Jarenth Plays Civilization: Beyond Earth — Final Wrap-Up

Heya, readers. It’s been about a week and a half now since the last Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth episode hit monitors world-wide, which means it’s about on-schedule for me to write about the whole thing. Yes, I’m not very expedient in these things sometimes. To compensate, I’ve also updated the Beyond Earth Let’s Play page to completion. So if you’ve ever wanted to jump to your favourite episode without all that clicking-through-the-archives-hassle, now’s your chance.

After playing through and writing about Beyond Earth for the past four months, I have to say… I think I like this game a whole lot more than it seems to deserve. I had a very good time with the whole game, to the point where I immediately launched and played a second game after completing the first one. I love hanging out in weird, alien worlds, I enjoyed exploring the Affinities and interacting with the different factions, and the moment-to-moment gameplay, at least at the start of the game, delivered exactly that 4X-vibe of exploration and expansion into the unknown that I’d been craving. But I can’t deny that Beyond Earth as a whole is currently rather sparse: starting choices regarding sponsor and spaceship don’t matter as much as they should, only three meaningful Affinities means you’ll have seen more or less everything after one or two large games, the lore and presentation (particularly about Wonders and game victories) is lackluster, and the gameplay systems that are so interesting early on give way to a slog of repeating point-optimization decisions later down the line. It’s no wonder that the same amount of gameplay time and screenshots that went into one latter-series episode would often be good for two or three early episodes. It just… stops being interesting.

And still, part of me really wants to go back to Beyond Earth. That it scratches its particular itch in something of a poor manner doesn’t negate that it scratches that itch. And I know I’m not alone in this. My hope, then, is that Beyond Earth gets expansions on the same level as Civilization V’s: expansions that take the potentially-good-but-currently-mediocre product and really elevate it. For my money, I do believe that potential is there. We’ll see if Firaxis shares my view.

Alright. With that out of the way:

Those of you who have been around here for a while will remember how the ends to my Let’s Plays usually go. I solicit some advice re: games I could or should play in the future. You guys give me advice. I then completely ignore the advice, and drop off the map entirely for several months, before out-of-the-blue announcing a new Let’s Play game entirely unrelated to anything anyone has ever suggested.

This is not what we’ll be doing this time around. I figured I might as well cut out the middle man, and the front man, and just skip straight to the part where I announce that I’m doing new stuff. Because new stuff I will be doing, and soon: while the next three weeks are going to be some of my busiest weeks in Ninja Blues history — to the point where even regular Indie Wonderland service might be suspended for a little bit — I am currently planning to launch my next Let’s Play project start of April 2015. Not a joke, etcetera, etcetera. Expect either May 31st or April 7th for the inaugural post.

And which game will I be playing? I’m glad you asked, strawman reader! I actually have two plans I might put into motion soon. As it turns out, Sid Meier’s Starships — a space exploration game heavily patterned on the looks and the lore of Beyond Earth — is slated to come out in March of this year. About two weeks from now, if optimism’s to be believed! And while I don’t really know yet what kind of game to expect, and if this game of Starships will in any way be suitable for Let’s Playing, the opportunity to directly continue my Franco-Iberian Supremacy Adventures is too good to pass up un-examined.

If Starships does not pan out, though, I have a second game in the works right now. Won’t tell you which one, because I enjoy being unnecessarily mysterious about things… bet’s just say it was one of the more acclaimed games of late 2014, and it’s exactly the kind of game one of you guys would have suggested in this space if I had gone for advice. I’m actually planning on LP-ing this game anyway, even if Starships does pan out. So even if Starships does end up taking priority, all it means for Unnamed Second Game is that you’ll have to wait for it a little while longer. But I promise you that it’ll be legend…


  1. I feel similarly about Civ: BE to you, I think. It gets less interesting as you approach endgame, and there’s not much new to see after two or three playthroughs, but I spent 50+ hours with it, so it’s got something going for it.

    I know nothing about Starships but the name, but that’s enough for optimism – should be an interesting game, and hopefully interesting to write about.

    I was about to post a suggestion for a new LP regardless of you not needing it, because I’m rude like that, then I re-read all of that final paragraph. Turns out my suggestion wouldn’t be needed, as you’re a magnificent SOB and you’re doing it anyway. You win this round…

  2. I’m stuck in uncreative thinking, so I’m going to guess Endless Legend for your backup game?

    Although in my defence, I’m trying to think of acclaimed games in 2014 and generally coming up blank. I can’t imagine it would be Shadows of Mordor or Alien Isolation and even amongst the indie games, nothing in particular is clicking.

    1. I could spoil the surprise now, but I think it’d be funnier to let you guys wrack your brains over this for a few more weeks.

      1. Okay now I’m maybe going to guess that it’s a game that wasn’t released in 2014 (maybe a rerelease?) but one everyone talked about instead of the boredom that was 2014

    2. Shadow of Mordor was ALSO my first guess. Nemesis system mixes very well with this kind of narrative-driven LPs.

  3. Jarenth, any plans to fix the broken screens in your playthrough of “Warlock: Master of the Arcane”? Are they simply gone forever?

    1. Plans, plenty. But unless I’m overlooking something, it’s looking like my Blue Screen of Awesome backup is deader than disco. I’d love to get screens back up, but it might just be impossible.

      Unless one of you guys saved every single screenshot to their hard drive.

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