Sins of the Solar Empire experiences
I did play some last weekend. Started out with the tutorials which took me less than a hour, I was a bit confused during the tutorial, but after I was through them I found out that the game isn’t all that complicated at all and controls feel rather intuitive. The UI on the left side is great, you’d think taking care of 10+ planets and hundreds of ships is impossible, but they dealt with it in a smart way and it’s easy to keep an eye on what is going on. No enemy can get close to your planets unnoticed if you’re paying some attention.
As I said in my previous post, I didn’t really know what to expect of this game. I heard some good stories and that it had some Civilization feel in it. That’s pretty much all I knew. It was a rather impulsive buy and I found out it isn’t exactly my game. It’s very much a default RTS with the “build-a-base->pump-units->fight” in a as efficient way possible, where the players that continue to focus on building/improving their units win. And sadly I get a bit bored and loose focus on this after a while in most RTS’s. It isn’t that much different in Sins of the Solar Empire, my 3 multiplayer games so far all ended like this for me. But at the same time, at this very moment of writing this, I’m tempted to start another multiplayer game, which I shouldn’t (I should sleep instead), so it’s doing something right for me.
I think for a RTS it’s one of the best ones ever made. I find it a lot more fun than the default Starcraft-like RTS people have been playing for 10 years now. It’s quite epic, building your own space Empire and the various ways to improve your abilities in the research trees. It also runs fluently. Big fun battles. Zooming out to a view where you can see several solar systems and zooming in close to your ship in seconds. It’s tactical (the usual rock-paper-scissor(or should I say shotgun?) stuff and some ‘special’ ships. I wasn’t that overwhelmed graphically though, it runs nicely and that’s most important, but if you want to see detailed space-ships and stations from close-up, you’re better off playing Eve Online.
What I really am disappointed with is the singleplayer. It doesn’t have a campaign and I knew that. Thing is that I heard one of the developers say in an interview that people create their own stories in skirmishes in their own little sandbox. And you know, I agreed with that, I’ve never completed the campaign or a scenario in Civilization and always just start my own sandbox games. Thing is I don’t find the singleplayer skirmishes comparable to Civilization in this way at all. I was looking forward to a good diplomacy model, but it’s totally awful. It’s just npc factions spamming you with missions like giving them credits or shooting at their enemies, while you don’t have any way to reply or communicate with them at all. The lore around the game they have on their website is boring, cliché and not interesting at all. And except for the intro-movie you don’t notice the background story in the game anywhere. Create your own stories with stupid spamming npc’s. Pfff, I prefer the good old Montezuma backstabbing me in Civilization.
Conclusion: It’s a good game, just not exactly my game, but I know I’ll continue to spend time on it for a while. I hope they’ll be patching that awful Diplomacy system soon. I’m also looking forward to some good Eve Online modification for this game, just renaming the factions/ships would already make it more fun for me, since their game-lore really doesn’t seem to be worth exploring.