Friday, October 24, 2014

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - 3/20 hours

It was bound to happen sooner or later. My laptop is starting to fall unacceptably behind the curve. The PC graphics treadmill has claimed another victim.

I knew I was close. Dark Souls just barely worked, but when I searched online for a fix, everyone said the PC port was notoriously finicky and taxed even powerful computers, so I convinced myself that I wasn't that far behind. I wasn't quite current, but I was close enough.

And then, unaccountably, Civilization: Beyond Earth looked worse than Civilization 5:

And I couldn't deny the truth any more - I am now officially out of the loop. Sigh.

 It shouldn't affect the blog too much, because most of my games are old enough or simple enough for my machine to play, but it does mean that newer games are all going to be suspect from this point on. I suppose I ought to buy a new computer eventually, but as you might guess from the fact that I have a job that lets me play video games for several hours a night, I don't make a lot of money. I got my current computer by going to a shady flea market and getting impossibly lucky (I later learned they were selling "refurbished" computers that were fixed just enough to turn on, and that several people around town were totally burned by them - the only problem with mine was the power supply), so I don't anticipate finding something in my price range any time soon.

Still, I've never been particularly picky, and I actually wound up playing this game for three hours tonight, crazy graphical glitches and all. My verdict - it's pretty good.

I can't really go into more detail than that, because I'm still totally at sea when it comes to the gameplay. It's just similar enough to Civ 5 that I managed to get myself in serious trouble. When I left off, I was last in score, and probably only two or three turns away from having war declared upon me by an aggressive neighbor. Seeing as how I was in no position to fight them off, due to floundering through the tech tree, I don't think I will continue that particular save.

Of course, three hours with a 4X game is practically nothing. I expect I'll get better in time. The key is to play through a few games in order to get a feel for the techs and the units, and to find ways to leverage early advantages into long-term strengths. The way I usually do this is by playing a few games at quick speed and easy difficulty. I didn't do that this time because I thought "I can beat Civ 5's Prince difficulty in my sleep, so there's no reason to start at square one here."  It's becoming clear that my mind does not work that way.

So, for my next post, I shall retreat, with head hung low, back to the warm embrace of the minimum difficulty level, so that I may discover for myself what exactly is going on.

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