Sword Of The Stars II, Too

By Jim Rossignol on January 25th, 2010 at 11:12 am.


The chaps over at Paradox Interactive have been announcing loads of games recently, and one of the standout titles is the sequel to lesser-known 4X game, Sword Of The Stars. The new game sounds like something of a remake, as it’ll include the races from the original game and its numerous expansions. This should excite quite a few space-fanatics, as the original game was a remarkably under-rated take on the genre. There are few other details at the moment, but we’ll keep an eye out for them when they arrive. In the meantime we’ll be playing Neptune’s Pride

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41 Comments »

  1. Heliocentric says:

    EFF YEAH!

  2. Ginger Yellow says:

    This will probably earn me derision from hardcore 4Xers, but I could never get into SotS. I just preferred the way Sins did real time, and the way Gal Civ did space 4X. I spent my whole time playing SotS thinking that I’d be having more fun playing one of the other two games.

  3. Hentzau says:

    The only problem with this is that SotS was pretty anaemic when it was released; it took three years and a lot of expansions to make it into the (admittedly excellent) 4X behemoth it is today. If SotS 2 is going to operate on the same kind of timescale then I have to say I’m not really interested.

  4. Dominic White says:

    As others have said, SoTS probably wasn’t underrated at launch – it was pretty heavily flawed – it didn’t have the depth or breadth of is rivals.

    Countless patches and three solid expansions later, and I’d rank it right up there with Master of Orion 2. That’s how much it improved.

  5. aka mr pirate says:

    You’re playing Neptune’s Pride?

    Then why are all my opponents AI-controlled?!

  6. SirDorius says:

    Sword of the Stars has quickly risen to the title of one of the best games evaa in my humble opinion. They can only improve on it from now on. Maybe one day it will reach the popularity of Total War.

    And Neptune’s Pride looks cool, and I also recommend Cosmic Supremacy to anyone interested in these types of games.

  7. ZephyrSB says:

    I loved SotS from the outset – in fact I think that it’s shallowness played to its advantage after spending a long time in the very heavy GalCiv II, something to give my head a rest and revel in ships blowing up in glorious ways. And how gloriously it does it. Dashing knife-fighting ships with dozens of individual guns – exactly what I look for in space opera combat and usually very lacking in strategic-level games. Completely unrealistic, but jolly good fun to watch.

    From Sins, GalCiv and SotS (what a great couple of years), SotS is the only one I’m still actively playing. So yeah, I might be a little excited!

    • archonsod says:

      I wouldn’t say it was shallow, rather it inverted the usual 4X design – the economy was simplified with much of the detail going into the combat – which is probably why it felt like such a breath of fresh air after the likes of GalCiv and MOO.

      Even post patches I still wouldn’t describe it as a 4X as such, it’s more like a Total War game than GalCiv.

      I did like the way the storyline advanced with every patch though.

  8. Wolfox says:

    SotS (with all expansions) is one of my favorite games ever. So, it’s no surprise that I’m really excited about the sequel. I can’t wait to see the surprises Kerberos is preparing for us. ;-)

  9. mesmertron says:

    I remember giving SotS a brief look when it came out. It utterly failed to move me.

    But people say it’s now reached MoO2′s level?

    Okay, break it down for me, are we talking horizontally or vertically? Cause it was already in the column for “Space strategy.” Does it really deserve to be in the same row as MoO2 and GalCiv2?

    Man, I gotta update my spreadsheets more often.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    From what I understand about SoTS was that on release, it wasn’t very interesting, but was actually developed post-release into something a lot of people seem to like. I still have a copy lying around I mean to take out for a spin.

    KG

  11. Rorschach says:

    I’d call it a continuation of the storyline, not so much a remake. SotS has been improving over the last 3 years especially on the 4x side according to a backstory. Things were simple at the beginning, kill or be killed with genocide the order of the day. Then trade showed up, then diplomacy. Things like civilian morale and propaganda were added to the game around the same “time” the interstellar empires were maturing. (The ship combat was always pretty good, but there were still a lot of cool weapons and techs and UI improvements added later on.)

    With SotS II, the intention will be to continue on that. Humanity isn’t quite the bully anymore (a freak Hiver incursion set the apes on a Jihad of sorts that didn’t set them too well with their neighbors.) All six of the races have had time to sort out their place in the universe a bit. And then it’ll all go to hell.

  12. PixelCody says:

    I’m guilty of not giving SotS the time of day.

    I’m thinking there has to be a nasty learning curve associated with a 4X game that is already 3 expansions deep, so I’m hesitant to take the plunge. I’m more inclined to purchase the last GalCiv2 expansion or await the release of an Entrenchment+Diplomacy bundle for Sins.

    This announcement gives me an excuse to rest on my strategy laurels and await the next release in the franchise.

  13. jalf says:

    I bought SoTS when it came out, and I’ve got pretty mixed feelings on it. In many ways, it was a fun, innovative take on the 4x genre. But as a game, I just don’t really think it hangs together very well.

    But that was when it came out. I don’t know how much the expansions have improved on that.

  14. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I suddenly realized that I’m prone to buying almost anything published by Paradox. It’s a rather frightening trend, especially considering that I consciously avoid such behavior.

    I guess it’s not too bad being a whore if you just like to get laid.

  15. ashbery76 says:

    The tactical depth in research for ships weapons systems and counters is unmatched by any other 4X game,and no game has done space monsters as good.The expansions improved the non military side of the game a lot.

  16. Baboonanza says:

    As has been said, SotS with all the expansion packs does many things very well that few other games even attempt. The semi random tech-tree with many viable technology paths is a work of genius all by itself.

    It does have some major flaws though (IMO mainly with the pacing which is admittedly difficult to get right in a 4X game) and given how much the team must have learnt since the original it will be exciting to see what they do to improve it.

    • Matt W says:

      Seconded on the randomized tech tree – it is (IMO) an incredibly astute piece of design – the fact that you can’t just “tech up to your favorite techs” (because for one thing the paths up are randomized to some degree, and for another you may not even get a given tech in a given game) forces you to approach research like, well, research – you throw money at it and hope you discover something useful. It’s very smart and more games should consider copying it.

  17. Turin Turambar says:

    I tried SOTS for a bit when it was released and i thought the combat was crap. Why coudln’t just copy Homeworld model?
    Given that Kerberos was founded with Homeworld developers, i never understood it.

    Did they improve that area afterwards?

    • mrmud says:

      The fact that there even was both ship design and combat in a single game was enough to sell me on it.

    • DK says:

      The combat is still pseudo-3D with all the problems associated with that, but the Stance-AI has been improved – plus it actually has fully calculated combat instead of dice rolls, where every curve of your ship has an actual physical impact, something very few other games do, not to mention none in the 4X genre.

      Miles away from the abysmal GalCiv 2 combat in any case.

  18. Phinor says:

    I’m still waiting for an updated demo of SOTS. I found a very old demo (I think it was 3.5 years old) couple of months ago and the game didn’t really seem all that great but apparently it has improved a lot since those days. It’s just that I’m not going to blind buy anything for more than like 5€ unless I can try a demo first.. so I’m still waiting for one.. or for the ultimate collection price to drop that magical 75% or more.

  19. Tei says:

    Why the ships of SoTS are soo ugly? most look like hippy acid dreams. Homeworld, EVE, Jupiter Nexus incident… where is the love for huge cool deadly capital ships?

    Another disapointement of SoTS is that It feel like a sandbox for skirmish. This is not bad, all games must include it, but have more than that.

  20. Pew says:

    I only tried SotS at launch and it was definitely no MoO 2 or GalCiv 2. But then again I didn’t care for Sins either with its rather simplistic resource management. Maybe I should give it a try again.

  21. Vinraith says:

    SotS was easily my favorite PC game purchase of last year, and is probably my favorite 4X game of all time (I suppose it might be tied with Gal Civ 2, but it’s notable that this is the one I’m still playing). Any strategy fan that hasn’t tried the game with the full range of expansion packs is doing themselves a grave disservice, especially considering the frankly ludicrous sales prices that have been regularly placed on the Ultimate pack lately. It’s easy to learn and fast to play, but has considerably depth, a great AI, and after several hundred hours of playing it’s still regularly throwing things at me that I’ve never seen before. As 4X games go it’s by far the best at capturing a sense of exploration and discovering the unknown, its space monsters, random encounters, and massive galactic threats are at least as interesting as your “real” opponents (who are no slouches in their own right, I should be clear). Kerberos’ support for it has been outstanding, as well, with substantial updates at regular intervals (and another one due soon). The sense of humor is also absolutely brilliant. There honestly aren’t enough good things I can say about this game, just go buy it. Then, when it comes out, go buy the sequel too.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      Word. Though I enjoyed the original 1.0 version immensely by itself.

      /also I’m amused that they guy behind Gratuitous Space Battles says it lacked personality.

  22. Heliocentric says:

    Anyone who does dip into sots play progression wars if you are playing singleplayer. Its hidden underneath the scenario tab but it totally deserves its own tab. And don’t turn off random events, finding a massive ancient evil is half of the fun.

  23. goodgimp says:

    Yes yes yes and more yes to infinity plus.

  24. Nymph says:

    I really enjoyed SotS + it’s first expansion, Born of Blood.
    The second and third expansion, I felt, watered down the experience a little without adding anything amazing – but still a great game.

    However, I felt the strategic view was under developed, and the tactical view was critically flawed in some ways.

    Well worth playing if a 4x fan, and I’m looking forward to the sequel – although from reading the forums, I get the impression that Kerberos don’t take criticism well and have a ‘Vision’.

    PS: Neptunes Pride looks interesting, and quite like a simplified version of Web Space Alliance(ignore the silly name, it was the best webgame I ever played!)

  25. Colin says:

    As one of those weird people who likes MoO 1 over MoO 2, I prefer the clarity of vanilla SotS over the latest incarnation of the game. The turn length is still nicely short but you now need to worry about a lot more stuff every time you press the turn button. I think that the idea that adding more (and more complex) stuff to do every turn makes for a better game is flawed reasoning when at the heart the genre is about sending your fleets of death out to ravage the universe.

    Of course, minority opinion and all since GalCiv 2 is considered the current forerunner of turn-based space empire games.

  26. Aganazer says:

    Great, as long as they finish Northstar first!

  27. caesarbear says:

    It nice that GalCiv2 and SotS can exist comfortably with each other. I play GalCiv2 for the empire building and SotS for the conquest. SotS does have a number of faults though. It relies far, far too much on arbitrary and random bullshit events to keep an edge. Turning off the random encounters makes it much more stale, but the encounters get very tiring. ‘Oh look yet another super powered alien menace that for some reason has nothing better to do then harass me.’ I hope in the sequel they add something to exploration besides cake or death.

    • Vinraith says:

      @caesarbear

      Yeah, it does work out really nicely. Same genre, similar settings, but the games are focused completely differently and as a result “feel” totally different.

      For my part, I quite like the random events, horrors from beyond, and other surprises SotS provides. Hell, I think they’re one of its greatest strengths and seeing new ones is a large part of what keeps me playing. To each their own, of course. I imagine you’re not a fan of Gal Civ 2′s mega-events either? I really loved it when they added those.

    • caesarbear says:

      I don’t care for the mega events no. I once received a Precursor Ranger with 100+ stats in the very early stages of a game once. It destroyed any interest I had in playing. I’m not opposed to an overwhelming threat, ala the Antarans from MOO2 or the opposition in AI Wars, but the randomness with no warning is just lazy game design in my opinion.

    • Vinraith says:

      @caesarbear

      I once received a Precursor Ranger with 100+ stats in the very early stages of a game once. It destroyed any interest I had in playing.

      That’s not a mega event, it’s my least favorite random event. I’m with you on that one, actually, it’s a game killer if you get one of those damn things early in the game. Random events that make the game enormously easier really DO suck. It seems to have stopped happening with recent updates, though.

      As to random events being lazy game design, I totally disagree. 4X games have a tendency to become boring and predictable in their late stages, having something that shakes things up and creates new challenges is a must IMO.

  28. NickS says:

    /SQUEEEE!

    *ahem*

    Great, just when I have a full year of study + re-learning my biochem/genetics stuff.

  29. Bonedwarf says:

    I bought SOTS in an epic buying spree last year where I bought that, Space Rangers, and AI War on the same day.

    I have yet to play any of them.

    I really must.

    And I love Gal Civ II. Criminal they never included PBEM in that.

  30. Sucram says:

    Would still like to see a remake of Fragile Allegiance (K240). Attaching engines to your colony and trying to ram your opponent is a feature sorely missing from most 4X games.

  31. jRides says:

    I have been ruined by Aurora, all other 4Xs now seem lightweight and childish. :)