Civilization: Beyond Earth is having a free weekend, which is nothing remarkable. Those happen all the time – but it’s usually on Steam. This time around, however, Beyond Earth is being offered up to play from now until Monday by Humble Bundle with the help of a service by the name GameSessions.
So yeah, to try out Beyond Earth, you’ll need to sign up for a GameSessions account, and then download it through their launcher. That’s a few more hoops to go through than simply downloading something through Steam, but at the very least, GameSessions claims fast downloads thanks to their “unique compression technology.” No word on whether this compression technology uses a middle-out algorithm or something else entirely.
I hadn’t even heard of GameSessions till they and Humble Bundle offered this free weekend, but offering something for free is always a good way to make people aware of what you’re selling. What GameSessions is selling is – in essence – game demos, or at least the ability to try a game before you decide to buy it. Well, I suppose it’s better than a demo. GameSessions lets you play the full game for a specific amount of time, and then if you buy it, the game is added to your Steam library and you can keep going from there.
For instance, Action Henk allows for a 30 minute trial whereas Alan Wake only allows for 20 minutes. Warhammer 40k: Space Marine gives you an hour. Notice I started with the As and then scrolled down quite a bit. Right now their game selection is, to say the least, limited, but trialing a game through GameSessions (assuming you find they have anything worth trialing) is significantly less troublesome than buying something through Steam, playing it up to 2 hours, and then refunding it if you don’t like it. But I don’t see them finding much in the way of success until they can fill out their library a bit more.
As for Civilization: Beyond Earth: it’s certainly not a bad game, but I didn’t feel like it did enough to differentiate itself from Civilization V, but since it’s free to play this weekend, with only the minor hurdle of creating a Gamesessions account to go through, you can check out the game for yourself and come to your own conclusions. The free trial, however, doesn’t include the Rising Tide expansion from last year. If you like it though, Humble Bundle has the game on sale.