Friday, February 08, 2008

Sins of the Solar Empire (PC)

Occasionally I will discuss something other then board gaming because the bottom line is I'm a gamer. Many have tried to rid me of this passion but no one has succeeded yet. I own a 360, PS3, 6 PC's, PSP, DS (soon to be cobalt black one as well), Wi and about a dozen other platforms that no longer see any AC coming their way. My motto has always been "Gamers go where the Games are" I'm not a fan of any console just good games. I've dogged the PS3 for the better part of a year but it still delivered one of the top 10 gaming experiences of my lifetime with Drake's Fortune.

So along comes Sins of the Solar Empire by Stardock which has been described as a cross between Home World meets Civilization. That's a pretty fair comparison in my initial days with the game. Sins on the surface could be mistaken for you run of the mill RTS but it's not even close. I need to come clean I am not a fan of RTS games I can count on one hand the number of RTS games that have seen extended play from me. In case your curious those would be Total Annihilation, Age of Mythology, Rise of Nations, Company of Heroes and that's about it.

Sins has the potential to be the next one on that list, there is just so much depth to this game it is hard to phantom at times. To give you an idea of how over whelming this game can be let me give you my thoughts 10 seconds after starting my first game. "What the Hell should I do first"

It certainly wasn't through lack of information that I arrived at that thought. There were four decent tutorials to take me through Logistics, Interface and numerous other skills and information I would need to get going. It wasn't from a clear cut idea of what I needed to do, the goal is simple dominate the stars.

I sat there staring at my screen letting the seconds click because I couldn't figure out what my little empire should do because there were so many choices. Develop my planet, create construction frigates, set up mining facilities on the nearby asteroids, get a ship yard up and going to create a fleet, put planetary structures in place, perhaps start my way to controlling the black market.

As I sat there I kept thinking to myself the clock is ticking, lets get those frigates up and going. Lets get some defenses going tick, tick tick... I need metal for my fleet get mining set up on that asteroid tick, tick, tick...

As my minions went about doing my bidding without the babysitting required by your typical RTS I waited and waited for the inevitable rush to occur. You know what I mean it happens in almost all RTS game, hell it happens in Civ IV and thats possibly the best turn based game ever made. Before you're ready, because you haven't followed the formula for success the AI is scouting or worse attacking you.

In case you're wondering there it is, my problem with RTS games in general. Many of them are suppose to feel grand in scale, AOE you're colonizing the new world. Nothing kills the illusion of such a grand design as an instant rush by elephants while your still chopping trees to build animal pens.

In Sins I waited and I waited and it never came. That's not to say that contact didn't occur because it most certainly did. However I felt in control, I felt like I knew my empire and what was going on. I had a plan, my little cruiser and frigates were doing what I told them to do and better yet they were doing what needed to be done at times without me telling them. My solar empire was living, breathing on it's own and I was sitting in a throne room on my planet with a smile.

Will Sins make it to my top 5 list of RTS games, time will tell but so far I am enjoying the ride. I read this somewhere and it was a simple quote but spot on. "Sins has that one more turn feeling except there are no turns"

I doubt I will do a full review of this game, that's not my blogs purpose but I am going to give you a chance to win a copy of the game. I'll be announcing a contest over the weekend which will give you a chance to start your own empire.

Considering the current traffic to my site your chances should be good.


Hieronymus said...

Funny - about a year and a half ago I wrote about how tired the RTS games felt. And I've played a few more of them since then and yet it still feels the same!

Real Time Boredom

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