It might be of interest to you that, apparently when they first were designing the alien biomes (from my understanding), the designers initially tried to move away from standards like green colors for lush areas, and so forth, and they did initially try to make the worlds more alien than the final version, but it turned out that most of the early players seemed to have trouble with that. It became counter-intuitive to players, and slowed down their gameplay as they tried to remember what sort of terrain did that. So, they ended up pushing the terrains to be a bit more recognizable. I'm not saying that's a good choice or a bad choice, but I do understand why they did that. Like you, I played a lot of Civ 2 and Civ 4 and enjoyed them, but never tried Civ 5. I'm fond of Beyond Earth, but I'd give it a "B-" in terms of how it came out--fun enough to play, but not quite living up to my imagination as fully as it might. I'd love and buy another expansion if they made it, but I'm not sure if their design planners are going to build such a thing.