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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Sins of a Solar Empire 2 proves space strategy fans have never had it so good

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Almost 15 years after part 1, Sins 2 aims to unite two very different strategy genres even more. Great graphics on top of that.

The universe is gigantic – thank goodness, because otherwise there would never be enough room for all the cool space strategy games that are popping up right and left. One of them is called Sins of a Solar Empire 2 – and fans of its predecessor would never have expected this announcement 14 years after its release.

We have all the information and screenshots on Sins 2 available to you so far. There is no moving gameplay to see so far, but there is a short teaser with rendered scenes:

What is Sins of a Solar Empire 2 about?

Ironclad Games, the developers of the successful original (500,000 copies sold by 2008) as well as its three addons and four DLCs, return to the familiar setting with Sins 2: The militaristic Trader Emergency Coalition (TEC), the spiritual Advent and the alien Vasari fight for supremacy in the galaxy. To do so, you command fleets of spaceships on a flat 2D plane of space (real 3D navigation as in Homeworld 3 is missing) and fight with your opponents in real-time battles.

The new Iron Engine 3 is said to be able to display thousands of ships simultaneously, it also natively supports mods and players will be able to return to multiplayer games without interruption.

Sins of a Solar Empire 2 is said to include more 4X elements compared to its predecessor, so planetary management, expanding the empire with buildings, as well as research and diplomacy will have a greater emphasis.

There is unlikely to be a truly pacifist solution to the conflict, however, at best a team victory. Your ultimate goal is to build space stations and boost weapons production in order to defeat the enemy, but you won”t be able to win a culture victory like in Civilization.

(Put the big bruisers in front and intercept enemy missiles with the flak guns: Your battle formation should have greater importance in Sins 2 than in its predecessor.)
(Put the big bruisers in front and intercept enemy missiles with the flak guns: Your battle formation should have greater importance in Sins 2 than in its predecessor.)

As far as other innovations are concerned, Ironclad Games has so far mainly teased details. This time, for example, there are individually animated turrets that now take aim at individual targets, such as whizzing missiles. The star systems on which the maps in the game are based are also to be simulated more credibly.

In Sins 2, planets actually orbit their suns. Moons are also on an orbit – the distance that changes with the rotation is supposed to have an effect on the gameplay. For example, celestial bodies can now temporarily block the superluminal routes (so-called “star lanes” or “phase lanes”).

The interface gives you a small preview of what planetary movements are to be expected in the next few minutes in the switchable tactical screen, so that you can time your attack perfectly. The developers also want to place valuable resources more near stars, where objects move faster and battlefield conditions change more often.

(Planets and suns should no longer be just static ornamental objects, but play into your strategic considerations.)
(Planets and suns should no longer be just static ornamental objects, but play into your strategic considerations.)

For whom is Sins of a Solar Empire 2 exciting?

Like its predecessor, Sins of a Solar Empire 2 will not feature a single-player campaign, but will focus exclusively on skirmish games and multiplayer. If you want more than sandbox battles over and over again, you won”t be happy in Sins 2.

You can find all the previously published images of the game in our gallery to click through:

According to (an interview with PC Gamer) Ironclad Games also flirted with a story campaign, but ultimately decided against it. Instead, they rely on an extensive lore framework, as Ironclad”s co-owner Blair Fraser tells us: “There is a very detailed story. It”s in the capabilities of every ship, in all the research objects, in the look and feel of every item, in every line of speech that every character speaks in the game – everything radiates the story. “

What do we like so far? What remains open?

What do we like so far?

  • More meaningful Micromanagement: Positioning and target selection of your troops becomes more important.
  • More macromanagement: Complexity in diplomacy and empire management is increased.
  • Full Mod Support; there is even an ingame database for mods.

What remains open?

  • Do the developers manage the balancing act of more 4X elements and small-scale real-time battles?
  • Are the innovations enough to carry the gameplay a second time?

Sins of the Solar Empire 2 will be released on 27 October 2022 as an Early Access version exclusive (at the Epic Games Store). This version will contain a quarter of the finished game, offer only one playable faction (TEC) and be playable exclusively in single player.

Editor”s Verdict

“Mizzica!” When I looked at the release list for 2022 and 2023 the other day, my Italian-learning brain reacted automatically and made me express the mixture of surprise and excitement I felt when looking at the many new space strategy games in development in a single Sicilian word.

After years of drought, not only do we have one of the most complete 4X games of all time in Stellaris, but we also have the return of two absolute classics in Homeworld 3 and Sins of a Solar Empire 2. Not to mention the many exciting smaller projects like Falling Frontier, Terra Invicta, Alliance of the Sacred Suns or Nebulous: Fleet Command. There really is something for everyone right now – and Sins 2 could succeed in the difficult balancing act of satisfying all the needs of space strategy fans at once.

Personally, I would like to see more 4X elements, but Ironclad has to be careful that the pace of the multiplayer games doesn”t suffer. And the idea that the movement of the celestial bodies influences my tactics sounds brilliant at first, but also holds a lot of potential for frustration and incomprehension. However, if everything works out as the developers envision, there”s only one thing left for me to say: Mizzica!

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