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Written by Tim Johnson - Edited by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 09 May 2012

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion Beta

Benchmark Reviews tests the Rebellion Beta video game expansion pack, which introduces the Titan

Manufacturer: Ironclad Games Corporation
Product Name: Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion (Expansion Pack)
Price As Tested: $40 Online

Full Disclosure: The item reviewed in this article was self-supplied by the author with manufacturer support or endorsement.

Sins of a Solar Empire is one of those Real Time Strategy games that you won't be able to tear yourself away from easily. Sins is one of those addictive experiences that you start to gauge other games by. Very few space-based RTS games come close to perfection, and Sins is one of them. After playing Sins, you'll be daydreaming about it while trying to play other RTS titles. In this article, Benchmark Reviews offers our opinion of the Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion expansion pack.

Each expansion thus far has brought new pieces of the puzzle to the table, and Rebellion adds another piece to it. On the up side, if you've not bought Sins yet, you're in a for a treat- you get Sins, plus all three of her expansions for 40 dollars. Conversely, if you've already bought Sins, plus her two previous expansions, you'll find yourself a little hot headed over the fact that Stardock and Ironclad are forcing their customers to basically buy the original game and expansions in order to just pick up the Rebellion expansion (although existing Sins' owners can order direct for only $29.95 for a limited time from Stardock.com - unlimited time for Trinity/Diplomacy owners.) Either way you look at it, this is a relatively expensive investment for updates to a game released in 2008.

Sins-of-a-Solar-Empire-Rebellion-Beta.jpg )

Rebellion adds a few new perks and researches for you to discover. How you play will determine which race, and now which faction, you'll want to choose. Rebellion - Beta currently has the TEC and Advent available to play. Don't fret, however, because the new expansion introduces factions, and Vasari will be added once beta is complete and the game releases. (according to Vasari will be released on the next update, ahead of the 6/12 street date)

After decades of constant warring, the races of the Solar Empires have become dissident and mistrustful of even themselves, breaking down into two separate factions. Loyalists and Rebels of each faction war for their own independence, and their survival.

The TEC Loyalists want isolation and peace, digging into their territories with strengthened defenses. TEC Rebels, however, wish to continue the war and finish it, allying themselves with the still independent worlds- and even the pirates. The Advent continue their long standing hatred of the TEC, even fielding bonuses versus TEC ships in the field. Advent Rebels find corruption in their own kind, their focus on cleansing and returning to the Unity.

Sins-of-a-Solar-Empire-Rebellion-Beta-Titan-Planet.jpg

Each faction gets their own unique Titan ship. Titans are incredibly expensive to build, requiring massive sinks of both time and resources. A Titan takes four steps of research to complete it. Although there are four research steps, once the first step is completed, construction can begin on the ship, although it will not progress past the most recently completed research step, 25% completion for each step.

The Titan is an impressively powerful ship- yet it's not game breaking, and comes off as well balanced. A Titan alone is a weak, soft target, able to be taken down with a small number of capital ships. Conversely, if a Titan is properly supported, it is a devastating force to be reckoned with. Each Titan provides defensive bonuses to the ships around it, and atop of that, has unique abilities tied to the faction that it comes from.

The TEC Loyalist Titan, the Ankylon, provides cool down bonus, has a self-repair ability, a group shield, and it's special; Inspire and Impair- which can make the Titan nearly impossible to kill without a massive amount of firepower pointed at it. The TEC Rebel Titan, the Ragnarov, provides a different set of abilities, focusing more on offensive power. Scattershot, a shotgun of damage in front of the ship and Snipe, which deals massive damage over a long range to a single ship. Overcharge increases the damage of all abilities for 90 seconds, used in combination with Scattershot and Snipe.

Sins-of-a-Solar-Empire-Rebellion-Beta-Titan.jpg

The Advent Titan, the Coronata, focuses not on combat- it focuses on passive bonuses and mind control. Subjugation puts psionic energy into the Coronata's weapons, allowing it a chance to permanently mind control enemy ships. Suppression Aura lowers enemy damage and movement speed while Unity Mass focuses the will of nearby ships into one powerful beam of hatred. (Yes, it's really hatred. Anger management, thy name is Advent?) Repossession takes instant control of an enemy planet.

The Titans add another layer of gameplay into an already deep game. Games can take an hour or two to complete; or up to several days, depending on how large of a universe you create for yourself. You can play alone against varying degrees of difficult AI, or together with up to 9 other friends via LAN or internet connection.

The Good:

Sins is an incredibly deep, immersive game. Even in Beta with 2 out of 3 races, the replayability is enormous. Titans are well balanced and introduce more care into fleet management. New research abilities make each faction unique and interesting to play to even veteran players.

The Bad:

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion costs 40 dollars - even if you already bought all of the previous titles. A steep price for some, when Rebellion is an expansion, not a fully fleshed out game.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave feedback or share your experience with Sins of a Solar Empire below.


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Comments 

 
# RE: Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion Betas2korpio 2012-05-11 01:49
I just wanted to know, how biased is this game towards tactical combat? I'm sick of so-called strategy game that just spotlights the combat but ignores any diplomacy of alliance or economy.
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# RE: RE: Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion BetaRetro 2012-05-14 12:58
@s2korpio: Diplomacy-pacts can grant you advantages that may even seem slightly overpowered. Wether it be more income, culture-spread, damage-output, armor-increases, increases in research and production-times, even enormously lowering the costs of your fleet is possible.
If you use diplomacy to your advantage you'll be able to dominate the field even when being in a usually weaker position.
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# RE: Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion BetaAndreas 2012-05-11 02:39
I bought Sins when it first came out and I was quite disappointed. I just could not get in to it. And I am a fanatic strategy veteran.

Perhaps I should try again?

Is Rebellion a game in its own?
The last sentence in the review is somewhat confusing.
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# DiscountID 2012-05-11 06:40
Just a note: Previous owners of Sins get a $10 discount at the moment.
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# RE: Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion Betas2korpio 2012-05-11 13:03
I guess what I would like to see is the gameplay of Medieval: Total War in real time, the camera from RUSE, characters from Dawn of War and the ability to be in first person mode like Medieval Lords. None of the current RTS could satisfy me fully.

*Add real projectile hitboxes for the gameplay too
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# RepliesTim Johnson 2012-05-13 21:57
s2k - It is, if you know what you're doing. Fleets need to be properly set up in order to function properly. Just spamming capitals or frigates or cruisers doesn't work. Breaking choke points (I.E. starbases) requires a lot of teamwork. It's pretty in depth, though you have to get your head out of a "Starcraft" mindset before going in.

Andreas - To clarify: Sins Rebellion is a game on its own. You do not need to own the previous titles. However, if you bought the previous titles, you lose out any money you spent, because you still get all that content anyway. Although, apparently, you get a measly 10 dollar discount, you're still paying 30 dollars for what's really a 15 dollar expansion.
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# RE: RepliesAndreas 2012-05-14 01:57
Thanks for your reply Tim.
I only bought the first game, not the subsequent expansions.
Perhaps I should buy this one and give it another chance.
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# RE: RE: RepliesTim Johnson 2012-05-14 12:31
Any time!

If you had some reservations after the first one, wait until the release of the game to buy it. As it stands, Sins has singleplayer crash issues, and multiplayer has both crash and sync issues, which can make it frustrating to complete a game. I didn't include this simply because it's a preview, and one would expect it fixed by release.
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