9/24/2008

Legendary Game : Spore (part II)

Part I

Civilization Phase can be quite challenging because you have to capture the entire planet. You start off by designing the city, the factories, the houses as well as the combat vehicles. I designed my very own Metal Gear Spore and a Spore 22 Raptor as well as my favorite -- the Sea Santa. These vehicles are necessary to acquire Spice, which is the main currency. Spice can be found gushing out of land and sea. You have to plan out your city, which includes creating a house and factory model in the editor.


Building a house increases the vehicle cap, while building factories increases the revenue. It's up to you to keep a balance of both and make a profitable empire. Once you have enough resources, you need to start capturing cities. Every new city you capture will unlock a new feature. You will eventually be able to create sea and air vehicles, which are absent at the start. Capturing new cities also unlocks various super weapons including one which nukes all the other cities. The city planning and resource management aspect of the civilization phase is quite addictive; you want to advance fast and nuke even faster.


At the end of the civilization stage and depending on your choices, your species will now have enough economic and/or muscle power to develop space technology and you set out to find other sentient beings in the vast universe of Spore. It's fairly easy to go from a single-celled organism to a dominant space-fairing species, in a matter of three to four hours.

The final frontier


The Space Phase starts off with you building a spaceship. You use the spaceship to scout your planet, learn about the various creatures, and do some simple tasks to get used to the controls and so on. One of the tasks includes tractor-beaming up a creature and bringing him to any of the cities: reminiscent of the time you were the creature. Your progress during the space stage is significantly slowed down; the ultimate goal is to travel to the center of the universe.


In Space stage you can explore other planets, some of which are created by other users, interact with their creatures and lean more about them. The space phase is vast and you can explore the 500000+ planets in the game's galaxy. A user-created planet and its AI borrows traits off its creator's style of play: if the creator is aggressive, the AI will be aggressive. You can make allies like in the tribal phase or launch an inter-galactic war. The Space Phase is never ending; you can keep exploring deeper and deeper, and keep interacting with the ever increasing world of Spore.


Up until this point, Spore is dominantly about playing an architect and you'll likely spend the bulk of your time within the cleverly crafted creation tools. Once you enter the space stage however, it begins to feel more like a game and also compels you to drastically rethink your strategy. This brings us to the difficulty balance of the game.


To test the game mechanics, I experimented with different levels of aggression. One of my creatures was an aggressive carnivore and I found the going got really tough at the civilization stage of the game. Alternatively, I created an herbivore creature that befriended, impressed and bought off others to breeze into the space stage of evolution. Maybe it's just me, but I found that my passive ways forced me to be submissive to the more aggressive species of the universe. With limited military might, our economic dominance at the home planet offered little help to counter the opposing forces of the universe. Running helter-skelter between fighting off raiding space pirates, retaliating against aggressive species, and preventing biological disasters -- my aspiring space marine found little time to do what I wanted -- peacefully explore, colonize and build inter- planetary trade routes. At this stage, you do have a choice to refit or upgrade your spacecraft with more destructive force, but I was disappointed to find myself in a situation where I was forced to take a certain path.

Part III

1 comments:

Tina said...

Spore sounds like my sort of game. i like all stuff like that were you have to manage everything and get involved. cool review