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Sins of a Solar Empire Review

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February 18, 2008 2:41:43 AM

Review written by Travis Meacham.

Mixing elements from real-time strategy and 4X turn-based games Sins of a Solar Empire hopes to satisfy fans of Homeworld and Galactic Civilizations alike. Find out if Sins delivers or disappoints.

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/02/18/sins_of_a_solar_empire_review/
February 18, 2008 10:48:04 AM

Agree with most everything in your review. It is a good game but lacks a story... biggest down fall of all.
One Note, i don't' like the ship mechanics, i wish when you tell your fleet to move some where, they would stay there. Countless time i have lost trade plate forms to pirates because my fleet was to busy chasing ships on the other side of the planet. STAY PUT!
February 18, 2008 11:19:18 AM

How is the game's performance?
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February 18, 2008 12:47:18 PM

stemnin said:
How is the game's performance?

For me it's great until tons of units start fighting in multiple gravity wells. Then it starts to chug until the battles wind down. It is definitely a processor bottleneck as AA makes no difference and it is slow even when I zoom all the way out and no ships are being rendered. From what I hear the game doesn't really utilize multiple cores (big surprise...).

Oh and deadwolf, there's an option to make you fleet "hold position."
February 18, 2008 1:38:49 PM

what a BS !!
there is no campaigne, only separate maps, and even the smalest map is pretty huge, and you have to research all over again ?
and what's the story with the pirates ? they are all over you from the begining, is there a way to get rid of them ? when I went to their planet I saw hundreds of sheep, probably more than all other players combined ?!?
I played a few hours and send it to the recyclebin of the games history (to say it nicely!)
February 18, 2008 9:00:14 PM

I'm very glad that there's no campaign. Campaigns in games like this are pointless. I only play random maps.
February 18, 2008 9:42:28 PM

You have some glaring technical inaccuracies as early as the tagline that I thought I'd point out.

Quote:
>A Complex Game with a Simple Goal - Control the Universe
...
>In Sins you'll start with a single-planet and shipyard with the goal being nothing short
>of total domination of the Universe - or at least the section of it represented by your
>current map.



The environment for the game is a solar system with a single star. Your goal is domination of the solar system, not the entire universe. The stars you see in the background are part of said universe, yet the player is not asked to conquer them.

Quote:
>The game plays out in real-time but since you're dealing with interstellar distances the
>style is more that of a turn-based game mixed with the ominous feeling that you aren't
>building fast enough.


Interstellar means between stars. The game takes place on an interplanetary scale.
February 18, 2008 9:44:47 PM

?? When you say no single-player, does that mean you alway need a second player on a network or the internet ??
February 18, 2008 9:47:29 PM

The single player game is basically all skirmish battles. It features AI opponents of varying difficulty level.

drysocks said:
?? When you say no single-player, does that mean you alway need a second player on a network or the internet ??

February 18, 2008 10:26:04 PM

sdub said:
You have some glaring technical inaccuracies as early as the tagline that I thought I'd point out.

Quote:
>A Complex Game with a Simple Goal - Control the Universe
...
>In Sins you'll start with a single-planet and shipyard with the goal being nothing short
>of total domination of the Universe - or at least the section of it represented by your
>current map.



The environment for the game is a solar system with a single star. Your goal is domination of the solar system, not the entire universe. The stars you see in the background are part of said universe, yet the player is not asked to conquer them.

Quote:
>The game plays out in real-time but since you're dealing with interstellar distances the
>style is more that of a turn-based game mixed with the ominous feeling that you aren't
>building fast enough.


Interstellar means between stars. The game takes place on an interplanetary scale.

You have obviously never played a map with multiple stars/solar systems. The one I'm playing right now has 5 ;) 
February 19, 2008 3:47:06 AM

Quote:
I have this same problem with all RTS multiplayer. Most people quit if they get attacked too early or if they attack and you hold them off.

Perhaps the author only plays with noobs.
February 19, 2008 4:31:15 AM

lucip said:
and what's the story with the pirates ? they are all over you from the begining, is there a way to get rid of them ? when I went to their planet I saw hundreds of sheep, probably more than all other players combined ?!?


You can get rid of the pirates by destroying all their home bases but you'd better get your fleet ready for a big fight. The pirates have the numbers but if you go in there with some big capital ships, some upgraded technology, and a variety of support ships you'll ride them down like grass.
February 19, 2008 5:10:39 AM

Thanks for such a detail review!

I love RTS games and I do play some turn-based games such as Civ. From your review that I read, I probably don't mind the lack of single player campaign because most of the time, I don't find the campaigns interesting at all. Perhaps the Starcraft and Warcraft series have set the bar too high, I always get disappointed with games that come with some sort of campaigns (such as Dawn of War, Perimeter, SupComm, Rise of Legend, Ground Control ... and many more). I'd rather get right into the business and have an exciting battle or game.

Much like the turn based series such as Civ, just one huge game that starts with one city at a time I suppose.

I may check Sins out ... tks.
February 19, 2008 5:59:39 PM

Great review, Travis. I'm pretty much in agreement with you.

This is an awesome game. To me a singleplayer campaign would've made a nice excuse for tutorials - and I would've liked to see the story fleshed out more - but the game still rocks, regardless.

Given a choice between an awesome game with no single player campaign, and a mediocre game with a great single player campaign, I'll pick the awesome game any day of the week.
February 19, 2008 7:46:10 PM

Not a bad review.

I like the game quite a lot. Although I hate static, scripted campaigns, the lack of one was never compensated for.

I think what they should have done is put more of a personality and a history into the game to give it flavor in order to make up for the lack of a series of campaign missions. Instead of having the very stupid pirate raids, Do something like what Rome Total War did with the Senate. Have missions assigned to you that flesh out some culture and background with the universe. Have random missions you need to finish once you have a capital ship, something like that. The randomly generated universes are colorful, but lacking in style and history. Why is it called Sins of a Solar empire? We will never know.

The gameplay is great, the mechanics work, the user interface brings it together nicely. I would also fiercely argue that the pacing is just right, and NOT too slow. With a faster, action oriented pace, I would lose interest in it very quickly. I want a stradegy game with planning, not a quick shoot-em-up session. There are plenty of mindless RTS's out there, no need to make one more.

I also thought that a big flaw with the game is that the fonts are much too small. My monitor's native resolution is 1650 by 1024, and the font hurts the eyes, especially after staring at the screen for 5 hours. Switching it down to 1440 x 900 didn't help at all. There should be a font size selection. Didn't the people who make this game have monitors that went above 1024 by 768?

The core of this game WORKS, and could be made outstanding by expansion packs. An expansion pack that added random missions, more diverse perks for capital ship leveling, more diplomatic options, and spying operations could make for an incredible experience.
February 19, 2008 8:55:00 PM

I do miss the Single player campaign but the ramdom skirmishes are fun. Lots of potential for expansions.

I was able to jump in and play without reading the player guide. I find the AI refreshingly responsive... they will retreat and regroup and come back for an attack once regrouped- adding challenge. The AI will also jump in to help you should you need it when you have good faction with them and it will not continually do the same tactics (a la command and conquer: choose your version). When you are fighting someone they will spot your small colonizer and try to take it out to prevent you from capturing their system.

The pirates are a good way to level up without having to find your opponents which can be a very lengthy (and dangerous) process... I find that if I am overwhelmed with them I can retreat and come and recolonize the planet.

The interface was very intuitive.. and once I learned the best way to group the fleets, it was cake to adjust to. I usually play at fast speed so I don't have to wait so long for resources.

If you use your media stations, I find they help with the recovery of a planet also. I you lose a planet and you culture was strong, you can prevent the enemy from claiming it for a few more minutes.

One thing I would like to see is the ability to exclude a point from a route without having to shift click around it, since when you are focused on other things its easy to send your units through hostile territory. Also would like to see the ability to hi-jack some of the bigger ships.

Dan
February 23, 2008 8:33:49 PM

I love this game. I do wish it had a campaign mode, but I'm cool without it. I also like that it has a mod manager built right in. I can't wait until a few overachievers start playing with it. This game would be cool with Star Trek or Mass Effect ships and techs.
April 28, 2008 10:41:07 PM

I need a save game editor. The beginning of this game is murder unless played at the easiest level. Then later in the game it is WAY too easy. Where is the balance?? Seriously, any one know where I can get a save game editor?
May 2, 2008 3:04:42 PM

Quote:
The beginning of this game is murder unless played at the easiest level


i suffered from this as well until i realized the first capitol ship was free... you can get one of these early on in a game, and with it you can usually take over nearby planets with ease as they're normally guarded by just 4-6 generic ships that dont really make much of a dent in your 2-3k hp capital ship
May 3, 2008 12:16:17 PM

Always start with a battleship (The first one) because it is the most powerful before you have many abilities on it. One on one a level 1 battleship will take out any other level 1 cap ship so you can use it to remove opponent's cap ships early as well.

I highly recommend building a second cap ship quickly though. That way if you are in a tough fight you can retreat the one getting pounded without leaving the fight completely. Then send it back in once it has repaired a bit and retreat the other one. Juggling cap ships is a good way to handle a lot of tough fights.

I honestly don't build many frigates or cruisers until late game. I just use my cap ships for everything because those things just don't die. I don't have to constantly rebuild my fleet because I have no attrition. Just know when to retreat your cap ship and you are set.
!