More Reviews
REVIEWS Wayward Manor Review
Not even the power of Neil Gaiman and The Odd Gentlemen could save this game from a fate worse than death: a terrible score.

ONE PIECE Unlimited World Red Review
"Unlimited World Red"? More like "Sorta Limited Town and Extended Areas... Red. And Blue. And Some Yellow."
More Previews
PREVIEWS Pillars of Eternity Preview
For Obsidian's crowdfunded love letter to Infinity Engine games like Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate, I was impressed by its willingness to pull back the curtain and let me see the machinery behind it.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Sacred 3
Release date: 08/05/14

CounterSpy
Release date: 08/19/14

Tales of Xillia 2
Release date: 08/19/14

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
Release date: 08/19/14


LATEST FEATURES How Bioware Creates Romances
Bioware's games have romances where you might save the world, on the side of course.

We Absolutely Should Be Upset With Club Nintendo's Latest Elite Rewards
Surveys out the wazoo and I get a code for Dr. Luigi?
MOST POPULAR FEATURES Picking Your Gender: 5 Industry Professionals Discuss Queer Identity in Gaming
Women from Naughty Dog, ArenaNet, Harmonix, and Gamespot unite to talk about what they want from games in terms of diversity.
 
Coming Soon

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP Kakulukia
Why Sunset Overdrive Can Go Suck A Lemon
By Kakulukia
Posted on 07/14/14
Yesterday, while cleaning up my media center, I found my copy of Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus, which I bought sometime before Christmas last year. I had been pretty excited about this game pre-release, what with it being the first "traditional", albeit shorter than usual,...

Sins of a Solar Empire Review

geoff_hunt By:
Geoff_Hunt
04/02/08
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE RTS 
PLAYERS 1- 10 
PUBLISHER Stardock 
DEVELOPER Ironclad 
RELEASE DATE  
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
T Contains Fantasy Violence, Mild Language

What do these ratings mean?

Shooting the moon.

As Georges Pompidou might have said, had he lived to play the game, there are three roads to ruin: women, gambling, and Sins of a Solar Empire. The most pleasant road may be with women and the quickest may be with gambling, but the surest is with Sins of a Solar Empire. To say that the game has made a mockery of my normal routines, breaking habits of sleep and timely meals, would be gross understatement. Though originally pleased with the assignment, I quickly began to dread returning home from work in the evenings to face Sins. How would a man of such limited means ever survive?

click to enlargeSins of a Solar Empire is the first cross between real-time strategy game and empire-builder that is thoroughly successful, a carnal combination that is simply irresistible. To combine the cool, tactile precision and adrenaline rush of the RTS with the warm, loving embrace of an empire-building game is as ruinous for me as a non-stop I.V. drip of heroin-laced caffeine. Indeed, this game is killing me!

Thankfully, the game is killing me with pure, unadulterated delight. Sins of a Solar Empire is incredibly well-designed. Three different playable factions, each with a different emphasis on units and a different play style, make the game well-balanced. The TEC (Trader Emergency Coalition) is essentially your classic, all-around race in an RTS; their ships are both strong and versatile. The Advent, a group of psychic desert nuts scavenging for sandworms and spice, have primarily quick-moving vessels that pack a fair bit of close- to mid-range punch, but don’t stand up to concentrated fire too well. And the Vasari, a lone alien group, play the role of the heavy hitters, with tough and powerful, though relatively few, ships.

It’s not a unique formula by any means, but it pulls off the classic Starcraft balance with such finesse that you won’t notice until some dick like me points it out. The scale of objects in the universe is also perfect, and the empire-building backbone is clean, smooth, and enjoyable. Sins delivers the same intensity as other stellar empire-building games, but with only a modicum of the same learning curve.

The biggest strength of Sins is how much it helps you play. There are tools for automating many of the systems; You can set your ships to use their special abilities on their own accord at appropriate moments, minimizing the need to micromanage every battle. Intelligent queuing makes it easy to arrange a list of priorities in a system.

click to enlargeVisually, Sins of a Solar Empire delivers a sleek, graceful performance on a variety of points. Though the level of detail and general quality of the textures are high, it doesn’t have any specific visual effects or artistic style that deserves special praise. However, it’s impressive how well the game scales from system to system. It runs just as beautifully on my laptop as it does on my tower of a rig, with almost no noticeable drop in graphical performance.

The music and sound are quite good; there’s an excellent, “floaty” quality to the score that feels very appropriate for vast stellar complexes and the patrol of sleek ships in the darkness of space.

If you’re an achievement whore (and if you are, bear in mind that I don’t like you very much), then you’ll be pleased to hear that Sins has them everywhere. Some are pretty simple and obvious; some are more bizarre and mind-bending. Rumor on the interwebs has it that if you get all the achievements within a time limit, you unlock a specialized mod – I have not succeeded in this.

Truly, there is little for me to criticize in Sins. The learning curve is one thing - there’s a lot going on, and it will at first be overwhelming to folks who are out of the RTS loop. For another thing, it’s hard to keep a single game under four hours; Sins is a serious time commitment.

click to enlargeIt’s also worth noting that the game has no single-player campaign and no actual storyline, despite the implication of one in the opening cutscene; Sins is pure, unadulterated gameplay and little else. This would be not so bad if the enemy A.I. in single-player skirmishes was not so mediocre. I found that I could force enemy retreats by just focusing fire on key ships. The moment a capital ship or a couple cruisers blows up, the enemy A.I. would retreat, giving me even more time to hammer them as they organized for the warp out.

Finally, it’s worth noting that in the long run, Sins of a Solar Empire does come off a little shallower than other RTS games and empire-building games. Some of the same factors that make the gameplay smooth occasionally feel as though they’re trivializing some interactions. Sins of a Solar Empire cannot be accused of being simple, but the difficulty of many decisions is surprisingly easy.

Overall, Sins of a Solar Empire is truly an excellent game. Minor flaws and caveats aside, it has been a long time since I’ve played any game so addicting and moment-to-moment enjoyable that it’s actually made me worry about starting it up. PC gamers, and especially strategy gamers, owe it to themselves to pick up a copy of Sins of a Solar Empire.

A- Revolution report card
  • Looks good and scales well
  • Game helps you keep track of everything
  • Excellent multiplayer
  • Great music
  • Balanced, enjoyable combat
  • Limited single-player appeal
  • High learning curve
  • Shallow end-game options
  • +/- Say goodbye to sleep
More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Sins of a Solar Empire


More On GameRevolution