Mod of the Week: Star Trek Armada 3, for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
If you've been looking for a reason to revisit 2011's SIns of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, might I tempt you with a fresh injection of Star Trek? Galaxy-class Federation starships? Borg Cubes? Klingon Vor'cha? Romulan... whatever it is Romulans drive? The Star Trek Armada III mod completely transforms Sins into Trek, with custom models, animations, effects, and technology.
The Armada 3 mod has been under space-construction for a couple of years, and recently went into beta. While there's still some tweaking and balancing happening behind the scenes, and plans for expansions in the future, version 1.0 already feels impressively polished. It can actually be a little hard to play sometimes because it's so much fun to just zoom in on ships and structures and admire the detail. When you do start to play, it actually feels less like a mod and more like a real Star Trek game.
The mod lets you play as one of four races. There's the Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Borg Collective. Not only does each side have its own UI theme (a nice touch) but they have their own strengths and weaknesses. The Federation can dominate the markets with their economic know-how, but their construction times (presumably due to Federation red-tape) can leave you short a few ships when the space-poop hits the fan. Klingons, meanwhile, have incredibly powerful weapons, but lag a bit behind in infrastructure and economy. The Borg, obviously, are efficient and powerful, but their weakness is... well, they don't actually have one. Watch out for those Borg. They're bad news. Romulans... well, they probably have some attributes, too!
You can also summon some of the heroes from the Star Trek universe. Sisko, Picard, and Janeway can pilot your federation ships in a pinch, if you've unlocked the ability to call on them through your research tree. Klingon heroes include Kurn, whose brother was Worf, and Chancellor Gowron, who was killed by Worf. Wait. Is Star Trek implying that all Klingons know each other, or am I imagining things? I didn't play as the Borg, so I'm not sure who their heroes are, but they're probably some terrifying robot monsters. And, as is probably clear by now, I don't give a single hot toot about the Romulans.
Being able to call in actual Star Trek characters is cool, but it's even cooler to hear their actual voices in the game, provided by sound snippets from the TV shows. I know it sounds cheesy, but it fits in amazingly well. Speaking of sound, the mod has a great soundtrack consisting of remastered tracks from Armada 1 and 2, as well as from Starfleet Command 3. And, the ships, the weapons, and the rest of the game's sound effects go a long way to transforming Sins into an authentic-feeling Trek universe.
The small touches are nice, too. Resources consist of credits, dilithium, and tritanium, which, as Wikipedia tells me, are things you would like to have a lot of in the Star Trek universe. The menus, the UI, even the tiniest of icons and emblems look great. As I said above, it doesn't feel like a mod as much as an actual Star Trek game. Even random pirate ships are modeled after space vessels from the show. It's pretty clear the team behind the mod are fans who really want to get the details right.
I played a few rounds as the Federation, and a couple as the Klingons. In terms of balance, I'll just say that I lost no matter which side I was playing, so at least it's fair (I am pretty terrible at strategy). I definitely recommend it if you have Sins: Rebellion, and if you don't, it's only $40 on Steam. Wait, $40?Still? Well, wishlist it, then, and snap it up in a sale. If you're a strategy fan and Trekkie, this mod is your jam.
Installation: Grab the latest version (and hotfix, where applicable) here. It's self-installing. When it's done, just boot the game up and you'll be ready to make it so.