Spore Galactic Adventures Review – MTV Multiplayer
Posted by ballightning on June 24, 2009
Will Wright’s “Spore” is many things, but ‘ambitious’ trumps them all. The evolution simulator sometimes stumbles beneath the weight of its too many lofty goals, but what it nails it does so with wild abandon. The scope of everything, the ability to share created content of every type across a unified, solo player-focused network, the God-like act of creation… these are all things that work marvelously well. If the majority of gamers out there have any complaint, is that there’s somehow not enough depth to satisfy a more experienced player.
“Spore Galactic Adventures,” the first major gameplay expansion, is an effort to change that. “Spore” has an endless late-game; players who are able to reach the final Space Stage with their created species see the galaxy open up before them into thousands – perhaps more – of discrete star systems, each with planets that can be colonized, explored or simply obliterated. There’s a trade economy between galactic empires, a variety of recycling ship-based missions to tackle and an overarching – but admittedly distant – directive to find a lost race at the center of the galaxy. Despite all of that, many seasoned video game lovers continue to take issue with the simplicity of it all.
Central to “Spore Galactic Adventures” is your Space Captain, a lone representative of your chosen species who acts as an avatar for ground-based missions. The Captain can be developed in a number of ways as he levels up – by earning experience via completed missions, ‘natch – allowing players to focus his skills in a wide range of directions. Of course, it wouldn’t be “Spore” with a creation angle. Players are also able to access a simple-yet-powerful set of tools to author their own missions. Created missions can then be shared with the “Spore”-using world via the Sporepedia.
Robots And Chickens Are Funny: While Maxis provides a number of pre-loaded missions for players to enjoy, the real star of the pre-made content is the collection of missions designed by the team behind the “Robot Chicken” TV series. These adventures in particular are marked by their sharp writing and zany objectives. And, of course, exploding poo.
Let There Be Missions: The creation tools in “Spore Galactic Adventures” seem intimidating at first, but it really boils down to placing a bunch of triggers into environments. Players have full access to the Sporepedia’s arsenal of created content of course, but there’s also dialogue to be written and goals to be set. Each mission can be broken up into discrete “acts,” which allows for narratives with multi-stage objectives. The best part of course is that everything can be shared; even if you don’t want to mess around with the building tools, it’s easy to add the work of others to your own collection.
O Captain! My Captain!: The Space Captain avatar is a cool concept that works marvelously well in its execution. There are eight categories to level up, each one with four ranks. Whichever category/rank is chosen, a new ability-bestowing accessory unlocks which must then be added to the captain’s body in an interface which mimics the Creature Creator. Development can be focused in a number of ways depending on the categories chosen, but with only 10 experience levels per captain there’s no way to see them all with a single species.