Ah Sins of a Solar Empire my old friend, it seems a long time since I originally reviewed the first installment and the two micro expansions for it. Now Ironclad is back with a stand alone expansion Rebellion. As the name suggests, this expansion is about a rebellion where the three factions from the first game have each split into “Loyalists” and “Rebels.” This all sounds great – now I have six sides to choose from and play! So, as soon as pre-purchase was available, I ordered up, got myself into the beta and tested away, finding a few issues and helping balance the gameplay.
Now that the game has been officially released, I decided to join in on the mass reviews Ironclad has been getting. Rebellion, as with Trinity (The name for the original Sins of a Solar Empire and the two micro expansions, Entrenchment and Diplomacy), is a 4X Space RTS that follows along the lines of the standard RTS theme: build a base, gather resources, build units, and kill your opponent. Although with Sins you don’t build a base, you build a colony, and you can explore other systems and colonize more planets. Each planet, moon, dwarf planet or asteroid can have any number of mineral mines, comprising of either Crystal or Metal.
You also gather Tax from each planet you colonise. The greater the population on the planet, the more tax you receive. All of these sources of income can be increased through research or specialised buildings such as Trade Centres for credits, orbital refineries to increase your crystal and metal income, and so on.
The game also allows you to spread your culture; this is much like your influence in other 4X games.
The gameplay is overall similar to the original installments. The additions added in Rebellion however do change the gameplay a fair amount.
Each of the original sides – TEC, Advent, and Vasari – have now split into Loyal and Rebel factions. Generally, the Loyal factions are defense-orientated, and the Rebel factions are offense-orientated.
Every faction and sub-faction now has new research and ships. There are only 2 new ships added, but one is a real game changer. The first is a Corvette, small cheap and good for harassing the enemy or fast scouting. The second is the enormous Titan class. You may have thought your capital ships were big, just wait until you see your Titan ship!
Each faction and sub-faction have specific bonuses and potential advantages over another. For example, the TEC loyalists are defensive and, once researched, have the ability to build 2 starbases in a single gravity well (System). Their Titan is also geared towards defense and, once leveled up a couple times, has the ability to heal itself, extend shields around friendly ships, or cause damage to nearby enemy ships.
Their offensive counterpart is geared towards damage. The TEC rebels have a unique technology that allows them to ally with pirates and other rebel factions usually found guarding uncolonised systems. Their Titan is very offensive with one of its abilities consisting of a high power blast targeted at structures and larger ships which causes immense damage.
Victory has many paths
Another addition to Rebellion are the new victory conditions. You could split these into two categories: defeat other players or simply win outright.
Capital – A Player loses if they lose their starting capital planet. You cannot change capital planets in this game mode.
Flagship – Each player starts with a special flagship unit. If the flagship is destroyed that player is defeated.
Diplomacy – Revised from the original Sins to make it more challenging but fairer.
Research – When this mode is enabled, a very expensive tier 8 civic tech can be research after you research 50 other techs. The player who researches it first will win.
Occupation – A special occupation planet spawns with heavy militia in a special star system. If a player takes it and holds it long enough they’ll win.
Not only have Ironclad had time to add all the extra gameplay to this expansion, they have also overhauled the shader model and engine to make the ships look much nicer.
Additionally we have a lot of new weapon effects, new planets and models, and we can now make all of those a higher quality in the options too! The options also allow for more anti-aliasing just to make everything look that much better.
Even with all of this added, they have still managed to allow Rebellion to run on a relatively entry level machine given that the settings are turned down accordingly. Most things can be changed individually, from planet detail to ship detail, turning bloom on and off, anti-aliasing and much more. Even with a entry level machine you can tweak it to look how you want.
Unfortunately, there is not a great deal to put in this review without repeating what I have said in the first review.
Titans bring a lot of fun into the game, but can also increase the length of games depending on the races involved. For example, defence vs defence can become a long game as neither side will have enough firepower to break defences long enough to do any damage to the opposition’s economy or infrastructure. However, I like it, and I am a great fan of TEC Loyalists and their defence ability. In fact, below is a short video of a battle I had with my Titan. It lasted some time even though the video is a bit short – my Titan was in the fight for about 10 minutes, slowing killing off the opposition before I had to withdraw for repairs.
Rebellion is well worth the money for the game and, being a stand alone expansion, you don’t need the original game to pick this up.
- Plenty of features and game play
- Relatively easy to pick up and play if you are an RTS fan
- Good minimum requirements allows for a larger audience
- Good modding community to keep the game new
- Games can become rather long
- It is very easy to spread yourself too thin as moving across the map can take time
- Ally A.I does not follow orders very well leaving you high and dry if fighting on multiple fronts
OS: Windows 8 / Windows 7 SP1 / Windows Vista SP2
Processor: 3 GHz Intel Pentium 4 Processor or Equivalent
Memory: 2 GB Available System Memory
Graphics: 256 MB Video Card w/Pixel Shader 3.0 Support (Radeon X1650 / GeForce
6800* or Better)
Hard Drive: 5 GB HD space
Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card
Other Requirements: Keyboard and Mouse (w/scroll wheel), Broadband Internet connection for Multiplayer
* NVidia video chipsets must use driver version 296.10 or higher and mobile cards be set as the primary video chipset for the game.
Processor: Intel Core i5/i7 Processor or Equivalent
Memory: 4 GB Available System Memory
Graphics: 1 GB Video Card w/Pixel Shader 3.0 Support (Radeon X3000 Series / GeForce 8000* Series or Better)
Other Requirements:Broadband Internet connection, also to activate this game you must create a Stardock account while launching the game on Steam.