I doubt many of the readers of this site have played the PC Game Sins of a Solar Empire or either of its Micro-Expansions, despite it being 2008′s ‘Strategy Game of the Year’ for most reputable game reviewers. In a world where fast paced Action games take up much of the mainstream spotlight, its easy to pass by some of the other quiet behemoths of excellence within other genres. My purpose therefore, is to shed some light on an exciting upcoming addition to the Sins universe in the form of the first stand-alone expansion: Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion.

Sins is a space based, 4x Real Time Strategy game. The 4x stands for “explore, exploit, expand, and exterminate” and in this particular game there are many different ways to accomplish these tasks. The game features three main factions: TEC is your human trader coalition, Advent are religious deviants, and the Vasari are alien invaders with troubles of their own. There is no campaign to speak of, rather you play against either other players or against the AI, which is pretty fun honestly. You have full control over your theater of battle, anywhere from a couple dozen planets to many star systems encompassing hundreds of individual planets. I’ve personally had Sins games that literally took over a week of multiple hour sessions to finish where multiple friends would meet up every night and pick up where we left off.

Like most good RTS games, much of the action lies in keeping everything managed to the point where you can lead your empire and army to glorious victory, which can get very frantic. While it has some slow points (helped by the ability to speed up time when you need) one of the best parts about Sins is just how cinematically pleasing the gameplay is. You will focus much of the space combat on your collection of Capital Ships which you will build and level up throughout the course of the game. If you have ever watched Sci-Fi like Star Trek or Stargate, and found yourself wanting to see more of the occasional huge fleet clashes in those shows then look no further. Sins has some of the best spaceship warfare eye candy you will find anywhere making this game as fun to watch as it is to play.

Whether you game primarily on your PC or on the Console, one of the universal truths of gaming is that most great games is that at some point or another, just plain run out of fun new stuff to do. Whether you finished the Single Player Campaign and all of your side missions, of the latest RPG or, get just plain sick and tired of all of the n00bs and h4xx0rz trolling the multiplayer grounds of the latest Halo or Call of Duty game. At some point or another most great games are going to lose your attention. This isn’t really all that bad though, I suppose. You can always move on to the next new thing, and have your appetite fed by another game. The problem lies with the fact that the average PC/Console game will run between $40 and $60, and hold your interest for between 6-20 hours.

What happens though, when a game is really good? When it’s really immersive and makes you have to really try in order for it to grow old on you? Sure, you could pay a monthly fee for games like Everquest and World of Warcraft, which have been an option for well over a decade. There is however, a different way of doing things that a company called Ironclad Games has championed in the Sins of a Solar Empire series. What they do is put out a bunch of relatively inexpensive games, when they hit the nail on the head and come up with something truly amazing, they put a team of developers on the game and put out inexpensive Micro-Expansions which keep the content fresh and players happy. They have done this with great success with Sins, releasing thus far the original, and two expansions called Entrenchment and Diplomacy respectively.

On top of the developer sticking with the game to provide additional content, there is also a very active ‘modding community‘ out there for this game. Mods like Distant Stars literally add weeks and months of new enjoyable content to the game, and in the case of the Volumetric Explosion mod (bundled with Distant Starts) actually make the graphics of the game much better. There are about a dozen really good mods that are kept fairly up to date as well. Best part, they are all FREE!

So why am I excited about Rebellion? While few details are available thus far, it has been announced that Ironclad Games and Stardock are planning to the following:

- New Capital Ships
- Titan-Class Capital Ships
- New Factions: Players decide whether to become Rebels or Loyalists, allowing specialized research depending on your choice.
- Corvette-class Ships
- New Ship-Leveling options and abilities for more customization.
- Updated Particle Effects (Read Bigger BOOMS)
- Additional Victory Conditions for differing gameplay lengths and types.

A release date is pending announcement at this point, so current Sins fans will have to wait for now, although they will also enjoy a reduced price having purchased the ‘Trinity Package’ (Sins+ 2 Micro Expansions) when Rebellion does come out. Those of you who haven’t played Sins yet, here is your opportunity to catch up.