Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
Buy On
  1. Combining elements from different genres is a risky proposition, but Ironclad has managed to create a truly unique hybrid with Sins of a Solar Empire. It may leave purists of either genre confused, but it will undoubtedly cultivate a following of its own.
  2. If you enjoy space battles that are featured in Babylon 5 and other space operas, this game is for you.
  3. A great blend of RTS and 4X galactic conquest goodness. With a little upfront effort to get over the learning curve, players will soon see many hours of free time melting away in that “just one more planet” bliss.
  4. In a game genre that is normally filled with complex and difficult-to-learn games, Sins of a Solar Empire manages to find some good, solid middle ground. The title successfully delivers a real-time space strategy that offers 4X and RTS fans an experience that is both detailed and easy to learn.
  5. A must for any strategy gamer's collection. I'd also highly recommend it to sci fi fans looking for something a little different than the next futuristic shooter. Killing alien scum with a laser rifle is so passé when you can vaporize the alien mothership with your trusty ion cannon.
  6. Blending deep, intricate 4X design into the world of real-time gaming was a daunting task to say the least, but Ironclad and Stardock have pulled it off and in the end have created one of the best strategy games of the past few years.
  7. PC Gamer
    Sins of a Solar Empire bucks the current RTS trends of break-neck speed and small-scale battles, and allows strategy gamers to think big and control an entire war in real time. [Apr 2008, p.58]
  8. It’s been a long time since a developer has taken such risks in development and it is deeply impressive that so many of these risks have paid off for the members of Ironclad.
  9. The epic feel, ease of control and attention to detail all round makes this a joy to play. You really won’t feel that you are playing a strategy game, but you’ll get the kind of rewards from it that only hours spent on a game like this can bestow on you.
  10. Truly an excellent game. Minor flaws and caveats aside, it has been a long time since I’ve played any game so addicting and moment-to-moment enjoyable that it’s actually made me worry about starting it up.
  11. PC Zone UK
    Light years ahead of the competition and to miss it would be unforgivable. And if another reviewer writes a better box-friendly quote than that, I'll piss in their face. [May 2008, p.80]
  12. Sins of a Solar Empire makes no apologies for being ambitiously massive and deep.
  13. With most RTS games shifting towards fast action at the expense of real strategy, it would be an unforgivable sin for a strategy fan to pass by this game on the shelf and not pick it up.
  14. 90
    The reason that Sins of a Solar Empire works is that it truly respects and celebrates both styles of strategy gaming. It marries the grand scope and Nietzschian will-to-power embodied by the best "4X" conquer-the-universe titles with the adrenaline-fueled immediacy and moment-to-moment decision making of a great real-time strategy game.
  15. This isn't just the first great strategy game of 2008. It's also an absolute must-have if you love space strategy.
  16. Though it is in some ways flawed, Sins of a Solar Empire remains one of the best strategy games to grace store shelves in recent times, and is sure to be one of the sleeper hits of 2008.
  17. 90
    Sins is an epic space strategy game that has truly and seamlessly blended the traditional turn-based model with the modern real-time formula. And it's a great way to turn four hours into four minutes.
  18. 90
    A resounding success and the best sci-fi strategy game currently available.
  19. A highly polished, very original, and extremely fun strategy title.
  20. It's one of those rare strategy games that actually has its own view of how the genre should work, which is entirely separate to what the rest of the industry is considering.
  21. 90
    Sins easily takes the crown as the most intricate, in-depth real-time strategy game to date.
  22. Pelit (Finland)
    The first real time strategy, that can be truly called a strategy game. Awfully long game times in space are troublesome only because they steal so many hours from my life. Very addicting experience though, thumbs up! [Mar 2008]
  23. Even though there have been many space-combat strategy games, Sins of a Solar Empire does a really good job of mixing various 4X and RTS games, and gives players a game with deep strategy that will keep them busy for a while.
  24. 90
    Not only is it accessible enough to recommend to the casual RTS player, it's got more than enough depth to please even the most propeller-headed of strategy nerds.
  25. If you're a casual gamer then steer clear, but If you have both the time and the inclination to devote a lot of time to learning the sometimes over complicated set up then you'll have more fun than some kind of space pun I can't think of at the moment.
  26. Overall the game plays well, looks fantastic and whatever slowdown is caused by the huge space battles can be simplified from graphics card chugging render fest, to a simple set of logo’s flying about simply be zooming out.
  27. Sins of a Solar Empire gives a twist to the RTS-genre. While the game isn’t very accessible for everyone, RTS-fans will really play the game until the early hours of the morning. The Phase-lines ensure the deep tactical but relax gameplay. Already one of the best RTS-games of the year.
  28. Sins of Solar Empire is a must have for any strategy fan and is definitely a contention for game of the year. For me it just falls short of a score of ten.
  29. PC PowerPlay
    Sins has inherited the most prominent feature of 4X games; the ability to make time completely disappear. [Apr 2008, p.65]
  30. 89
    The experience works so well because the graphics engine works beautifully and the interface is very slick and efficient...The combat is genuinely rewarding and free from the rock-paper-scissors design of most games, which leaves the player free to focus on more sophisticated tactics.
  31. It feels every bit as deep and engrossing as a traditional four-X title--riding the fine line between accessibility and “dumbing things down” is always a gamble, but here that gamble has paid off handsomely.
  32. PC Format
    Compulsive and enormous in equal measures. [Apr 2008, p.104]
  33. Overall Sins of a Solar Empire is an easy game to recommend to strategy fans. It may put off RTS gamers who live off of rush tactics or turn-based gamers who like the luxury of taking all the time that they want to plot their next move.
    Strategy fans had to wait for a long time but finally there’s a game that might indeed be able to step into the footsteps of Master of Orion: Big galaxies, an addicting multiplayer, nice looks and a lot of freedom make Sins of a Solar Empire one of the best strategy games of the year. Two thumbs up! [Issue#14]
  35. While Sins of a Solar Empire probably isn't a big deal to those who have already played the hell out of a large-scale, turn-based space strategy game, those of us who never got too far into those games will find the RTS action of Sins to offer something with a little more action and excitement.
  36. Games Master UK
    Give it time and you'll find this to be a deep, involving real-time strategy game that'll last you for months. [June 2008, p.83]
  37. 85
    While games like "Medieval II" have tried to marry the tenets of Civilization and StarCraft, Sins is the first game to successfully do so without storing them in separate compartments.
  38. Despite its shortcomings however, Sins is good game, with a relaxing gameplay, that catches on to you and won't let you go for nights on end, without causing anguish even when you lose.
  39. Complex yet intuitive, balanced but still extremely demanding, this is one of the biggest surprises of the year.
  40. Epic in both space and time. [Apr 2008, p.72]
  41. Sins of a Solar Empire combines the depth of traditional turn-based games like Civilization with the action of real-time strategy (RTS) games like Command & Conquer. The result is a rich and highly detailed game that pleases fans of both types of strategy.
  42. 80
    It's hard to ignore the game's addictive nature, however. By removing many of the needlessly complex details from earlier empire-building titles, developer Ironclad Games has placed the emphasis back on grand strategy over babysitting. Sins is one of the biggest surprises thus far in 2008, a game no self-respecting galactic grognard will want to be without.
  43. Just enough strategy to balance the combat. Loads of fun.
  44. Edge Magazine
    Sins is undoubtedly a unique achievement, unifying realtime battle and empirical strategy where others have only managed to offer them as separate components. [Apr 2008, p.94]
  45. Play (Poland)
    The best space strategy since Homeworld and Hegemony. The smooth zoom from the star map to the command of an embattled fleet is impressive, but the battles are won and lost mostly in the strategic view - the choice of clever tactical tricks and ship designs is much more limited than the vast array of technologies and logistical choices.
  46. games(TM)
    Solar Empire doesn’t force players to choose between giant locales, depth of gameplay, and explosive real-time space battles, it simultaneously provides them all. [May 2008, p.106]
  47. 80
    But If you're willing to put in the time to learn the game's nuances however, and don't mind losing days of your life to faux interstellar conquest, Sins of a Solar Empire is easily the finest game to hit PCs this year.
  48. The slick blend of genres and the sheer size of the game make it hard to give an unreserved recommendation: Sins of a Solar Empire will not be everyone's cup of tea. However, if you've been hooked to titles like Galactic Civilizations, experiencing '4X' strategy in a real-time environment may be a revelation for you.
  49. AceGamez
    A brilliant game, and also a very long one. The shortest missions will take several hours, if you're lucky, with online missions having the added bonus of being saveable so you and your friends can carry a private war out over a course of days if necessary.
  50. Maybe not your average RTS, but Sins of a Solar Empire achieves something that other games don’t: it’s a compelling game, and from the moment you pick it up, you can’t avoid playing it until the end. With missions that last several days or weeks, users can exploit the deep gameplay thanks to its easy interface, in a very tactical game, but also really fun, both offline and online.
  51. Its depth and flexibility are great for letting a player define their own experience but are also part of a laundry list of features that will discourage the new strategy player from exploring this universe.
  52. The problem with Sins isn't that it begs, borrows and steals; it's that it combines everything improperly and streamlines it so much that it whittles away its own soul.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 281 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 281
  1. Tristan
    Jul 4, 2008
    Bland and unoriginal. The capital ship system is identical to WC3's hero system, the space battles look boring, there is no storyline, Bland and unoriginal. The capital ship system is identical to WC3's hero system, the space battles look boring, there is no storyline, there are no backgrounds for the races or ships, the gameplay feels like any other RTS game where you churn out units to throw into combat. The voice acting is ok, the music is quite good and the graphics are nothing spectacular. Full Review »
  2. JeffM
    Mar 29, 2008
    An uninspired attempt to combine two inherently incompatible styles of gameplay, Sins ends up falling flat on its pretty face. The scale is An uninspired attempt to combine two inherently incompatible styles of gameplay, Sins ends up falling flat on its pretty face. The scale is ridiculous, completely destroying any possibility of a suspension of disbelief. The artificiality of "jump lines" between planets, not to mention dozens of planets in a single system, is laughably dumb. For the so-called amazing battle scenes, ships just warp into an area, then sit there and shoot at each other until the exploding is over. Yawn. Homeworld this is not. Stick with Space Empires if you want a 4X turn-based game. Or maybe go dust off Homeworld or try out Sword of the Stars. But stay away from Sins... it tries to be all things and comes up a big loser. Full Review »
  3. May 15, 2016
    Great rts strategy game. Only two downsides: One is that there is no single player campaign and the trailer made me want one, badly.

    Great rts strategy game. Only two downsides: One is that there is no single player campaign and the trailer made me want one, badly.

    The second is that multiplayer games can drag on for very, very long in a large galaxy.

    All the factions are well balanced, the graphics are good, and if you put the AI on insane and let it cheat beyond belief you can even pretend that it's somewhat competent.
    Full Review »