Bullshit & Ignorance


I recently dug Spore out again and installed it and have been playing it. Although it’s fun, it was also always slightly disappointing to me. Pre-release it sounded really exciting. Totally new and innovative and generally excellent. I don’t know if a lot of the talk about it at that point was just hype, or if Maxis simply couldn’t manage to implement a lot of what they seemed to be planning to in those early stages. In short, it felt like it got dumbed down.

The cell stage is fun. I’ve always liked it. It’s simple, but that’s part of its appeal I think. You swim around, collecting cell parts, eating things and generally stabbing other cells in the face in the race to evolve. It’s the sort of thing that would make a neat little game for a phone these days.

Then you evolve to the creature stage. This is where most of the creature building happens. You scamper around the planet on your newly evolved legs, tearing the faces off of the many weird species you encounter (Or singing and dancing and shit if you feel so inclined). You once again collect up parts, and accumulate DNA so you can fly in the face of creationism and evolve into a bigger, better creature. This stage I also enjoy, although after the first few times it can get a little repetitive. So once you’ve charmed or massacred your way along the evolutionary path, and expanded your tiny brain to such a degree you can discover fire, you can move into the tribal stage. This for me is where things go a little wrong.

The tribal and civilisation stages are kinda half arsed. The game goes from single-creature-focus, to you controlling first a whole little tribe of your beasties, then the vehicles of your civilisation. Both stages have elements of RTS about them. You build your village/city, you produce your units, you win over the other villages and cities with force, persuasion or in the civilisation stage, cash money, yo. It’s all a bit limited though. There’s not much variation here. There’s no tech tree, no rock/paper/scissors arrangements of units to balance out when building your forces and so on. It’s extremely simplified and as such, for me, feels too easy and really largely pointless.

Then you leap into space, and we’re back to single-unit focus. The space stage is a little limited too, but still entertaining. I could moan about the limited variety in missions, but I won’t. It’s still pretty fun.

I know it’s pretty old now in computer game terms, but I still think of Spore as an underachiever. After all the hype and promises, the finished product lacked sparkle. Still fun, easy to sink hours into without realising you have, but not the masterpiece it could have been.

Comments (0) | Entertainment,Games — King[Fu] @ 05:43 on June 30, 2011

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