Rebellion is a new standalone package for Sins of a Solar Empire and it’s the second best strategy game that I’ve played this year because it manages to take a formula that was already familiar to gamers and tweak it just enough to make if feel surprising and exciting again.
The new Ironclad title basically doubles the starting options by splitting each of the three factions, already different from one another, into a Loyalist and a rebel side, giving each one unique units and strategies and setting up quite a few intra-faction grudge matches.
The core elements of Sins of a Solar Empire are simple: build ships, organize them, move them around, use force and special powers to defeat enemies and occupy planets, wipe out all those who oppose you.
The Rebellion tweaks make it easier to partly abandon the expansion-driven games of the original release and focus more on diplomacy or even on research in order to get the win.
Matches are tenser than ever because it’s hard to discern the path the enemy factions are taking to victory and how to counter their strategy.
Ironclad has also made the Artificial Intelligence of the game better at tactics, offering even veterans of the series a new challenge when they lack human enemies to test their skills against.
Some have criticized Ironclad’s choice to once again avoid creating a single-player campaign, but I find that it gives players freedom to constantly create their own stories of war, strategic blunders and personal heroism without having to constantly compare them with the official setup from the development team.
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress, the Stardock-developed and published game that mixes strategy and role-playing elements is a solid third in this category, mainly dragged down by its learning curve and its difficulty level.
A full review for Sins of a Solar Empire – Rebellion is available on Softpedia.