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There are some very nice things about Spore's mechanics. The various editors are great, if a little limited and clunky to use, the procedural animation is mostly surprisingly good, distributing creatures via data embedded in 25-30KB PNGs is a nice low bandwidth trick, and the ability to visit and terraform a gazillion planets across the galaxy is pretty cool.
The problem comes with the "trying to make it a game" part.
The Cell stage is fine. It's a little limited in scope, but that's basically the point. It's a fairly simple introduction to some of the game's recurring concepts, and serves quite adequately as such.
The Creature stage is ok for the first 10-15 minutes, but it quickly becomes monotonous. The whole finding parts thing makes no sense and is extremely limiting. What they should have done is give you all the parts straight off the bat, but limit availability of the various part ranks at any given point depending on the brain level your creature has achieved. But of course if they did that then there would be even less gameplay then there already is.
The Tribe and Civ sections both try to be an RTS, but are so watered down as to be less challenging than a hand-holding tutorial, and just about as exciting. You could perhaps forgive the Tribe stage for this, as it is meant to be a tutorial for the Civ stage, just as the Cell stage is a tutorial for the Creature stage. There's no real excuse for the Civ stage though. That is possibly the most disappointing element of the whole game.
The Space stage is the real meat of Spore. They do some things reasonably well, but again the whole "trying to make a game out of it" thing spoils it. This stage should be an open sandbox where you can fly around and do whatever you want as a reward for progressing so far through the game. Instead, you're constantly being harassed and restricted. All I want to do is cruise around and terraform planets as I see fit, but I never get five minutes peace because the citizens of the galaxy are plagued with crises that apparently only I can resolve. It's mind-boggling that they ever managed to form sector-spanning empires in the first place without me there to babysit them. The badge idea is interesting (and I have no doubt it foreshadows the inevitable 360 port), but they limit access to the various levels of equipment for far too long. I understand the need to gradually introduce the player to new and more powerful tools, but the manner it's done in here is much too restricting. Again, what I want at this point is freedom to do things as I see fit, not be fenced in by arbitrary limitations.
What it boils down to is that Spore is quite fun for a while, but the novelty soon wears off because of the restrictions and limitations of the gameplay that is foisted on you. I think maybe they just tried to do too much. The Space stage could have been a game in itself. As such, all the sections suffered because their scope had to be kept narrow. As it stands, it seems to me like Spore is more of a technology demo than anything else. It promised quite a lot, but it hasn't really delivered, at least in terms of promise and potential, if not the hype.
[Edited by DarthParametric, 9/10/2008 7:44:36 AM]
[Edited by DarthParametric, 9/10/2008 7:44:36 AM]
Spore is like really expensive Legos. Sure, you can play with normal every day legos, but when you add sets to it, you get some truly epic creations.
I think Spore was released entirely with the idea that there will be many expansions so that they can milk it.
Plus the creation bit needs some tweaking, like if you like at how maxis built there ships and stuff, they were able to flip main objects around, where stuck with the little arrows and bubble for oreintation :/.
[Edited by borenson, 9/10/2008 7:45:35 PM]
2. i feel that little part a bit "unfinished".
you have this "OMNIPOTENT" written across your forehead, but you need to do all the little things. "kill 5 of those, because its killing the entire race", "kill those pirates/ufos, because they are stealing spice", "the grox are attacking me, help me!", and so on.
thats the reason i dont start agressive expansion and i dont ally with anybody. as soon as you are allied, you need ot keep their planets clean as well.
i WOULD populate the WHOLE galaxy over time, but i dont see me able to jump from one end of the galaxy to the other, just because they are having a pest problem on their planet.
on all other points: i like the game the way it is.
sure, you could improve on it in so many ways. but its a NEW kind of game.
look at portal.
i heard ppl talk like: "i want weapons", "why cant i shoot the turrets on my own?", "why dont i take damage from falling so deep", etc.
its a new kind of game, and you have to take it the way it is made.
if you dont like it, dont play it.
its that easy.
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