Had another Civ: Beyond Earth play-through. Transcendence victory this time. Only marginally more interesting than the last one. It would help if they didn't first put the text for your victory on screen as just plain letters on a black background, then play them over their painting while an actor or actress reads them off; seeing the "You Won!" message like that before they give you a picture leaves you with the "A Winner Is You!" taste in your mouth and when they bring up the artwork and the voice acting it's too late to be properly impressed. That being said, the voice acting does not impress me at all. I mean, the actors are okay, but none of them are voices I know, and if they are not going to be voices I know then they should at least be voices that are impressive. They are not. The developmental paths for tech and society in the game are kind of interesting, but the whole "You have to choose one of exactly three possible directions to take your society in unless you want to use one of the really boring anybody victories" thing makes it feel like stuff's being rammed down your throat- especially since you only get three possible Affinities, which more or less amount to "AAAAAAH SPACE IS SCARY! WE'RE HUMANS! XENOS SCUM WILL CONTAMINATE US ALL!", "We're going to live in harmony with this planet. SERIOUS harmony. Raise your hands if you've seen James Cameron's Avatar", and "The flesh is weak! HAIL THE MACHINE!".
Which isn't to say that the game isn't kind of fun in its own way, but it's really hard to get emotionally attached to or even seriously interested in bodged-together scifi space cultures the same way as you can get wrapped up in a given culture of Earth, back in Civ V. Each of the culture leaders has a name, but I've had a hard time being impressed enough with any of them to actually learn them. I've wound up calling them Brazil Guy, France Lady, Maori Tony Stark (he's in charge of 'Polystralia' and he seriously resembles Robert Downey Jr.), CEO Susan (that's the American colony, they're corporate sponsored), That Asian Lady In The Green Outfit (she runs the Pan-Asian Collective and she sounds like she's speaking Chinese, but 'Sochua' isn't a Chinese name- I think it's Cambodian), Indian-Looking Prophet Lady, and African Guy. Oh, and Slav Guy, I forgot about him. I think Brazil Guy's first name is Rejinaldo. France Lady's name is Elorie or Elodie or something like that, but as far as I'm concerned she's France Lady. I think Maori Tony Stark's name is Hutama. Slav Guy usually winds up being called 'General' within about two or three diplomatic visits so I suppose he's General Slav Guy. African Guy kinda drives me up the wall because he mostly turns up during the game to offer trades of resources or energy, which is fine, but his introductory spoken line is 'No village was ever destroyed by trade'. Um... wow. Just... I'm pretty sure anybody who had to live under the colonial rule of Leopold of Belgium would disagree with you there, sir. Wow. And Prophet Lady is the faction I first played when I started the game; I picked her faction because I liked their ability to gain more ground very quickly, and only learned later that the leader was supposed to be the daughter of a charismatic speaker and leader and prophet who had united the whole Indian subcontinent under his leadership. Her name's Kavitha Thakur, but since some of the guys I saw in the startup animation for the game were wearing what looked like Sikh turbans, my brain keeps insisting that her last name is supposed to be Kaur.
Anyway. The game's all right. The graphics are neat and the music is pretty awesome. The gameplay isn't really all that innovative, though, and the tech web- technologies are arranged in a web rather than a linear tree, so you don't have to progress through a specific linear path of development- can be a little annoying if you don't remember where to look for the next tech you want (Swarm Intelligence and Swarm Robotics, for example, aren't anywhere near each other). It's an okay game, but the scifi elements aren't enough to really get me going. If you like world colonization and development games, go buy Civ V and make sure it's got the Brave New World and Gods and Kings expansions. I can't recommend Beyond Earth, at least not yet.