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Swords of the Sun

Swords of the Sun is a modern fantasy military game first released as a trilogy, eight years ago by Luna Studios, and recently re-released as a single, remastered title. Swords of the Sun's interstellar setting takes place in an alternate present, where humankind has gathered under the wings of vast galaxy-spanning communities. One third of humanity is under the firm control of the Impera, an autocratic and theocratic empire that founds its power on the manipulation of history, leading its subjects to believe it has existed for thousands of years -- while in reality, it is a recent creation, built upon the remnants of the first interstellar democracy. Alongside the Impera stand many smaller powers, from the semi-independent planets of Erebto the Pleiades -- and further away, the Agora, the last heir of democracies past, locked in a bitter cold war with the Impera. As the 13th Phalanx, one of the Impera's elite legions, decides to defect after it was forced to destroy a rebelling planet, the Agora decides to fan the flames of Ereb's brewing rebellion. Interstellar war looms, and the player is at the first stage, alternating between the individual points of view of 13th Phalanx and Agoran soldiers.

Swords of the Sun perhaps the most emblematic representative of the semi-linear narrative game revival in the previous decade. It puts the player in the role of mid-level officers, completing its first person combat gameplay with small-scale strategy elements carried out via a system of active pause. The campaign is semi-linear, with mission environments ranging from mostly linear corridors to large open world maps and organic objectives. With its "rugged space opera" aesthetic, multi-choice story spanning several years and ten characters, as well as its fluid gameplay, Swords of the Sun has earned the praise of the public and specialized press alike, to the point of warranting a recent remaster.

"Playing Swords of the Sun as a single game and not a trilogy is a strange experience, in no small part because of how wildly different from each other the three games are. The first Swords of the Sun is a well-rounded and competent military fantasy romp that a memorable mid-game twist barely elevates above its hundreds of brethren. The second opus is possibly the quintessential game of its style, a truly well-crafted masterpiece that brings the player from one epic setpiece to the other without ever losing track of its themes and characters. The third game is possibly one of the strangest experiences I've ever had. It starts like a retread of its predecessors and then, halfway through the game, becomes something else entirely. The last twenty hours of Swords of the Sun III are an insane, amazingly fun succession of love letters to basically every fantasy genre at once, from noir detective stories to old fashioned military scifi. It has no qualms bringing the player right from a moody car chase under the neon rain to a full-scale invasion of the Earth seen from the spine of a kilometer-long ship, and it does so with pride and confidence."

-- Rock, Paper, UREB.

"What truly makes Swords of the Sun an amazing experience is its tenth mission, Awake on Distant Shores. So far, the game has been a fun but ultimately constrained romp, tasking you with following in the footsteps of its grizzled cast of 13th Phalanx veterans. And then, suddenly, without warning, it throws you into the tenth mission, that cold opens on an Agoran mechanized unit being hot-dropped on a hostile imperial world. The pseudolatin chants of the soundtrack are gone, replaced by synth riffs. You're now a blue-skinned woman from the Pleiades and you're behind the displays of a light tank, just reeling from the shock of ground impact. You're fast, nimble, heavily armed and you're part of a vast armored spearhead filling the entire desert around you. UREB strikes and railgun shots fill the night of a world three thousand lightyears away from the Phalanx's theater of operations. That's it. That's now a proper war. The game just dramatically expanded its scope -- and became brilliant."

-- Game Enquirer.

Art: Talros.

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