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Spore: Galactic Adventures review

Troubled
AT A GLANCE
  • Creating missions is almost fun
  • Some good missions will be made eventually
  • Gives Spore-addicts more to do
  • New missions are short and bad
  • Mission creation cripples creativity
  • Exorbitant cost for nothing worthy of play

Spore needed this. When the species you designed in the original game finally took to space, it found a frighteningly huge galaxy, but one without much real variety. The chunky planets and demented species were visually distinct but functionally equivalent. The idea that in Spore: Galactic Adventures, these planets could host little player-crafted adventures for you to beam down to and complete was perfect: different stuff to do with the different stuff to look at.

Unfortunately though, Galactic Adventures fails honkingly on every level. The manual claims you’ll encounter player-made missions in the Space phase, but this never happened to us. Every one of the dozens we played were Maxis-made. These missions are few, short and bad. Player-made adventures are confined to the Sporepedia browser – which is still malfunctioning, awkward and slow. Thousands of missions have been made at the time of writing, but even the most popular are glitchy, ugly and dull.

Creating your own mission is the closest Adventures gets to fun. You can edit a whole planet, placing creatures, buildings and vehicles as you like, adding script objectives just by dragging them into the world. Kill this, collect that, give one of those to them. But it’s crippled in two ways. Firstly, you can’t create ‘if’ conditions, so players have no choice. They just have to do everything you tell them to, every time.

Secondly, there’s a level-up system for your captain. That's a good thing: you earn new weapons and gadgets by completing missions, making you better in combat or letting you fly, sneak or socialise even if your species can’t. But because mission designers have no idea which of these abilities and weapons your captain has, they must either make missions that don’t require them or missions that most players can’t complete. Sadly, most have gone for the latter.

It’s never wise to underestimate Spore players, of course – remarkable missions will be made. But Galactic Adventures seems to be doing its best to cripple their creativity, exile their work to a ghetto of the sluggish Sporepedia, and saddle them with design challenges even Will Wright would struggle to overcome.

If Spore’s combat had been fun, or its social minigame interesting, it might have been worth wrestling past these claustrophobic limitations, or waiting for the community to do so. As it is, there’s still some entertainment in designing a cool planet, filling it with your favourite creatures and scripting a simple journey. But if a game’s going to cost more that bargain-bin price and take three sodding minutes to start up, it needs to offer much more than that.

Jul 22, 2009

More Info

Release date: Jun 23 2009 - PC (US)
Jun 26 2009 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Maxis
Franchise: Spore
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence
PEGI Rating:
12+

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6 comments

  • Doomwaffle - July 23, 2009 2:41 a.m.

    It is truly a love or hate game.
  • VMPSaberwolf - July 29, 2009 6:22 p.m.

    I was disappointed with Spore in the first place, this doesn't surprise me. Trying to polish a terd with an expansion only results in continuing to be a crappy product.
  • jar-head - July 24, 2009 3:40 a.m.

    Almost fun...
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 23, 2009 4:39 p.m.

    "why are you guys reviewing the dlc as a new game?" Maybe they're reviewing it as an expansion? Idk... it is a bit weird but neva mind. I knew they were guna give more coverage to DLC but i remember them saying in their podcast that they would NOT be scoring it... must have had a change of heart.
  • speno93 - July 23, 2009 8:59 a.m.

    we can only hope that Maxis do something to improve this, pity though i was actually quite interested in this
  • Cyberninja - July 22, 2009 10:30 p.m.

    why are you guys reviewing the dlc as a new game?

Showing 1-6 of 6 comments

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