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Sins of a Solar Empire: First Impressions

February 2nd, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 7 Comments · Ironclad, RTS, Sci Fi

I’ve already written a preview, but now that I have my hands on the final version I can begin forming ideas that mean something.

1) The interface has gotten more than a polish from the beta that I played. A lot of the screens have been redone from scratch, and are much improved. The research screens for example, are now clearly divided by purpose and the techs are described in great detail. The left hand planet flyouts still get very crowded.

2) In single player, the AI will ask you to take out hits on your mutual enemies. Success nets you better relations, failure hurts. Sometimes they just ask for money or minerals, but the “kill 10 of Bob’s Ships” missions are the win-win ones. One problem is that they sometimes ask for the impossible, like destroying ten civilian structures when the enemy only has five because you wiped out three of his planets already. So you take the relationship hit.

3) Pirates are a serious, serious pain in the ass.

4) Cash is like wood in Age of Empires III; you really need it in the early game but it increases too slowly. One you build trade outposts, though, the money just flows in like water. You’ll spend a lot of time near the beginning of the game selling minerals and crystal on the black market.

5) If you have two more capital ships than your opponent in a system, you will have a hard time losing. The trick is forcing a decisive battle since the AI is perfectly happy to warp out of trouble.

6) Timewise, it’s much more 4x than RTS. I played a “medium map” game last night for over three hours and had still only eliminated one of my three opponents.

7) I can’t wait for modders to get their hands on this.

8 ) Every good thing you have read about this game is absolutely true.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • Blair Fraser

    “The left hand planet flyouts still get very crowded.”

    Good point. You can customize it now with pinning (only pin the items you are interested in like your homeworld, main fleet etc.) By default auto-pinning of everything is on so it can get messy overtime but can be turned off in the UI options screen. Hope this helps :)

  • Troy

    Yeah, I noticed all that.

    It’s a tough call isn’t it? In an RTS this size, you can really use that information in a glance (kind of like how Paradox uses that customizable menu now for EU3) but there’s really no elegant way to do it as far as I can tell.

    In a traditional TBS like Civ, all that info can be found in a city menu, but since there’s no rush to get it, they don’t let you look at all the city menus at one time to get to your elite cavalry unit.

  • Bruce

    This is simply a super game.

  • James Allen

    You already got your copy? Dang it…guess the mail is slow alllllll the way to Florida.

  • Bruce

    It came Fedex yesterday – review copy.

  • Troy

    Same here. Review copy was left out in the rain by FedEx. CE too!

    Is there really a market for game soundtracks?

  • James Allen

    Fedex, eh? I guess I’m on the second tier of game reviewers :) Maybe it’ll come Monday. Well, I’ll get to play it regardless because I have a Stardock Central key from when I did my preview of Sins.