Don't get me wrong, it's not an iffy game. It's just hard to compare this game to Civ V at the moment.
The tech tree shaped like a web is a nice addition but the whole experience feels like a modded Civ V without some of the things that make Civ V fun.
Basically Civ has always used history as a template to give some sort of background to the different civilizations that can be played (for instance the French get musketeers, a bonus to culture and rulers who are psychos while Americans get a Manifest Destiny bonus and marines). The Civilization series is not about simulating real world history accurately (except if you're playing some very specific scenarios and even then the accuracy may be questionable) so going for science fiction doesn't feel odd considering you've always been able to play the American civilization in ancient times (the game series has never been able to tell the difference between real world civilizations and nations).
The problem with CivBE is that the factions are a mix between different real world nations like Franco-Iberia for instance which doesn't tell us much except that French and Spaniards are lumped together under the leadership of an old lady named Élodie. Here lies the problem. In regular Civ V you would face great historical figures like Napoleon and Isabella of Spain and right from the start you would have a rough idea that the first would be a warmonger and the second a devout Catholic. Here with Élodie we get the idea that she likes both science and culture and that's pretty much it.
In any case considering it's the free weekend I would recommend giving the game a try if you're interested. Ironically it may be a better experience if you're not into Civ V because you won't be comparing both games all the time.
Last but not least if you turn the tutorial on you get voiced explanations telling you all there is to know about getting started which may be a great help for newcomers to the series.
"Growing old is inevitable but growing up is optional."