Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition has finally arrived on the Steam Network. This latest release by Paradox is a bundle of previously released Sword of the Stars II games – Lords of Winter and End of Flesh.
Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition is a polished product that offers a tremendous amount of content to strategy fans. There is a tutorial chart that shows the keyboard layout and explains all the basic key commands needed to play the game.
There is also an encyclopedia that will give you additional information as it’s needed. A built in chat system is also present that can be used for both offline and online play. This allows you to communicate with other players; it’s even useful when you have a question about the game.
Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition is a 4x space strategy game that is extremely hardcore; it’s the type of game that can take years to truly master. The 4x means eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate. You have to scour the galaxy in search of new homelands, minerals, resources and much more. There are eight different races to choose from. Each race has their own strengths and weaknesses; they also have their own equipment and technology.
The gameplay is separated into turns as you race to gather resources and materials before your opponents do. One of the very first things that is required is to send out fleets for surveying and colonizing. This can be a tricky task since you can’t always colonize every planet discovered. Some planets are gas giants and uninhabitable, while others are more like Earth and capable of sustaining life. Planets will also cost the player an upkeep charge during every turn.
You will never find two planets that are alike; nothing is the same each time you start a new game because Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition randomizes the maps each time you play. The further a planet is from where your units are stored, the longer it will take to reach your destination. You can shorten your travel time(s) by adding supply units into your fleets that are traveling the furthest. This is where the real planning comes into play.
You have to mange your money wisely if you do not plan on ending up in debt. Only build what is absolutely necessary and budget in everything you plan on doing. Think ahead and try to figure out what your course of attack entails and try to budget accordingly. Sometimes you can’t plan on random attacks from ghost ships or other invaders within the galaxy, so you should budget as much as possible. As you play, you will learn strategies to overcome your opponents.
Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition doesn’t really have a story driven single-player campaign; the game must be configured like a multiplayer match. You can choose from a large selection of maps and NPCs instead of real players. These are called sandbox scenarios and they are similar to playing online. This is good and bad at the same time. I personally enjoy single-player campaigns with the option of playing a skirmish scenario now and then, but I must say that not having a single-player campaign doesn’t affect the game in the slightest.
There is so much that goes into playing a single-player campaign that you hardly miss it. Some people may disagree with my statement, but Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition does exactly what it was meant to do — provide a comprehensive strategy experience coupled with a robust talent system.
The ship designing system happens to be my most favorite feature. It’s one of the most detailed designers ever seen in a strategy game. You can literally spend hours designing (and even re-designing) your fleets. I can’t explain how many hours I have spent building and then testing my prototypes.
Once combat finally occurs, you can choose to have the game control and manage your fights or you can manage everything on your own. The combat system is much like a standard RTS (Real-Time Strategy) game if you decide to fight your own battles. This involves highlighting your fleets with the mouse, selecting where you would like to move, and then selecting which targets to strike first. This method can be rather dicey if you’re unfamiliar with the genre.
This is also where the ship designer comes into play. By not outfitting your ships to the best of their abilities could mean defeat, so learning about the different types of weapons is important to your success.
The space battles are simply gorgeous. I actually appreciate how the GUI (Graphical User Interface) hides itself so you can watch the action from an epic point of view. The battles are on a grand scale; they are epic in proportion. Gamers will not be disappointed as their fleet battles for survival.
Paradox Interactive’s 4x strategy game is simply remarkable. You’re always connected to an online community when you’re playing an offline game, so it’s easy to contact players when you need assistance. Plus, the online community is friendly; they are always willing to help.
Whether you’re new to the series or a veteran, Sword of the Stars II: Enhanced Edition has something to offer everyone. And with a steady flow of constant patches and updates, you are always guaranteed fresh new content and bug fixes.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: PC (Available on Steam)
OS: Windows 7 – 64 bit
Processor: Core2 Duo or equivalent
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 512-MB DirectX 10, Integrated graphics (laptops) are not supported
Hard Drive: 2 GB HD space
Sound: Any Windows Vista compatible sound device, stereo speakers or head phones
Additional: DirectX February 2010 or newer (DX10). 3-button mouse and keyboard. Internet required for online play. LAN required for local multiplayer
Developer: Kerberos Productions
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
|Beautiful 3D models and explosions.|
|Eerie music sets the tempo as loud explosions flood the galaxy.|
|A deep and very engaging strategy experience.|
|This is one strategy game that will be around for a long time. If you’re looking for a deep and very enriched strategy game, then look no further.|