Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spore, why?

Why, Spore, did you have to give me hope only to dash it on sharp rocks like a seal trying to eat a crab? Why? Did I do something horrible in a past life that I have to attone for now?

But seriously, Spore isn't a horrible game...but it is not the ambrosia that gamers thought it would be. Honestly, it's a freaking kids game. I can deal with the bright colors and themes, and all the crappy textures for your creatures, but the game is simplified to an almost painful level.

Let's start with the cell phase. Now this should be simple, right? Well, it's not simple, it's painfully simple. You can choose from a whole 9 cell parts! Wow...I haven't had that much selection in equipment since the original Zelda (My bad, you only had 8 secondary weapons in Zelda). Not only that, but you have to FIND 6 of those parts. Beyond building your cell, you get to collect little meat dots or little plant dots. That's right, your hours of playing Pac Man have not been in vain. (Authors note: I know they said it would be inspired by Pac Man, and I should have expected something like this, but inspired by and blatantly copied are two different things)

So, once you grow enough to get a brain (Where's the wizard of Oz when you really need him?) you get to go to the land creature creator. Apparently the only important evolution creatures got from cell to animal was legs...I mean, even those cilia and flagella you had from the cell phase increase your movement speed on land (I'm not even speculating how). If you're lucky enough not to crash (which happens about 80% of the time to me, especially if I try to create an herbivore) you get to have a wonderful choice of game play: Kill stuff or play simon says. Seriously....you can kill stuff and eat it or go up to creatures and mimic them to make them your friends (and you thought making friends in the Sims was a pain in the ass). Anyway, somehow playing simon says and killing things gets you DNA points and a bigger brain.

So, on to the tribal phase which is just as simple, except instead of killing stuff and playing simon says you have to build a small selection of buildings, and then kill stuff or play simon says (while conducting music). Seriously, the camera angle is pretty much the only major play style difference between tribal and creature modes. I guess you can give orders RTS style, but it's still pretty much the same. Oh wait, you can domesticate like 3 creatures and have them lay eggs for you to eat...that's pretty much the only addition.

City phase is a laughable attempt at an RTS. It offers three play styles: Religious, Economic, and Militaristic. The difference? Well, Religious and Militaristic are largely the same with different graphics (oh and you can't actually destroy buildings or anything really with religious units, just "convert" them which doesn't seem to do anything except in the case of cities, which surrender to you). Economic conquest is an interesting concept, but kinda far-fetched if you think about it. Why would an enemy nation agree to a trade route let alone sell their last city to your empire. Corrupt Officials? I guess.

Space phase is a joke. Are we playing pokemon? No? Then why do I have to collect badgers to progress? And if you have ships specifically for your trade routes why do I have to haul and sell this spice? I thought this was supposed to be a sandbox mode, the problem is it takes 50+ hours of play (exageration, I don't have the patience to screw around with this horribly designed phase of the game to really find out how long it takes) to get to the max rank, and even more to get enough money to have all the tools on your ship (many of which you have to buy for every use.

Overall Rating of Spore as a game: 6/10

VG Philosopher Plays Spore
VG Philosopher's Soul take 100000000 depression damage.
VG Philosopher dies a little on the inside.

For how long this game took to make, you'd think it wouldn't be designed for a 3 year old.
-VG Philosopher

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