|Sword of the Stars
|List Price: $19.99
Our Price: $3.62
You Save: $16.37 (82%)
Sword of the Stars offers players a breakthrough gaming experience. It delivers wild gaming with epic online multiplayer battles across deep space! Choose from 4 playable races, and guide them through a massive galaxy as you try to establish them across the universe. Each race possesses its own unique language, ships, and technologies -- expand across the known worlds as you control cosmic empires, alien technologies and vast interstellar armadas.
- Play as the Humans, insect-like Hivers, reptilian Tarkas & enigmatic Liir
- Travel to 40 stars in a spherical galaxy, with unlimited turn gameplay
- Unique, random technology tree helps pave the road to galactic domination
- Version 1.1.1 patch review
4x space strategy games are my favorite type of computer game. It has been many years since I have found one that was any good. (The last one that was any good was Masters of Orion II). The folks at Kerberos have really done a good job with Sword of the Stars.
After playing the game only once I looked to see if there were any updates or patches available. [...]
The one game I played without the update, I found the interface to be a little bit clunky and awkward. It was especially difficult to manage my fleet in combat. For example, while focusing on one of your ships during a battle it could be difficult to find your other ships. After the patch you can simply tab through your ships with the TAB and SHIFT+TAB keys. This is just one of dozens of things that were fixed/added in the patch. Virtually everything in the patch addressed and fixed issues with the user interface. After I added the patch the usability, as well as my lever of fun, was greatly increased.
What I liked:
After getting a colony started it requires very little maintenance. Other than building the latest defense satellites the colonies actually require zero upkeep. This frees up time to build your fleets to explore and exterminate.
The combat is done well. I'm running the game on a blazingly fast computer so I have not experienced the lag in loading the combat others complain about. At first I didn't think I would like real time combat, and it does take some getting used to. The nice thing is you can micromanage your fleet and try to control each individual ship, or put some on auto and just control a few.
Each race is truly unique and different form the others. A strategy that works well for one race will not work for the others. The biggest difference between the races is there mode of star travel.
The technology tree is unique and different every game. Even if you play the same race every time your technology tree will be distinctive each game. The random tech tree was a nice touch.
What I don't like:
The diplomacy is nearly nonexistent. Your relation with other empires simply has three states: hostile, non-aggression, and alliance. The hostile and non-aggression states are pretty straight forward. The alliance state plainly doesn't have enough benefit for being in the alliance.
There is only one planet per system. I would have liked to see multiple planets per system, even the potential to have 1 to 3 would have been better. Also the planet maintenance is just a little too simplistic. For example, it would have been nice if there were some way to designate a world as a science colony or industry world.
Overall it's a great game I highly recommend for many hours of fun....more info
- Macro Management fun!
After playing for quite a while I have found that this game is very entertaining and is hugely replayable. While the 3D star map does take some getting used to, the simple tech tree and simplified system development controls free the player to think about strategy, instead of micromanaging every single colony.
It reminds of Master of Orion, rather than Master of Orion II or III. Real time combat is exciting and more involved than just the rock / paper / scissors approach so many RTS games use. Each tech has multiple counters and there are no ultimate technologies that lead to instant galactic domination. Your early ships are never really obsolete and can compete even in the late game stages (albeit, not very effectively. Still, they can slow an enemy advance or thin out the enemy fleet to allow your main force an easier combat) which says volumes for thought the developers put into the technology tree.
The game itself is set in the earliest stages of galactic exploration and conquest. Each race begins without any real contact with the others, and default to a hostile reaction. Your ships are very small, ~30m for destroyers, ~90m for cruisers and around 270m for dreadnoughts. For size comparisons think about a WWII German U-Boat for Destroyers, Firefly's Serenity for a Cruiser and a modern aircraft carrier for Dreadnoughts.
This games most standout feature, however is the use of momentum physics in its real time combat. Ships have to fight inertia when maneuvering, which can lead to some interesting, even disastrous combat situations with collisions and radical evasive maneuvers. The graphics in combat are superb considering the low end system requirements and the developers active participation on their game forum is truly remarkable. Their constant attention to fan input and their efforts to improve their product are constantly making this game better and more fun to play.
I would recommend this game to fan of the 4x genre....more info
- No Middle Ground, You'll Love It or Hate it
I have listened and read quite a few reviews on this game. Here is what it comes down to in simple terms: If you like a game that gets in to specifics, quantities even going out two or three decimals, fine details in building a civilization - you will not like this game. If you don't enjoy working with 3D interfaces - you will not like this game. And, I don't care what the box says in specs, if you don't have 2 GB RAM, L2 Cache, and 256 video card - your computer will not like this game.
The folks who do like it enjoy the colorful and intense battle scenes. Oh yeah, lasers, phasers, EM pulses, graviton, positron, and-kind of right on weapons being exchanged by the combatants. They like simplicity in their battle interface. They like simplicity in their scientific progress interface. They aren't into heavy diplomacy sessions, or overly intense economic readings. It's simply a fun game, with some strategy and some arcade play, that demands a lot of memory (good luck if you have an older system to get beyond 30 star systems, the stronger ones get taxed at 75 star systems in terms of processing).
There you go...that's it. If you know what you like, and you know what this delivers, go for it. If it doesn't fit your bill, don't buy it, or cry over it. You get what you pay for in the long run.
- Remember "Spaceward Ho"?
For you long time gamers, you may recall a little game called "Spaceward Ho". It is amazing that after years of improvements in processing power, AI coding, video and audio improvements, this game is no more than a glorified, and far more expensive version of the old classic (which was a fine game for its time). My advice, for those without the time to read all this, find a copy of Spaceward Ho and play that instead.
I was very much looking forward to a new space based strategy game. The genre has been lacking for some time, especially with the intense focus on pure RTS types of games. Sword, from the box and some of the articles I read, seemed to be that game. My mistake.
The manual is poorly written. I grant that it gives you information on each icon in the game, but as for getting things done, how to accomplish things and the relative benefits of one action or item over another, it is woefully lacking.
The combat interface is terrible, to say the least. Controlling your own ships and seeing what is going on is difficult at best. Your POV is limited to the picture from a single ship (yours or the enemy's) if your ship is in the wrong place to see what is going on (it mistakenly or randomly wandered off), oh well, guess you'll just have to hope. The orders you have are very limited, and often are not followed by the ships you give them to. The so-called 3-D combat is really nothing more than a 3-D picture on which you fight in a single plane, i.e., 2-D without the clarity of what the heck is happening.
Industry and planetary economy? A few sliders and pie charts. How much do you want to spend on ship building vs. terraforming vs. industry vs. income/research? That's it.
Research? I like the way the research tree is developed, one of the few benefits to the game. However, there is no real information on what the research buys you (yes, weapons have little bar charts showing how great they are, but the bars don't relate to anything concrete, more damage, but how much more, etc.). Ok, I get green lasers instead of red, but how much better are they? How strong are those extra strong hulls, how much faster will I make things with that industry improvement? With no knowledge of the relative value of one improvement over another, it is difficult to direct research intelligently.
Ship design. Looks pretty, but here the problems with research, industry, and combat come to roost. You can't refit ships, so rebuilding your entire fleet may be needed whenever you make a major breakthrough (or is it? how much better was that again?). Building a sizeable fleet takes some time, and having it obsoleted every so often is a tooth grinding feeling.
How about diplomacy? The options here are pitiful. War, nothing (peace), non-agression, and allied. Little insight as to why one race will ally or non-agression with you when another won't and the classic problem of no apparent (maybe yes, maybe no) repercussions from a race breaking treaties with you (or you with them) are rife. You can give some fuds to allies only, but do nothing otherwise to influence those who aren't your allies, by direct choice at least.
Not worth the trouble, and I'd like the money and 30 or more hours I spent on the game back please....more info
- A very different 4X game
Okay, the previous review was very harsh and sounded as if they expected a MoO or SEIV clone. To get a better of idea of the strategy portion of this game, think of a boardgame. It's very simplistic (only one planet per star)in the sense that it is like controlling squares of a board. The planets are really there to fund your research and ship building. Of course, you can place defenses around them and station ships there, but there is no city building options like in most games of this type. The meat of the game is the RTS ship-to-ship battles. At first, they appear relatively simplistic, but as new technologies become available, you start to see the implications of ship building. For instance, ships have weapons banks on each side, top, and sometimes bottom with various firing arcs. So, you may wish to pass an enemy ship instead of going head-on to get a particular weapon group to deal damage. You can also target specific sections or weapons on the ship. So, if a particular weapon is giving you grief, you can target it specifically. As an example, I had a Tanker ship that the AI destroyed the refueling portion of the ship, which stranded my ships in that area of space. Finally, there are random elements to the strategic game that can affect planets in big ways (think of the episode Doomsday from Star Trek TOS). There's nothing like showing up in a system and finding a long-dead alien civilization's defensive structure still in operation....more info
I love Space 4X games: Pax Imperium, Spaceward Ho, Gal Civ and the first two MOOs. This one ranks with MOOIII- a promising idea very poorly executed with a number of unforgivables.
The Good- I like the cell shaded art, the 3-D universe is adequate, the tech tree is uniquely represented.
The Bad: Combat is atrocious. Either you have to let the computer fight it out (Inefficiently=Major losses) or wait for VERY long load times for player controlled combat to begin (Yes I have the recommended system requirements)
Once in Player controlled combat, you can't see what you need to see to make decent decisions. As a whole the experience is miserable. Nothing redeeming about it. Fleet management is mediocre- specialty ships without guidance on how they work together. Does a shield ship make a shield for the entire fleet or only for itself?
The manual: The makers of the game should be ashamed for putting this thing out. Poorly written (The Auto-Refuel button should not be confused with the auto-refuel button on the refuel menu- huh?), information poor and just plain bad. Weapons characteristics? Development trees? ANYTHING except icon ID?
Then I thought well they did give an SOTS appendix in a PDF on the disk, its likely all there! Wrong! It's back-story, but no useful operational information.
Hmmmm- The Website! The website will HAVE to have some sort of information about how to play the game. Wrong. Tutorial mode? Lame.
Guys this is just ridiculous.
Lastly, the voice acting! Sit yourselves down- Simple rule of thumb-
STAFF SHOULD NOT DOUBLE AS VOICE ACTORS!
The fake accents are exceptionally irritating and I could not find an off switch for the VOs except to turn down the volume on my computer. I don't know if they were saving money or having fun but wow is it bad.
No scalable graphics.
Ok I'm done. I'm heading back to the Dread Lords
There is a lot of potential in this game, but the overall execution is pretty poor. I WANT to like this game but I think these past 20 hours will be my only 20 hours with this game.
This game can be and should be fixed. ...more info
- Addicting and lasting gameplay
I first bought this game years ago and still continue to play it. (first bought the digital download but wanted a CD copy) A successor in my eyes to Master of Orion 2. Each race has their own method of travel though space creating a completely different game depending on which one your playing....more info
- Not a 4X game for everyone...
I love 4X "Conquer the Galaxy" type games, I was hooked from the original Starflight game. Then picked up the addiction again with MOO 1 and moved through Stars!, Space Empires III & IV, and Gal Civ 1 & 2.
Where other 4X games are going into detailed empire management (Gal Civ/Space Empires) SOTS is concentrating on Space Combat.
If you're a micro-manager type that loves to control every aspect of every colony you have, then this may not be the game for you. As others have said SOTS minimized the amount of colony management to work on the combat engine.
If you'd like a space combat game with a minimal amount of colony management, then SOTS if your game. That said, the game isn't perfect... but what is? The major issues I have are:
- Tech descriptions: It is hard to tell how much some techs will help your empire as the descriptions aren't fully detailed. (This however goes away a bit after you've played a few games and experiment with the techs.)
- Enemy Ships/Weapons: There isn't yet an interface to look at known enemy ship designs or what type of weapons they are using. What weapons did the Hivers use in that last battle? (The only way to tell is to pay very close attention in the battle and keep notes.)
- Amazing new take on empire-building
Sword of the Stars is an incredibly well done twist on the 4X genre. It features a very clean and intuitive user interface that lets you manage your empire quickly and easily, and keeps the game moving. While the turn-based portion of the game isn't as deep or involved as other empire building games, it more than makes up for it with the RTS battle portion. The space battles that occur when your fleets encounter the enemy are somewhat reminiscent of Empire at War, but with more tactical variation that keeps it interesting. The dynamic tech tree keeps each game feeling unique, and with four races to learn, there is a great deal of replay value.
The only downsides are poor LAN support (I was unable to play it over a university network, but the internet play worked just fine), and a slighltly long load time for RTS battles. Make sure you have a decent graphics card to keep the loading time down.
Overall, a great game and a must-have for 4X fans....more info
- Welcome to Nerdvana. Get it? "Nerdvana"??
This review is for sword of the stars and the two expansion packs that came after. Now available in one package for 29.99 lots of places, apparantly not Amazon though- frown face.
Anyway, this is a straight up awesome game peoples. I'm assuming if you're reading this, you've played games like master of orion 2 and Gal Civ 2. Well, this game is the Johnny Watson to their BB King. This game is the Cyndi Lauper to their Madonna. It's a little funkier, a little rough around the edges, a little "alternative", but crazy crazy good. While Gal Civ 2 is just an evolution of moo2, this is like a branch in the tree. If GC2 was a human, and moo2 was a chimp, sots would be a dolphin.
races that are unique beyond just having eg +25% population growth, or some such mathmatically based difference. No, they're actually unique in their propulsion systems, technology, etc. etc. etc.
tactical battles that are actually tactical. the ability to target individual weapons, engines, command modules etc. Tons of weapons, each with their own range, damage, firing arcs, etc. etc. etc.
simplified economics- If I wanted to spend my free time micromanaging numbers, I'd get an accounting degree.
Probably the coolest tech tree and tech tree presentation screen ever.
It's different than the norm for this genre. Takes some getting used to. Not really a con, strictly speaking, but some will dismiss it out of hand just because its not a moo2 clone.
The music is not the greatest. Wispy and unobtrusive. Just create your own epic mp3 play list and start it before you launch the game. Problem solved. I suggest No Quarter by Led Zep.
No, I have no connection to the company. I'm a dentist.
If you dig this type of game, or just sci fi in general, at least download the demo and give it a shot. ...more info
- sword of the Stars
4x strategy games are my favorite genre and after reading the reviews of the game I was really looking forward to playing a game that sounded like a cross between Master of Orion and Homeworld. Sadly the 3-D map was so cumbersome to use I couldn't figure out where my ships were. The tech tree was almost as mystifying and it was totally unclear what the advantage of one advance was to another. The space battles were similarly disappointing. After playing for a couple of hours I got so bored I went back to GALCIV II. This is a genre that has really been neglected by the game industry. Hopefully Space Empires V will succeed were this game failed....more info
- Great Game.
Sword of the Stars is a great game, it can take a while to get into it but well worth it. If you buy sots I highly recommend you get born of blood also or the CE edition if you can find it.
Unlike most games such as sins of a solar empire where every game almost always ends with same tactics, No sots game is ever really the same, random tech tree's, random events etc.
Also unlike alot of games you can logon to xfire and chat with the devs post on forums and they will respond.
Don't trust this review though go to the site and download the CE demo, give it a try you won't regret it.