I realized this weekend that I never really finished my series on Sins. The game fell by the wayside and I sort of left things hanging. Now that I’m on this MMO binge it seems unlikely I’ll be coming back to it anytime soon.
The major problem was that I just didn’t have anything interesting to say about it. There aren’t any glaring faults with the game that I can point out, but there’s also nothing in it that inspires excitement or entices me to play. I managed to work in a grand total of five games of Sins before giving up on the thing. I feel like I haven’t given the game the attention it deserves, but I just have no desire to stay with it.
This has nothing to do with the learning curve, which only affects the first couple of times you play. The problem is deeper than that, because interest waned in direct proportion to how familiar I was with the game. As I got to know SoaSE, the ratio of my familiarity with the game to my apathy towards it remained at a constant 1:1.
(I still have the box on my shelf, unopened, which is noteworthy. I love how Stardock will sell you the game, let you download it and play it right now, but also send along a nice box with the disk. I get to have my game and play it, too.)
I think my main problem is that this particular blend gameplay elements doesn’t really work. The real-time combat is too ponderous to offer excitement, and the strategy is too shallow to offer flavor or variety.
I think there needs to be another layer of stuff on the strategy side. Perhaps something along the line of building “Wonders”, which might mix things up a bit.
I’d like it if the number of research stations affected the speed at which research was done. You need a prerequisite number to “unlock” some techs, but as far as I can tell adding more won’t get those techs faster. Sure, I might go for tech A and my foe might go for tech B, but we’ll both be at about the same level, technologically. I can’t hope to outpace my foes by building a larger research infrastructure.
The whole “cultural influence” thing is odd. As far as I can tell I can’t absorb a planet by overwhelming them with culture, I can only impede enemy production in petty ways, and even then only after reaching the highest-level cultural techs and by attaining a massive lead in cultural power. In one game I had 80% of the map, with all of my large planets spamming the solar system with culture. That was a huge investment for what turns out to be a minor impediment to enemy operations, and I could have done a lot better by just rolling all that cash into more ships and crushing them outright. This is on top of the whole “you can’t colonize this bombed-out husk of a ruined world because enemy culture is too strong here” thing.
The series has its fans, and to be honest I envy them. The sights are enjoyable. The idea is innovative. The execution is clean and polished. I just have no desire to play the thing. I was hearing rumors of a new content patch at one point. Maybe I’ll check back later to see what’s new.
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