Sins of a Solar Empire
is a macro manager's dream. I am a fan of competent training material. Nothing bothers me more in big games than learning through attrition. Right off the bat when I opened up my deluxe edition box, I was greeted with a nice, thick manual that is packed full of material. Let me preface this just a little. Thick is not always good. Complete, concise information is good. I do believe you should never HAVE to use a manual to play the game, but I am not a fan of guessing how things work through hours of trial and error, specifically when the concept is a small side note to the big picture of the game. So off of the soap box and into the world that is this vast, rich game. You are commonly welcomed with the initial storyline of the game through an opening cut scene, and then it is down to business.
The menu system isn't sexy by any means. It is streamlined and done in a very classic menu format that is widely recognized and easy to use. You have your Single Player Game, Multiplayer Game, Online and Options Menu. The Single Player Mode starts off with four tutorials right in front of you. No need to go digging for them. These tutorials do their job in getting all of the ideas of the game in front of you. They don't play around or make you guess, as well they are not overly lengthy and mundane. Also in the Single Player Menu, you have the ability to change some of your appearance. You can also revisit your epic battles by watching your game again to analyze and strategize.
The clincher for me is the Map Maker which included both the Single Player and Multiplayer games to make unique experiences of your own design.
The actual gameplay is extremely detailed. The classic 4X's are readily at work as you spread across the universe and take, ask, trade, or mine whatever you need. Build Civilian and Military research facilities that will aid in the research and implementations of new technologies necessary for galactic conquest. This may seem commonplace the way I have written it here, but it is in no way that simplistic. A huge and diverse tree or network of available research options lay before you, some of which intertwine and cross over. It is not a simple, linear process to build each unit. There is a balance you must strike and sacrifice between diplomatic endeavors, military need and civilian necessity to achieve victory. Build ship facilities that will manufacture the vast number of ships you will need to travel and rule the galaxy, and protect each step of your expansion not only from the known enemy threat of "the other player", but of piracy and diplomatic alliances.
There is so much more to this game than its beautiful surface. To bring its treasures from the deep would take volumes. This is a beautiful, gritty, simply complex and chaotically ordered game. It moves very fast so even moments of what may feel like slow moving battle are perfectly alive in preparation, exploration and contemplation.