Space is a very large, dark place. Thousands of planets and stars exist in its dark, cold embrace. Surely there must be a planet out there that has a highly advanced alien race that is, dare I say it, friendly to the human race?
Space Siege, developed by Gas Powered Games, is a play on words of their previous game Dungeon Siege, save for the fact that it takes place… in… you know… Space. The action role playing game puts you in the shoes of Seth Walker. He is one of the few remaining humans alive after an alien race called the Kerak destroyed not only every other human settlement in space, but Earth as well. Things don’t seem to be looking all that great.
Giving up your humanity
Possibly the most interesting feature of the game is its plot-line in which a moral dilemma is thrown in Seth’s direction. He is given the choice of using cybernetic implants to make himself stronger, and thus better repel the Kerak attack on the preciously few remaining humans -or- staying ‘pure’ and upgrade his robot buddy with better weapons and armor. It is up to the player to make the choice for Seth and if you elect to have him stay pure for the whole game, an incredible bonus is offered to you. But can you survive that long?
Cybernetic enhancements come in a range of categories. Some alterations are done to the head and increase the odds of getting a critical hit by replacing the brain (literally). Arm enhancements allow the player to wield the heaviest weapons such as the chaingun and gauss cannon. Spine enhancements increase health and leg enhancements improve your speed. As you can see, there are very convincing arguments to go the cybernetic route.
Odd mix of weapons
That’s all well and good, but you can’t shoot the Kerak with your cybernetically enhanced arm now can you? You can try, but it may be smarter to go with the wide variety of weapons at your disposal. Common guns such as Submachine guns and Shotguns are okay but we have seen them before. The fun starts when the game introduces gravity traps that suck enemies in a certain radius into itself and keep them from moving. Also entertaining are the numerous drones that seek out enemies and explode upon contact. Others circle around you and provide cover fire. Tactical action plays a key role in the game. In order to succeed you must not only use your robot buddy as backup during attacks, but set up ambushes and use cover wisely.
Aside from blasting holes in aliens, Seth can also interact with the crew members of his ship, The Armstrong. Communications officer Gina Reynolds is firmly against using cybernetics. She is a valuable member of the crew so you may not want to be on her bad side. If the cybernetic side is luring though, you can look up Dr. Edward Desoto who was one of the foremost cybernetic surgeons on Earth before it got destroyed. Between fellow soldiers, and doctors that are on opposite sides of the ‘should you - should you not’ cybernetic debate, you will always have someone to talk to. Though if you want real companionship, you can always hook up with 4 other people online and play through one of the online multiplayer modes.
Enemy designs are intriguing. One moment you are shooting crab-like monstrosities, the next you are battling against something that can only be described as a oversized hedgehog. Neither of these are what you would expect from meeting aliens in space, and that accurately describes Space Siege: a game that steers away from what is expected from other games in the Action RPG genre.
With the reputation of the guys who brought you Dungeon Siege, Space Siege has all it needs to become a hit. A fresh location, interesting story, and a cool robot buddy, Space Siege will hit stores with a bang in third quarter 2008. Who knows, by then maybe we will find a friendly alien in real life too!