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Spore Galactic Adventures Review – IGN

Posted by ballightning on June 24, 2009

IGN gave the game a score of 7.7 out of 10 for Galactic Adventures.

There’s a moment in Spore: Galactic Adventures that almost seems Simpson-esque. Among all the many different adventures that you can participate in, from defending against alien invasion to stealth action infiltration of an alien work camp, there’s a great little mission called How a Bill Becomes a Law, which reminded me of The Simpsons’ episode that featured the hilarious Schoolhouse Rock spoof. It’s a humorous (and somewhat cynical) take of the American lawmaking system, complete with hooking up lobbyists to senators and a walking, talking bill. It’s charming, creative, and a perfect example of what’s possible in this expansion to last year’s Spore. At the same time, it also highlights what was missing in the core game. 

Now Spore itself has a mixed reputation. Maxis’ one-of-a-kind game about life in the universe amazed many with its sheer number of editors that allow users to create everything from creatures to vehicles; the developers like to note that there are many more user-designed creatures in Spore than there are species on the planet. And it’s true, Spore redefined what we think when it comes to user-designed content, and how to distribute it. At the same time, the gameplay itself didn’t quite live up to the user-design side. Sure, you could create all manners of creature and vehicles and buildings, but there wasn’t a whole lot of variety in the gameplay itself.

Galactic Adventures in a way solves that, but only for the space stage, the final stage of the game. The expansion introduces the idea of adventures, which are planetary-based missions that you can pursue with your Space Captain, basically your avatar. If you’re playing the Space stage, these adventures integrate into the existing campaign, so you’ll fly around the galaxy in your starship, and every now and then you can beam down to the planet to conduct a mission. Or you can just jump play adventures in a stand-alone fashion by calling up the adventure gallery in the Sporepedia. Maxis has seen fit to populate the expansion pack with dozens of pre-made adventures, but this being Spore a big component of the expansion is the introduction of an adventure editor that lets users create and share their own adventures. 

The Maxis-made adventures serve as sort of an example of what’s possible. There’s stealth action where you might have to infiltrate an enemy camp by avoiding the guards on patrol. There’s adventures based on mythology, such as helping Perseus arm himself for battle against the evil Medusa. There are pitched battles with starships swooping down and blasting apart combatants on the battlefield. This kind of stuff is not only challenging and interesting, but it offers a much-needed change of pace to the space stage gameplay where all you did previously was just fly around the galaxy in your starship with no real way of ever getting out to smell the roses. It also adds a sense of role-playing, as your Space Captain levels up over time and gains access to more powerful weapons and equipment.

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