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About the product
- 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
This 4X space strategy game for the PC offers players a breakthrough gaming experience by incorporating multiplayer for the first time ever in a 4X space strategy game, as well as an innovative blend of turn-based decisions and real-time fleet combat. Players ‘eXplore’, ‘eXpand’, ‘eXploit’, and ‘eXterminate’ their way across the space as they encounter other players and battle for interstellar dominance in real time combat resolution. With crisp graphics, an epic back-story and real-time battle action, Sword of the Stars offers a riveting mix of strategic turn-based empire building and real-time tactical combat resolution that puts players in control of cosmic empires, alien technologies and vast interstellar armadas.
Top customer reviews
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-aggression, 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 funds 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.
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.
Be sure and download the patches, as they apparently fix some important bugs and game elements. I DL'd after install and have had no crashes or other weirdness.
For more gameplay info you can go to this webpage:
There's a lot of stuff there that really should have been in the manual, but finding a really good manual with full information these days (as opposed to a manual that is really an excuse to make you by a strategy guide) is becoming a lot more rare.