by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
Spore launched to an enthusiastic public, selling millions of copies to fans that had been looking forward to playing Will Wright’s weird but wonderful concept for years. For core gamers, the game turned out to be somewhat disappointing. While Spore’s creator-tools were nothing short of amazing, the actual gameplay was lacking in depth. Not to be deterred, Electronic Arts set out to improve upon this, creating an expansion pack that will likely please both core and casual gamer alike: Spore Galactic Adventures.
Whereas Spore focused on creating objects and creatures, Galactic Adventures promises to bring the same freedom to create your own stories and adventures and share them with fellow Spore players. Creating your own adventures is almost as easy as creating objects and creatures in the original game. You can either use existing objects and creatures or design some new ones especially for the adventure that you are creating. With these objects, you can piece together a story or mini-game using simple ‘scripting’ tools that have more in common with stacking up Lego blocks than actual programming. Once your adventure is created, you simply save it to make it available in your game. Similar to sharing your creations in the original Spore, you can submit your adventures to the immense online Spore database so that other gamers can play, admire and rate your work.
Adventuring, the Spore way
Galactic Adventures become an integral part of the fun and familiar Spore gameplay after you enter the space portion of the game. More than ever before, your space captain becomes your representation in the game. New adventures are found in the newly introduced Spaceport Hub where space-faring species meet up for a laugh, a drink and -more importantly- to discuss jobs. Talking to Non-Player Characters, you can find out what jobs they have to offer and select the ones that pique your interest. Once you have agreed to a job it is time to find the right planet, beam down your captain and start the mission.
Once beamed down, the game turns into a Third Person Action Adventure. Approaching or attacking a creature is done by clicking on it. Interacting is done in a similar fashion to how it is done in the pre-civilization stages by using the on-screen action buttons. While this doesn’t give you the same freedom as ‘real’ Third-Person games, it does keep the new gameplay elements intuitive and familiar. The characteristics of your creatures carry over into the Spore Galactic Adventuresgameplay and can even be enhanced during play. Yep, you read that right, Spore Galactic Adventuresis a Role-Playing Game in disguise. Fulfilling missions, your captain levels up and gets access to better equipment that may aid him in future missions. You can even make some cash! Now, if that doesn’t please core gamers, I don’t know what will. Adventures can take you to pretty much anywhere on a planet’s surface, and below. It is entirely possible to create underground missions, and I can’t wait for the first Spore-based dungeon crawler to appear.
Delivering the promise
I loved Spore for its incredible achievement with the creation tools and the fun and diverse gameplay. But in the end, I was one of those who lost interest in the game due to the lack of depth. Spore Galactic Adventureslooks to deliver upon Spore’s original promise, and then some. With this in mind, I will surely return to Spore to seek not only conquest but adventure as well.