Saturday, 28 May 2011

Darkspore In-depth Review

From the makers of the best-selling game The Sims, Maxis has moved into a whole new direction with Darkspore. The name is slightly misleading as Darkspore has no real connection with Maxis' last release "Spore". Instead the game is orientated more towards a hack 'n' slash genre quite similar to Diablo. It's a decent effort by Maxis but some elements feel out of place.

Customisation galore!
It's the level of flexibility and customisation that shines; it's probably the definitive feature that makes it stand out from other Diablo-clones. You can create a unique slant on a standardised creature from the very beginning. There are various colours and visual options for your hero. There is also a huge amount of versatility in armour and weapons; there will simple be nobody who has the exact same customisation as you. You even have the option of switching between three characters throughout your journey. It's quite reminiscent of Pokemon, I can almost hear Ash shouting in the background "Go Pikachu!"... Not only does this make the gameplay ever-changing but it also makes it even more flexible.

The graphics are simply top-notch. The visuals are smooth and stunning. Moreover the sci-fi setting brings a sense of freshness to a genre which is almost dominated by medieval dungeons, castles and other traditional fantasy settings.

Colourful atmosphere
The storyline, however, is quite basic to say the least. There are some interesting concepts here, but they are poorly executed. Most of the time your AI is simply telling snapshots of background information pertinent to your current mission. It's not a very engaging method. You never interact with your AI or any of the other creatures thus the storyline feels bland. This is definitely the game's weakest department. The game's storyline just doesn't develop after the opening scenes.

On the other hand, gameplay is better than the storyline: it's fast-paced and enthralling. You battle through hordes of creatures and receive lots of rewards like with any dungeon-crawler. The reward system is extremely addictive and makes you want more everytime. Not only that, but Darkspore's major feature is the ability to unlock and customise twenty-five heroes. Each of your classes can be heavily customised in the aesthetics department as mentioned before and each class possesses four unique abilities. This makes it essential to strategise which three creatures you take in battle. The actual combat system is quite simple yet enjoyable which makes it approachable for even the most casual of players. Another positive attribute is its multiplayer option. It does make the game a lot more exciting when playing with other people as the game's levels feel extremely similar each time albeit the scenery.

Straightforward combat
Overall, the game does possess some positive qualities. The depth of customisation will keep anybody entertained and the simple battle system is great for the most casual of players. However the poor execution of the plot and the repetitiveness of each level conveys Maxim's inexperience in this genre.

7/10

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