Sins of a Solar Empire

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Sins of a Solar Empire

4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) strategy games rarely gain widespread popularity. They’re like the mathletes club in high school—a haven for only the most hardcore of geeks. Sins of a Solar Empire vitalizes the genre by automating most of the micromanagement and replacing monotonous turn-based drudgery with faster-paced real-time gameplay.

Aside from the opening cinematic, there’s no plot or story to drive the single-player mode. Solo play is limited to skirmish games in which you pick one of three factions to use in an epic battle to conquer the map. Depending on the map size (up to 10 players can occupy nine massive solar systems, each with dozens of planets), skirmish sessions can last anywhere from an hour to more than a day.

And that’s the beauty of Sins; it scales all the things we like about the RTS genre into interstellar campaigns of epic proportion. Space exploration, technology research, and unit management are all drawn out over the span of a game (i.e., it’s rarely possible to explore the entire map before a game’s end). The balanced pacing gives you adequate time to develop every facet of your empire, so unlike in most RTS games, which favor the speediest player, you never feel as though you’ve fallen too far behind the curve.

In combat, the game plays like a mixture of Risk and Homeworld. Carefully plotting assault routes between planets and asteroids to surprise an opponent requires strategic finesse, and the reward of razing an undefended territory is very satisfying. We really dig the option to keep the ship-to-ship combat relatively hands-off, as we loved zooming in to survey glorious capital ship battles while the AI competently handles the micromanagement of the fleet.

Devious players will also adore the robust selection of passive-aggressive options, such as the ability to bribe local pirates to raid enemies or forge alliances and cease fires to manipulate opponents. The fine mix of 4X-style depth and RTS-inspired design makes for an irresistible and addictive combination. Just be warned, once you’re sucked in, don’t be surprised to find yourself losing track of time and playing matches until 4 a.m.

Gluttony

Deeply immersive, massive scale, takes the most of the micromanagement out of RTSes.

Gwyneth Paltrow's Head

No story mode, AI difficulty very uneven.

9

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Antilogic81

First off, Mr. Disappointed: I think you missed the point...not because of this or that, but because you based everything off the tutorial the game gives you. I'm sorry for us slow people...we like to know what we're doing before we jump into the seat of "ruler of worlds with vast armada at our disposal". So a tutorial that makes it slow for us and easy to understand is essential. Perhaps you should have forgone the tutorial? Perhaps you really should have designed a level with the kit they released and given the game the much needed PCP you wanted it to have. There really is a lot to this game and more coming with fans making their own models and such.

I'm sorry you didn't give the game a chance...but considering I have a short attention span myself...I really can't say you were fair to the game at all. You can't base a game off of its tutorial...thats silly.

I agree with MPC reviewer on this game...it is a much needed dose of awesomeness to the genre.

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hellomms

I am an RTS (game) lover, thats all I pretty much play, and was actually afraid to buy the game initially, as suggested in the review that it can be very addicting. But unfortunately, this is only RTS game that I did not play past the training. Here is what I didn't like:

1) I guess I am spoiled and would actually like a narrator to explain things in the training, instead of displaying text of important information about the game. The bad thing about display was that at times it would wait for me to hit OK to go to the next display of instructions while other times it would switch to next by itself making me wonder if I missed anything.

2) The graphics was not impressive at all. Isn't that one of the benchmarks of a good games?!! unless of course you are playing a board game. That was one of the major disappointments. Zooming in at the unit reveals an object, that I was not sure if it looked like a Date (yes the one that you eat) or a ship.

3) The gameplay is slow, very slow. Yes, you can make it fast after installing the patch but why would you have a slow gameplay at the first place! I don't want to yawn while I order my ship to move from one place to another.

I surely wouldn't have given this "9 Kickass" rating. May be 6 or 7.

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