

Do I recommend it? Yes, I do. The atmosphere is just great. The sci-fi turn-based strategy genre is quite sparsely populated so even a game with some imperfections would get a rather positive review from me. I think Beyond Earth actually earns the good vote. It’s not actually a breathtaking game, but while it looks like a small step for the turn-based strategy genre, it is a great step from Civ 5.

7.5/10 – It’s okay.

Top 10 Fixes for Civilization: Beyond Earth Crashes, Errors, Won't Start, DLL, 1920×1080, Low FPS, Unlock game, 24Hz, Stuck loading, Stutter Audio

Civilization: Beyond Earth is a considerably new real-time strategy (RTS) game. Although this is a fine RTS game that offers a lot of fun, there are unfortunately quite a few Civilization: Beyond Earth crashes that we, the gamers, have to deal with. Therefore, you may want to pay attention to the list of fixes available here. Hopefully, they will help solve your problems related to the game. Yet, before we begin, perhaps it is wise for you to make sure that your computer meets the minimum requirements to run the game. Additionally, scanning if your computer has any viruses is a good idea as well because viruses can often trigger numerous issues when you are trying to run an executable file.

Top 10 Fixes for Civilization: Beyond Earth Crashes, Errors, Won’t Start, DLL, 1920×1080, Low FPS, Unlock game, 24Hz, Stuck loading, Stutter Audio

1. Civilization: Beyond Earth won’t start.

  1. Turn off your antivirus and disable your internet connection so as to prevent errors from emerging during installation.
  2. Uninstall the game and visual C redistributable files.
  3. Clean your Windows registry. Note: it is recommended that you use third party registry cleaner. If you try to clean your Windows registry manually and do something wrong, your system may completely fail to start.
  4. Restart your computer.
  5. Reinstall the game.
  6. Turn on your antivirus, connect to the internet and update the drivers for your video graphics adapter (VGA) card as well as your sound card.

2. Civilization: Beyond Earth crashes with DLL error message while opening

Reinstall or update the DirectX version running on your computer. Alternatively, you can do the steps mentioned below:

  1. Search for the DLL file specified
  2. Copy and paste the file in question into the game installation directory on your computer.

3. Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) unavailable.

  1. Go to the Options menu.
  2. Uncheck fullscreen option and apply the change.
  3. You can now choose the full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and a refresh rate of 60 Hz.
  4. Revert to fullscreen mode.
  5. Note: You have to do this whenever you want to start the game.

4. Civilization: Beyond Earth crashes. Low frame rates per second.

Update your graphics card driver. For an alternative, you can try changing the values in the INI configuration file of the game:

  1. Locate the config.ini file that corresponds to the game. It’s usually stored in “Documents/My Games/Civilization: Beyond Earth”.
  2. Right-click on the config.ini file and choose to open it with Notepad.
  3. Find ‘EnableGameCoreThreading’ and change the value from 1 to 0. It should result in ‘EnableGameCoreThreading = 0’ (without quotes).
  4. Save the file.
  5. Right-click on it, choose properties and tick the box for the ‘read-only’ option.

5. Civilization: Beyond Earth map is blurry.

Disable the Depth of Field feature of the game:

  1. Go to “Documents/My Games/Civilization: Beyond Earth”.
  2. Right-click on the GraphicsSettings.ini file and open it with Notepad.
  3. Change ‘EnableDoF = 1’ to ‘EnableDoF = 0’.
  4. Save the file and change the properties to read-only.

6. Game won’t unlock.

By October 24, 2014, the game should have become fully playable. However, for those with encrypted preload version of the game on Steam, it takes some time for Steam to completely decrypt the game files and then to copy them to the proper locations.

7. Resolution gets stuck at the refresh rate of 24 Hz.

Here’s the solution (works only with AMD Mantle):

  1. Browse “Documents/My Games/Civilization: Beyond Earth”.
  2. Open the GraphicsSettings.ini file with Notepad.
  3. Change the values of resolution (WindowResX and WindowResY) and refresh rate to the desired values.

8. Game has stuttering audio/video.

Update the drivers of your graphics and sound cards to the latest version.

9. Game gets stuck on loading screen.

Reinstall and rerun the Visual C redistributable files.

10. Civilization: Beyond Earth crashes while trying to skip the intro video.

Press Alt+F4 and choose ‘No’ when prompted if you want to quit the game.

There are plenty of gamers that confirm the Civilization: Beyond Earth works just fine for them. However, considering the diverse range of PC configurations available out there, developers may often have a hard time trying to polish their games to make sure they run smoothly across most, if not all, configurations. So, if the list above does not incorporate your issues related to the game, you are welcome to let us know about your issue using the comment box below and we’ll try to help you as much as we can.