28 August 2007

Sword of The Stars: Born of Blood

Born of Blood introduces an entirely new race that may be among our favorite of the five total races in the game. The Zuul, who were hinted at in previous campaigns, have finally made their appearance on the scene. This highly militaristic race is a perfect fit for the style of the game. They have tougher ships than the other races but need to keep expanding or else they'll find themselves running out of resources quickly.

Each of the races in the game has a unique FTL travel system and the Zuul's is just as inventive as the others. Their Rip Bore ships make use of the same Node Space that the humans use when they travel but, in contrast to the respectful humans, the Zuul ships simply tear holes in Node Space with no regard for the damage it does. Because the universe heals itself, the Zuul will have to actively work to maintain their Node connections and they'll also be limited in the number they can have open at any given time. While it takes a little while to get used to how this works in practice, it's a nice system that players will definitely enjoy.

The Zuul can also make use of the new boarding technology to steal population from enemy planets and force them to work in slavery on Zuul worlds. You'll have to keep in mind just how suitable the slave races are to the planets you're forcing them to work on but it's a nice one-two punch that allows you to boost your own production while also limiting that of your enemy. These new shuttles can also be used during starship combat to board and capture enemy vessels. Smart enemies aren't likely to let you close enough for these to work but it's damn rewarding when you pull it off. Having your marines capture an enemy craft and turn its weapons on its former allies is a real treat.

* Play as the merciless Zuul Slavers with over 90 brand-new ship sections and their unique drive system – the Tunnel Drive
* Over 25 additional technologies, including new diplomacy and intelligence gathering techs
* 15 more weapons you can add to your ship designs
* New ship sections for the original four races, including: War, Projector, Boarding, and a new type of defense satellite – the Torpedo Defense Platform
* 4 additional galactic encounters, a new grand menace, plus 3 unique scenarios and 6 original maps
* New game features, including Slavery, Trade Routes, and Diplomatic Communications



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