So should you buy Galactic Adventures?
Posted by ballightning on June 22, 2009
Well i don’t know yet as i don’t have it, but Khorzho was lucky enough to get Galactic Adventures a few days early from his local store, and has posted a comprehensive review over at the official US forums.
Between yesterday and today, I’ve spent about 12 hours playing GA. I’d like to offer as an impartial review as I can. This message does contain some minor spoilers about certain missions, so read at your own risk.
It will help to know that there are two types of adventures. Space-Game based, where you receive them while playing a saved game, and Quick-play. The reason I’m bringing this up, is because many of the Maxis-bundled missions are not available in the Space Game, as they have “set” captains and only function in the Quick-play mode.
My Captain is Rank 4 (or 5, can’t remember), I’ve played through a bunch of Space-based adventures, and several Quick-Play only. I’ve also finished the “Adventure Town” which unlocks the editor, and have started constructing my first mission.
To keep this a quick-read, I’ll just pro, con, and “on the fence” the highlights I’ve noticed.
– There is a “Captain Rank” system which ties into the game. As you gain points through it, you get better and better gear, just like new parts for a creature in the creature phase.
– There are 7 “types” of Captain parts, with four parts per type. If you unlock all the parts in a particular row of a type, your Spaceship gets a new Archetype ability!
– Each mission performance is tracked online! You can compare or compete with other people for the top spot on how a mission is done.
– The missions in the Space-Game are offered just like a standard pre-GA mission. There’s no special interface or anything you have to do to get them.
– The quantity of items for purchase from empires has been increased. For example: You no longer have to travel to ten systems to buy ten AoE Repairs. It varies per item (some are still qty: one tho).
– Yes, you can enter buildings in Adventures. This leaves a lot of options open (like ship-to Ship combat).
– There are a ton of new achievements (at least 25).
– The Pre-made Maxis missions are pretty good. There is even a Grox mission (well… calling them Neo-Grox would be more appropriate).
– Much like the Creature Creator, the Adventure Editor is very intuitive. It’s really easy to get a basic Mission put together.
– Missions are not always “kill, kill, kill”. Nor do they have to be.
– It LOOKS like the Graphics Freeze problem I was experiencing is cleaned up. I believe the game also runs a cleanup on your user ‘package’ files, which could fix a lot of problems.
– The load times are pretty bad in GA. Especially if you are playing a newly downloaded mission. I have a Core i7965, 12GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD, and a GTX295 video card, and new missions take over 3 minutes to load up.
– The mission assignments in the Space Stage are somewhat random. You don’t always get an Adventure. You sometimes get an “old” Spaceship based mission (like retrieve a plant). If you are looking to only play Adventures, you are going to either make empires mad declining these older missions, or reload saves.
– The adventures will repeat in Space-Based play. And you get no “captain points” for doing them again. This is really not good, because early on, we are going to have to wait for people create new missions to level up our captain, or build our own missions to proceed (what I’m doing).
– Adventure Planets cannot be interacted with, period, except to try the mission again. This leaves your galaxy filled up with old adventures.
– Maxis did nothing with regard to the Hologram Scout, or non-adventure planet interactions.
– The controls for your creature in an adventure are clumsy. Just turning around can be a problem at times.
“On the Fence”
– Missions are offered by other alien empires only except for the initial tutorial. This means if you have a large empire with no bordering empires, you will have to go to your border areas to pick-up missions. If you ever take over the Galaxy, your adventuring is done.
– Adventures are win-lose. There are no multi-outcome missions. This means the diplomatic-only missions are pretty much a jog-fest.
– The terrain tools in the Adventure Editor are a bit cumbersome to use.
– The collision on certain objects is a bit “loose”. You can scale up certain walls for example. It’s not horrible, but it’s not edge on.
– Creature Pathing is a challenge to iron out in the editor. It’s a big reason my first adventure wasn’t done last night.
– Everything is kind of bathed in silly swanky music and disco references. It’s a bit over the top. Does my evil captain really have to moon-walk or Saturday-Night-Fever when he kills all the good guys? (admittedly, this is a purely personal comment)
The level of game play creation is a great innovation. The Adventure Editor is great. The updates to the core game are good. The new “captain” system and online tracking is cool.
But the basic complaints of the original Space Stage weren’t addressed (which were thin game play because of no real strategic control, no fleet actions, and no beaming down to original planets). All these issues are still there, but we have the Adventure planets now as a distraction. Granted, its a fun, creative distraction, but a distraction none-the-less.
Overall, if you are a Spore addict, its a 9 out of 10 and a must-buy. If you aren’t, its a 7.5, but fun enough to be worth the $30.