First play

Published on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 By Demeisen In Sins of a Solar Empire II

With a second faction arriving, I thought I'd take the plunge with Sins2. I expected it to be a fancy remastering of the original Sins, but it's absolutely not that at all!

Playing it back-to-back with Sins is really eye-opening. It carries over everything that made the original so good, but it all feels so much better. It's pretty much the prefect reimagining of a classic game. Just about every RTS released over the last 5 years has been met with anger and disappointment by the community. Sins2 manages to be a step-change improvement over the original.

The wandering-system mechanic is totally inspired. In my second major playthrough (an 8 hour epic!), I watched a nicely developed mining operation spin off like Moon Base Alpha in Space 1999. It voyaged through every enemy system like a 1970s Avon rep, knocking on everybody's door! It became its own story. I kept bolstering it up as the threats grew larger, and by the end, it had sailed through and been attacked by three factions, only to end up back in the middle of my empire again, ripped to shreds and bristling with guns. Brilliant stuff!

I'm a huge Distant Worlds 2 fan, so I was curios to see how Sins2 felt after a couple of years with that hardest of the hardcore 4x beast. In fact it's a damned close thing. If DW2 had access to Sins2's genius UI for empire and fleet control, it'd be the Stellaris killer it deserves to be. I mean, who at Ironclad came up with that UI? It's utterly amazing. Being able to control my fleet, tech , system-development and upgrades from an extremely intuitive list...it's so simple but so brilliantly done. That must have been quite a whiteboard session. Wish I'd been there!

I was never a fan of the ship designs in Sins, so I was disappointed to see them reappear, seemingly unaltered. After a couple of playthroughs though, I think Ironclad/SD made the right call. It's what Nintendo would have done; keep it canonical and on-brand. Sins was a monster hit (so many copies sold), so refreshing the designs instead of changing them helps establish the game's persona. It's a great approach, and the right one. 

The presentation and graphic fidelity are all spot-on. Everything hits the right spot in terms of cinematic drama and readable data. The battles are never boring, and the effects are always spectacular. 

There's very little I'd pick holes in at this stage. Right now, Sins2 feels like a release candidate, In fact, compared to Company of Heroes 3 (an RTS I like), this feels much more complete at this stage of Early Access. One thing that I've always loathed in Sins though (and I mean it!), is the ship voice responses. God, they were awful then, and here they are again, as placeholders! I turned them off in the first game, and I've got them turned them off now. 

Hopefully we'll see even greater depth added to things like diplomacy between factions and minor races, more discovery aspects, and more 4X elements. I think Sins2 could move even further towards the gargantuan experience of Distant Worlds 2, and be the better for it. That being said, Sins2s is sensational as it stands right now. I had really tempered my expectations, but it's blown me away.

Home run, guys.