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Sins of a Solar Empire

Platform : Windows XP, Windows Vista
Rated: Teen
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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9 used from CDN$ 5.14

Game Information

  • Platform:   Windows XP / Vista
  • ESRB Rating: Teen Teen
  • Media: Video Game
  • Item Quantity: 1

Product Details

  • ASIN: B000YFOGS8
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 14 x 3.2 cm
  • Release Date: Feb. 5 2008
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,549 in Computer and Video Games (See Top 100 in Computer and Video Games)
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

From Amazon.ca

Ten millennia have passed since you and the few survivors of the once mighty Vasari Empire fled from an unknown threat that all but exterminated your kind. You now find yourself at the fringe of the galaxy in a sector occupied by a pathetically primitive species - one obsessed with trade and lacking any central organization or military technology. Calling themselves the Trader Emergency Coalition, they would have been ideal slaves in the glorious days of the past, but time is of the essence. Use your mastery of phase-space manipulation, gravity and nanotechnology to quickly eliminate any local resistance and acquire the necessary resources to fuel the next segment of your continuing exodus.

Features:

  • Take command of 1 of 3 space-faring races as you work to establish domination of the galaxy.
  • Use diplomacy, economic skill, cultural influence, and sheer military might to establish order.
  • Explore and conquer neighboring planets and distant solar systems in a massively scaled, fully 3D galaxy.
  • Transition between the roles of emperor and fleet commander; customize and improve powerful units.
  • Extensive diplomatic and economic strategies can exercise a variety of options.


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This is an EXCELLENT game that takes the galaxy civilization games a clear step further. Written as a science-fiction novel, played as a seat-of-your-pants RTS game, this is a very intelligent hybrid that I greatly enjoyed.

In effect, SINS is a successful blend of the wonderful GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS and HOMEWORLD series, with a sprinkling of TOTAL WAR for good measure. This is NOT a turn-based civilization game, so expect a much faster pace. What this means is that while it maintains the characteristics of classic turn-based civilization games (exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination), by relieving from the micromanagement tedium, it allows for an intense RealTime Strategy experience. Now, this probably may not appeal to turn-based purists, but I would advise an open mind: this is a good game.

This concept-blending is new, so expect a slow learning curve - it took me a number of ...false-starts to get the hang of it: after all, it plays like an RTS and (although simplified) it still has enough of turn-based features that need to be taken care of. The interface is simplified and informative at the same time, with info trees sliding out only when needed.

There are three different factions to choose from (financiers, technologists and psitecs) - yet, their differences focus mainly on research tree-branching and ship designs. What I did not like was that the ships of all three factions are effectively the same and their differences are only skin-deep. What I would have liked to find (and was disappointed to the point of withholding the 5th star for fun) was ship design and building! Remember how much fun was to design our own spaceships (from freighters to battleships) in GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS II? Well, no such luck here.
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The game is a bit slower paced then some rts games but the research has a decent variety. the number of planets and planet types could have been better and the resources could have been better thought out. Overall the game is enjoyable enough to play for days on end.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xb1f3ffd4) out of 5 stars 121 reviews
174 of 183 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa14cf7bc) out of 5 stars IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU END YOUR TURN... Feb. 6 2008
By NeuroSplicer - Published on Amazon.com
This is an EXCELLENT game that takes the galaxy civilization games a clear step further. Open-ended like a new science-fiction world and played as a seat-of-your-pants RTS game, this is a very intelligent hybrid that I greatly enjoyed.

In effect, SINS is a successful blend of the wonderful GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS and HOMEWORLD series, with a sprinkling of TOTAL WAR for good measure. This is NOT a turn-based civilization game, so expect a much faster pace. What this means is that while it maintains the characteristics of classic turn-based civilization games (exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination), by relieving from the micromanagement tedium, it allows for an intense RealTime Strategy experience. Now, this probably may not appeal to turn-based purists, but I would advise an open mind: this is a good game.

This concept-blending is new, so expect a slow learning curve - it took me a number of ...false-starts to get the hang of it: after all, it plays like an RTS and (although simplified) it still has enough of turn-based features that need to be taken care of. The interface is simplified and informative at the same time, with info trees sliding out only when needed.

There are three different factions to choose from (financiers, technologists and psitecs) - yet, their differences focus mainly on research tree-branching and ship designs. What I did not like was that the ships of all three factions are effectively the same and their differences are only skin-deep. What I would have liked to find (and was disappointed to the point of withholding the 5th star for fun) was ship design and building! Remember how much fun was to design our own spaceships (from freighters to battleships) in GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS II? Well, no such luck here. Let's hope they keep it in mind when the patch gets prepared.

Quick and constant exploration is not only encouraged by a necessity if one wants to survive - let alone win. Spaceships built within a solar system cannot travel beyond it, unless using "wormhole"-like singularities. This adds to realism but can stretch your finances to their breaking point - since only locally built ships can be used. Moreover, it makes really hard to locate the strategic points to either built defenses or focus an attack. The AI will constantly be bypassing your planning like the Maginot line - and leave you with such a French feeling...

The graphics (of all of backgrounds, planets and units) are very nicely done. I really liked the multiple afterburners tracing through space as a spaceship squadron was dopplering past my screen...And less-than-cutting-edge PC owners rejoice: even 4-5 years old systems can handle this game like a breeze!
What I truly appreciated was the realistic scale of things. Galaxies are much larger than star systems, which in turn are much larger than planets, which in turn are much larger than space stations...than spaceships and so on. How is this achieved? Excellent zooming!
SUPREME COMMANDER was the first game to introduce strategic zoom; however, SINS implements it much better and shows how it should had been done: from a galaxy to a single planet and to a single spaceship, zooming in or out firmly maintains the effectiveness of battle controls by grouping and simplifying the info-tiles as one zooms out. In SupCom, we had to chose between either discerning the units or moving ...info-tiles around the battlefield - not a bad first attempt, mind you. In SINS, one almost never looses perspective: ongoing battles, critical hotspots, or colony revolts are all easily identifiable in real-time.

On another note, SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE is a STARDOCK release which, yes, means their specialized installation utility. Nevertheless, this game hides no DRM or other intrusive security idiocy. Since trust and respect between a game publisher and its customers is a two-way street (and STARDOCK was willing to prove its friendship first), SINS deserves our support.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
131 of 142 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa14cfbc4) out of 5 stars Unique, beautiful, and flawed. Wait for the demo. Feb. 11 2008
By orakle - Published on Amazon.com
First, this game isn't exactly what you may have heard. Don't expect a real time version of Gal Civ 2, or a sort of Europa Universalis in space, this is an RTS game first. Game play consists of collecting resources, building ships, and hurling big piles of them at big piles of enemy ships. It has some characteristics of TBS space games, like warp lanes, planet hopping, and a broadly slower pace. It also has some light approximations of the research and infrastructure elements of TBS titles, but there's no empire-building here to speak of. There are also no victory conditions beyond "annihilate the other guy." The bulk of your time will definitely be spent on traditional RTS activities, so if you don't care for that genre, don't invest.

I have played this unique title for several weeks now, and come to some conclusions. It's an interesting game with a steep learning curve for an RTS. I finally have a good feel for the rather unique interface, and it works reasonably well. The empire tree is a novel tool to control building and to try to track structures and ships in your empire. It lacks a sense of relative position, however, and as such I still find myself missing a mini-map. The main problems, however, all stem from one simple component of the design: the real time battles take place in the same timeline as the real time strategy. That is, while your ships are fighting, time is ticking by all across your empire. Got 3 battles going on? You can only watch and manage one of them. The AI's ok at handling fights for you, but I dislike being reliant on that. For that matter, the graphics are gorgeous and the battles are genuinely exciting, it kind of sucks that at best I can only watch one at a time and frequently I'm pulled away from that to handle managerial issues. The empire tree mitigates this at times, but fails to do so at others. It's not the universal control panel that I believe the designers intended it to be.

It's probably also worth mentioning that there are only three factions, and they play quite similarly. The art and voice work for each is well done and quite distinct, but the vaunted unique tech trees are actually about 75% equivalent to one another, at a guess. The result is that there's little different between factions beyond the aesthetic.

The single player diplomatic system is peculiar. I'm not fond of it, and it bears a few words simply because I've never seen a system like this before. In a free for all, single player game your opponents will give you "missions" to curry their favor. These can be straight-up extortion, like "give us X amount of this resource" or they can be something like "kill X number of ships/structures belonging to this enemy." Performing the task in the time allotted will increase relations with the faction in question, failing to do so will lower relations. What's a bit strange is that even if you're actively engaged in hostilities with an opponent (like, say, bombarding and recolonizing their worlds) they'll still message you with these missions. Even when you've made friends with a given AI, in many cases performing these tasks are a practical impossibility. Imagine, for example, being in the midst of a massive war with one enemy when your "ally" demands that you destroy a large number of ships and structure from a different enemy in a short amount of time. This kind of thing causes you to lose allies when you need them most quite often and for no good reason. If it were a bit more context-sensitive (ie when you're fighting a joint war, the requests involve the destruction of the opponent you're both actively attacking), it'd work better. Since your other actions in the game beyond these "missions" affect your relations with the AI players not at all, as best I can tell, I find it's best to simply play with locked teams and avoid the system altogether. The result, though, is that the diplomacy element of a 4X game is either broken or missing, here, depending on how you play.

On the positive side, the random map generator is the single most powerful function of its type I've ever seen in a game, bar none. It's better than the map generation in the Civilization series, and that's really saying something. There appear to be hard caps on almost nothing, you can create a map of any size to virtually any specifications you can dream of (and that your PC can handle), it more than compensates to the lack of a story-based campaign IMO.

It's also worth noting that the game is very modable. With a sufficiently engaged, motivated fan community (which this game appears to have, at this early date) and with the level of support and additions I expect from a Stardock product, there's reason to think it'll only get better with time.

So for what it is, I'd say the game is pretty well done. It seems reasonably polished, very stable, the AI's adequate while you're learning, and the graphics and sounds are great. It scales well to low and high end systems. The capital ship level up system is neat (if borrowed completely from Warcraft 3) and the battles are quite cool looking. The problem, at heart, is that the large scale strategy (which already has a few flaws, as mentioned) and the tactical battles conflict with, rather than complement, one another. It's two games that don't quite fit together, and thus make one flawed game when all is said and done.

But don't take my word for it. The best way to find out about Sins is to play the demo, which the devs have said will be out within a month or so of Sins' release (that is, sometime in March '08). You are wise to wait and do this, as there's never been a game quite like this one and whether or not it works for you is going to depend a great deal on your personal tastes.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1cbea14) out of 5 stars Maybe I'm missing something March 12 2008
By Bruce F. Webster - Published on Amazon.com
First off, my bona fides: I've been playing computer games for over 30 years; heck, I was designing computer games nearly 30 years ago. I don't even want to think about how many hundreds (if not thousands) of hours I've spent playing various games (mostly 4X and RTS) over the years. You can check out some of my other game reviews here on Amazon (via the link above) to get a sense of my preferences and biases.

I gave SINS four (4) stars overall because it is way above average for the clean, innovative user interface and general quality of the software. It's slick, professional, and absolutely solid. The user interface takes a bit to learn, but once you get the hang of it, it helps you get things done very quickly. And the ability to zoom smoothly from very close to very far out make operating at different scales very easy.

On the other hand, I have a hard time giving the game more than three stars for fun because every game I've played so far (and I've played a lot) ultimately degenerates into shuffling fleets from system to system as your remaining opponent(s) attack. And since ship movement is so slow (yes, even on the 'quick' setting), I find myself spending a lot of time just staring at the screen, watching my fleets inch their way to the current system(s) under attack. Resources (credits, metal, crystal) and 'slots' (logistical and tactical) tend to be so constrained that it's very hard to set up a system that can really defend itself without a decent fleet on hand.

There are no real politics beyond very simple agreements (cease fire, peace treaty, trade agreement, share intelligence). Other (AI) factions make demands of you -- initially for resources, but then for attacks on other factions. You are under a time limit and you have no option to decline gracefully; you either fulfill the demand (and receive a reward comprising some mixture of good will, credits, metal, and/or crystal), or you fail to do so, and you lose goodwill with the faction. Note that you cannot turn around and make those same demands on the AI factions -- an asymmetric disparity that is (IMHO) a serious flaw.

A typical Sins game starts out interestingly enough, but tends to become tedious towards the endgame. Because both movement and construction are so slow, progress in the latter portion of the game tends to be slow as well:

-- Faction A attacks Planet X occupied by Faction B
-- Faction B starts bringing its fleets from elsewhere to Planet X
-- Faction A manages (or not) to wipe out the population on Planet X
-- Faction B manages to bring enough ships to bear to force Faction A to retreat
-- Faction A starts the slow process of building new ships to replace those lost in the attack and then moving them (slowly) to where its fleets are
-- Faction B starts the slow process of recolonizing Planet X (if necesary), after which it can start the slow process of rebuilding the logistical and tactical infrastructure of Planet X, as well as the slow process of building new ships to replace those lost during the battle for Planet X

Or, alternately, Faction B retreats from Planet X, in which case it is Faction A that has the slow process of recolonizing and rebuilding Planet X.

Fleet tactics during battles mostly consist of aiming all your ships at one of your opponent's ships for the 30-60 seconds it takes to destroy it, then repeating that until your opponents flees or is destroyed, or you flee or are destroyed. The variety of technologies that the different capital ships can have are nice, but if you have two or more battles going on simultaneously, it's pretty difficult to do any actual tactics or maneuvering for more than just one battle.

Now imagine that you're doing this simultaneously against 2, 3, or 4 AI factions. It's easy for them to wear you down, but hard for you to make real progress against one of them.

Did I mention the pirates? If you have pirates in the game (some games exclude them), they'll show up out of nowhere and attack your systems also. You can bribe them to go attack other factions.

In the end, it's that combination of simultaneous attacks, slow production, slow movement, and slow progress that pretty much makes Sins very tedious in the endgame. Based on the glowing reviews I've seen here and elsewhere, there must be people who really enjoy that sort of thing and/or have some magic strategies that make all this work.

In sum: great technology, great UI, great initial gameplay, and very tedious endgame. YMMV. ..bruce..
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa14cfc3c) out of 5 stars Version 1.03 has significant changes March 18 2008
By Mark Shanks - Published on Amazon.com
Don't like the space pirates? Thank goodness the latest release (downloadable from Stardock) has a series of "game options", including one to make them "inactive". In the (admittedly beginner-level) game I'm playing, they're still there on their maniacally-armed planet, but so far I haven't had them putting bounties on my head.

I leave it to the more experienced gamers to fathom how things work. Me - I'm puzzled that, as quickly as I can get a scout ship to start exploring my little corner of the solar system, the "other guys" all seem to have large fleets of frigates and cruisers, even battle cruisers (!), already assembled. And those damned PIRATES! One look at their "home world", and I'm simply ready to abandon all hope. Dozens of defensive platforms, and scores of ships! Does the game START with everyone BUT me ready for massive combat? (And yes, this is with "Easy" mode selected.)

As another reviewer has pointed out, things CAN get a bit tedious. I had a 2.5-hour space battle - I went through three capitol ships and countless frigates and cruisers, but somehow the "other guys" (playing in single-player mode) seemed able to match my output ship-for-ship, PLUS a few extra. Had I left it to AI strategy, it would have been a massacre. But after so long a battle, I simply wasn't enjoying it and bailed.

The system-building option also strikes me as a little unusual. I suppose you could use it to give yourself either a huge advantage or to handicap a game, but in normal play, I prefer the random assignments of resources. Your ability to acquire knowledge and to build ships depends on the availability of vital resources: metal and crystal. If you're fortunate enough to start with or conquer a planet with multiple crystal asteroids, you have a great head start over the poor slob with one or none.

Dedicated gamers will find scope enough to occupy them for weeks, probably months. Casual gamers: don't expect anything to get settled in just a couple of hours. The *smallest* game, a single-system scenario, takes about 8-10 hours of play. Unlike other games I've played, there's no "just putzing around and exploring" - this is definitely a hostile system, with most planets armed to the teeth and itching for a fight. (Diplomacy? Why does someone want to have me perform some oddball "mission" at the same time they're bombarding the bejeezus out of my home planet?)

All that said - yes, I'm having a good time. Very fluid graphics, lots of "good stuff" to work through, and great value for your gaming dollar. If you're on the fence, I hope a demo comes out soon, because it really is a fun and involving game.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa14cffc0) out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful! Feb. 6 2008
By Verkinix - Published on Amazon.com
Hey All!

Rather then rewriting a new review, I'm pasting the one I wrote earlier today. So without further ado:
...
Anyway, I figured that there is a day or two before we got more reviews on this game and many people want them now, so I'll fill in my experiences with the *cough*seven*cough* hours I got to spend on SOASE yesterday.

First of all, installation and activation went completely smooth. I had no issues what so ever setting up the game and getting it to run. One thing I cant seem to find is the user.setting file. I wanted to see about modifying some of my options, but there is no ironclad folder in the apps folder. I even did a windows search and that file doesnt seem to exist on this machine, which leaves me wondering where it might be. But that is my own experience and others, I'm sure, have found it with ease.

Next, I move into the interface. The startup menu is clean and smooth. I was able to crank my graphics settings to max without so much as a hiccup on my HP notebook. Buttons responded immediately as they should and menus popped up instantly as well. I did find the tutorials mildly helpful when going through the basics, but the majority of the UI learning came from actually rolling over a button and systematically seeing what everything does. Because the number of buttons on the UI are "few" in comparison to other RTS's and 4X games, this didnt really take that long. (On a side note, I was quite taken aback when I click on the scuttle button and my ship blew up... just so happened it was a migrator too!). Overall the UI is clean and fairly easy to use, though the info cards and empire tree do take some getting used to and some familiarizing to get the hang of. I have to say it is one of the better UI's I've used in an RTS setting.

From there, I will go to controls. I really like these controls. You can zoom out as far as you like and zoom in to a specific unit/planet/etc easily. I especially like that if you mouse over a unit and zoom in, your camera will follow that unit. This is especially fun when you are waiting for a ship to go from a to b or just waiting for some funds. You can lock on the back of a ship and watch it enter hyperspace without actually having to select the ship. The other nice thing about the zoom is that, by default, it will zoom to your mouse cursor location. So wherever your mouse is on the map, the camera will zoom there. I found this to take some practice because most other RTS's are nearly that slick to control. Further with the camera zoom, there was NO drop in FPS for me. It's just so smooth. I do wish I could switch the operation of RMB and MMB in terms of camera controls. (I'm thinking there is a user.setting setting that would allow that IF I could find it). Ships are fairly simple to control and move. The create fleet option is simply wonderful. I especially like that ALL of your fleet/planet/etc controls are within 2 menus, tops. Click on build logistics and then the building and place it. There is no messing around with finding a construction ship just to build one thing and find another to build another. Clicking the planet and then the operations you want within 2 menus and the ships automatically go there is just wonderful. Zooming out iconizes things for you so you can see what ships, fleets, structures, enemies, etc are in a particular system (or rather, how many). This is about as streamlined as I can think to make something this epoch in scale.

Ok, moving on... Combat. And ships in general. It is somewhat "slow". I wish the frigates (and fleets in general) would have some movement like the fighters. The fighters are fantastic, flying around and zipping here and there (though they are tough to track and hard to see when zoomed out). It is, however, simply awesome to see a truly epoch battle. Like when both sides are filled to the brim with ships and it becomes one big blood bath. It's hardly noticiable at that point that the frigates arent moving much. It does take some time to kill a single ship, but this allows for tactics. You dont simply go in and just fire until the other ship(s) is dead. You go in and move your ships around so that they get the best position for killing the target ship while staying out of the main blast. This is a depth of strategy I have not seen much in the RTS world. It takes those capital ships a fair amount of time to turn and use their primary weapons, so if you can sneak some fast moving frigates behind them... well, you know. Anyway, like any RTS, it does take some getting used to splitting your attention between multiple target areas, but what fun would an RTS be if it were simply?

I'll only touch briefly on the economy and politics as I'm running long and I actually want people to read this. The economics are fair. I rarely have crystals in the beginning and rarely have metals in the end so it all balances out. The black market is a nice feature to help balance that out because I almost always have more credits then I know what to do with. The politics screen (diplomacy and such) are very well implemented for an RTS. I did find that with 6 AI players, it got a little overwhelming to keep on friendly terms with them all. I eventually had to cut some of them off which resulted in many battles over territories. To combat that, I would raise the bounties on them and let the pirates do my dirty work The pirates are brutal sometimes. I didnt have much trouble overall with them, but when left unchecked and a bounty of 10k, it can get a little intense. The AI does give you a run for your money. It seemed pretty logical from my first impressions with it, but only time will tell.

Overall, whew made it... This is a fantastic epoch RTS game. The engine is fantastic to say the least and the controls are decent. The graphics are nice, nothing earth shattering, but far from terrible. The pace of the game can be slow if you let it. I, personally, didnt take much time with the sound or multiplayer so I wont include that in the review. I can definitely see myself playing this game for years to come and at the bestbuy price tag, I cant complain. Overall I give it a 9.5.

Controls: 9.5
Graphics: 8.0
Engine: 10.0
AI: 8.5
Value: 10.0
Longevity: 10.0
Strategy: 10.0
Uniqueness: 10.0

Overall: 9.5/10.0

I would give it another 10 just for how it is distributed. I mean, no CD/DVD in drive needed is always a plus for me, laptop and all. Kudos to stardock and ironclad! Should get this game just to support companies like them who actually care about the quality of their product and the satisfaction of their customers.

For a non genre gamer I would put it in the 8.3-8.5 range, meaning they should at least try it because it is a decent game. For a non gamer, this game might be daunting with all the potential bells and whistles, but they should at least know what its about.
...

Having played today with sound on, I can say that I like the sound track, but the Vasari voice over kind of annoys me. The other two factions are fine, but the Vasari sound like the Rulons from the old 80's cartoon DinoRiders. They have this low raspy voice that can get irritating after a while. I'd give the sound an 8.5. I'd probably give it a 9.0 if the units didnt speak every time you issue a new command, but modding tools will be available soon, so this problem can be remedied.


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