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Spore - Spore

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

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  • Recommended by TR
Spore

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

What really makes Spore special, however, is its potential for creativity. This is at its most obvious in the Creature phase where you'll find yourself tweaking and recolouring your creature every time it breeds, but it works throughout the phases. In a way, the Cell and Creature phases remind me of Gran Turismo in terms of the cycle of reward and upgrade, not to mention in the way you'll also take an aesthetic pride in how good (or nasty) your creature looks. When you get to the Tribal and Civilization phases, however, you're still creating, whether it's a suitable outfit, a national anthem, the tanks and planes that you'll send in to invade or the towers, homes and factories that will shelter your citizens.

The tools with which you'll do all this are easily the best I've ever seen within a game. It's no exaggeration to say that anyone with a mental age of 10 or over could produce decent looking buildings or vehicles by dragging and dropping the simple primitives provided, and the program handles all the complex bits like the joints, intersections and skinning. It's a joy to create a new city hall or retro rocket plane, and Maxis has hit a superb balance between giving you enough variables to create something distinctive and not giving you so many that you feel overwhelmed.

This is important, because another truly impressive thing about Spore is the way it handles player content. Spore was designed to get everybody – not just the hardcore few – creating and sharing. Unless you choose to play offline your content is automatically propagated to other Spore players, and their content will automatically sneak its way into your games. You don't even have to think about it, and the result is that you'll encounter an endless variety of creatures, cultures and objects, and you'll never know from one game to the next what wonders you'll encounter.

Behind the scenes there are some fairly sophisticated tools to subscribe to or ban content from specific users, plus options to comment on other people's efforts or accept comments on yours from them. It's content sharing, but it's not in your face. It's great.

Of course, there are niggles, and each phase has its share. I may be corrected, but at the moment I can only find one save slot per planet and there's no way of backtracking to an earlier stage if you find you've made a fundamental error. In the Civilization phase there's no way I can find of loading ground vehicles onto naval vessels for transport overseas, while gathering food in the Tribal phase can take up a little too much of your time and effort. Still, overall the construction is impeccable.

Matt 4

September 9, 2008, 7:06 pm

Surprised you have not commented on the horrendous SecuROM DRM in this game - three reinstalls and you're out. Enough to stop me buying.





They also seem to have dumbed it down a lot since the early teasers.

Eggypump

September 10, 2008, 7:39 am

I consider myself both a die-hard RTS player and a bit of a gaming veteran (just runed 40; 1st computer was a ZX81 :D) and I love Spore.





It was such a tearing moment having to leave creature stage to enter tribal: the dances, the singing, the fights... all great fun.





Recommended: book some time off from work/family/life, you'll need it.

Brian White

September 16, 2008, 10:19 am

Great game. Right now it's very easy but that is only because I am playing it on the easy settings. I'm sure it will get much harder on normal and hard. Highly recommend it. Once you get to space it is literally breathtaking!

Darfuria

September 25, 2008, 3:53 pm

I was honestly let down by the graphics :/





Cell stage was beautiful, after that it just seemed like they gave up.

Keithe6e

September 25, 2008, 4:04 pm

@Matt re DRM, thanks for pointing that out. Did the reviewer miss this bit?. I was thinking of buying this game, good job you pointed it out. Stuart, I think your rating really needs knocking down because of this, if these sort of DRM tactics are used for future PC games, I've a feeling it will be the death of the PC as a gaming machine. And like pointed out a trillion times now, DRM doesn't stop hackers, {knocks head against wall in disarray}.

smeghead

September 27, 2008, 11:04 pm

Quite a compact review there I thought. I realise that with just 3 minutes you're not going to cover a game like spore, but Hugo's delivery felt a bit rushed to be honest. If it were any faster he'd turn into Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation!





Also, shame for not mentioning the DRM thing. Especially as the last point in the review was "I can think of no reason not to go out right now and buy it"... I CAN!!!

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