I have a sickness. This sickness makes me play really long winded games where you rule vast empires but in which very little happens. I blame it on Lego and the need to build things that it instils. If games like Civilisation and Total Annihilation bore you to tears then you may as well stop reading now. However if, like me, you can't get enough of them then continue.
Sins (as I'll be calling it from now) is a real-time strategy game set in space. You start with one planet and try to conquer entire systems by building fleets of ships with various powers and with back room shinanigans (also known as diplomacy). There's a bit of story guff at the start of the game about why you're doing all this but in reality you just select a map and play that. There is no continuation between levels or conclusion as far as I can see, which is a shame.
The diplomacy side is fairly simple, consisting of swapping the three resource types (credits, metal, crystal), allowing trade, peace deals and attacking other players. There is also a bounty system which can be often be detrimental to your expansion as you tick off other players (be they computer or pasty-faced teen in Kent). There's also a pirate problem (which can be turned off) who seem to attack almost constantly if you are doing well. I hate them and I want them to die, which, thankfully, you can do if you find their bases.
The real meat of the game is the fleet building and planet collecting. Research is all important if you wish to get anywhere as always. Civil advancements allow different planet types to be inhabited and their populace subjugated under your might fist or tendril. Other benefits include higher production from resources and travel bonuses. Fancy pants missiles and lasers bolster your expanding range of ships, along with improved shields and armour. There are three main types of ship: frigate, cruiser and capital. Capital ships are the daddy, allowing you to kick royal butt while colonising worlds or carrying attack fleets around. Their abilities vary so sage choices should be made. Cruisers perform similar tasks to capital ships but are vastly weaker and cheaper. Frigates make up the bulk of your fleet, due to cost. They come in various flavours depending on the race you choose at the start.
So with a fleet built and at least one ship with colonising abilities available you can head off in to the big ol' universe to spread your civilisation around like it's jam. Taking over a planet generally consists of wiping out any defending ships then bombarding the planet for ages till everything and everyone is dead. Then you can move in and open an Ikea or something. With your second-hand world you get a construction drone to fancy up the place, which means farm the local metal and crystal asteroids and build ship factories and the like. Obviously it's not quite that simple since sometimes another civilisations influence will prevent you taking over. If that's the case then I find wiping out any neighbouring planets and building a few propaganda stations generally does the job.
Your opponents can be quite feisty at times and gang up on you if you are doing well. I found this out after making one almighty fleet to destroy planet after planet with ease only to find it too far away to be useful when three other players attacked my worlds all at once. Dealing with the problem involved a lot of deal making and splitting of forces.
The graphics are fairly simple but then that is usually the case with the genre. they perform the job in hand well though with lovely round planets and star filled vistas that look more like the seaside than a cold black void, as is the fashion these days. Sins has a great deal of depth to it but splits it in a sort of half-way house between your Civilisations and your Command & Conquers. If you like both of those games and wouldn't miss the storylines then I'd say to check it out. You can buy it online from the makers. The download version means installing some poxy Steam-a-like though.
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