Giant Bomb Review

43 Comments

Space Siege Review

3
  • PC

This click-happy sci-fi dungeon crawler is neither aggressively bad nor especially remarkable. In other words, it's OK.

Do you like loot? Then Space Siege might be for you. If you have an insatiable lust for items with higher stats than...


Wait, no, that was Too Human.


Clickclickclickclickclickclick...
Space Siege is a game that looks like it revolves around the endless pursuit of dropped weapons and armor with a wide range of stats. It has all the earmarks. It's played from a top-down perspective. It sends you crawling through endless same-looking dungeons (sci-fi spaceship dungeons, anyway). It has you clicking to move, clicking to attack, clicking to...well, do just about anything. In the grand tradition of games like Diablo, Titan Quest, and Nox, you'd expect--and more importantly, want--every downed enemy in Space Siege to dispense some kind of Fearless Laser Rifle of the Vanguard, or something.


But the game is more simplistic than that. Enemies don't drop specific loot-style items. Instead, they all bleed a generic form of currency called upgrade parts that you can cash in at a workbench (basically a vendor station) located next to each save point. This is where you access basic common character upgrades like health, crit chance, armor rate, attack speed, and so on. You don't earn experience points and gain levels like in a traditional RPG, so this is the only way to advance your character's basic attributes.


In lieu of ubiquitous, scrumptious loot, there are only 10 fixed weapons that are parceled out to you at set points in the storyline, and you can use upgrade points to further improve the stats on these. Strangely, the weapons don't always become more powerful in the order you acquire them. More than once I picked up a new weapon to find it actually had worse stats than the one I was already using, even after upgrades, so I just stuck with the old one. But these games are all about finding shiny new toys and laying waste with them, so only getting to use about half the weapons for any real length of time was unsatisfying.


There's also a skill tree with only two paths--combat and engineering--and you're free to pick and choose skills between the two as you go. Again, you only get a specific number of skill points at predetermined places in the story, so you can't really dabble in both trees if you want to specialize in the better skills at the end of either of them.


There's just not much depth in the role-playing here.

With no classes, such limited customization options, and the total absence of delicious loots, the character-building in Space Siege ended up feeling shallower than I would have liked. The game also got way too easy by the end. Since I'd maxed out my dude and weapons with my surplus of points, and gained a number of overly powerful abilities, I dominated the last few bosses and breezed through to the ending unopposed.


The game's premise isn't bad. A couple of centuries hence, humanity's spacefaring has stepped on the toes of a crab-like alien race called the Kerak. Taking great offense, they've come to eradicate our species and destroy Earth. You're a soldier on the lone colony ship to escape the Kerak's brutal invasion, but you wake up from a few weeks in cryosleep to find that a single enemy pod has breached your ship's hull and flooded its interior with aliens. Now you need to kill them all, and deal with any other "surprise" opponents thrown your way over the course of the game as well. (Hint: the appearance of those other opponents isn't a huge surprise.)


The story moves along at a brisk enough pace, but it also uses some similar plot devices as--and in a couple of cases, blatantly lifts identical plot points from--games like F.E.A.R., System Shock 2, and Doom 3, which ultimately made me feel like I'd seen most of this before. The endgame is also disjointedly paced and leads to a rather abrupt, unsatisfying climax.


Coincidentally, Space Siege does share one aspect with Too Human: the ability to make use of performance-enhancing cybernetic upgrades that come with a vague warning about the questionable wisdom of sacrificing one's humanity to become a raging badass. These warnings don't translate into alternate gameplay incentives, though. The cyborg replacements for your arm, legs, chest, spine, eye and even brain all come with significant combat bonuses that are hard to resist, and the game doesn't really give you a reason to resist them, other than exactly two skills on the tree that require you to be almost fully human. (Compare those meager two to at least a dozen useful skills that demand you do take the upgrades.) There are three endings in the game based mostly on whether or not you want to install all the cyborg gear, but they're all equally short and lousy and in no way justify missing out on those buffs and skills. I ended up using every cyborg upgrade without blinking.


The only good bug is a dead bug.

There are a couple of neat aspects worth mentioning. Early on you pick up a capable combat robot called HR-V (read: Harvey) that you can control almost as extensively as you can your own character. HR-V gets its own skills and commands, so you're practically controlling two characters at the same time, and the scrappy little bot can get you out of a tight spot occasionally. He's just as good at getting himself killed, though. Also, somebody left tons of explosive barrels and canisters lying all around your ship, and the game has a nice physics model that sends objects flying every which way when you cause a lot of explosions with these. I stopped a few times just to blow up a room full of boxes even after all the enemies were dead.


Space Siege is genuinely fun for a while, but at some point in the dozen-or-so-hour campaign it became more tedious than entertaining, and I just wished there was more depth in the mechanics to hold my interest. A couple of glaring omissions didn't help matters, such as cooperative play integrated into the campaign (it's instead relegated to a series of unrelated one-off missions, launched from a really clumsy external application, that don't really go anywhere) and the ability to remap your controls at all, which, just...well, that speaks for itself. With quality dungeon crawlers like Titan Quest now going for bargain-bin prices, and Diablo III threatening to redefine this specific genre in the relatively near future, Space Siege is hard to recommend at its full asking price, but it's entertaining enough for hardcore fans of this kind of game, if you can find it at a reasonable discount.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
43 Comments
Posted by Claude

That's a no buy in my book.

Posted by Paul

I am so not interested in this game... This review just confirms my "bleh" feeling. Nice job, Brad.

Posted by cinders

the 'siege' series has been going downhill since the first one...oh well...totally agree on Titan Quest though, that game had me hooked.

Posted by Jok3r

Never even heard of this game... BUT Games for windows FTW! i love being able to use my xbox live gamertag on the computer.

Posted by Cry0Tek

Maybe this is why I've never heard of this series. I tend to not play "just ok" games. :P

Posted by LordAndrew

It's not Games for Windows - LIVE, so I wouldn't count any any Xbox Live fuctionality.

Online
Posted by ryanwho

A game like Too Human gets pretty lukewarm without the drama and hype, ey? That's the lesson here. If only that POS could have come and gone as quietly as this game will.

Posted by Artie

I didn't even know this game existed until they talked about it on the Bombcast.

Posted by Buccura

I say wait till it comes down to 19.99.

Posted by Kontrapunkt

The box looks like an old PC game from the 90's.

Posted by Jok3r

It IS a game for windows, it says so right there. Just because it doesn't have mutliplayer doesn't exclude it from live functionality. I assume it has achievements (like all other games for windows) and you can look at your friends list i guess.

Posted by Roosterfeet

"I say wait till it comes down to 19.99."

Or you could try Shadowgrounds.  http://shadowgroundsgame.com

Posted by Zergvasion

Yet another game added to the "to be pirated" list.
Crysis Warhead and Spore shall remain off of that list. At least, for me.

Posted by Knigge

I was interested until I heard about the lack of depth, story and rpg wise. Sad panda.

Posted by Milkman

@Jok3r
Not all games released on Windows are compatible with Windows Live. A matter fact, not many games released on Windows support Windows Live. Space Siege does not.

Posted by RuneMaster

Too Human, with its original universe, badass music, and balanced role-playing aspects, is a godsend compared to this crap.  And yet they got the same Giant Bomb score?  Just shows you how much development love SK put into their title and how much it is misunderstood.  It's a shame some people just don't  "get" this genre, ARPG.  They're missing out!

Posted by AZ123

Brad, your cartoon of yourself looks smeared/stretched on the right side.

Posted by Zergvasion

RuneMaster = Denis Dyack?

Posted by Smersh

I loved the original Dungeon Seige when it came out, mainly because the demo they released was like 4hrs long and had me hooked. Any1 know if there's a space seige demo available? I'd give it a chance aslong as it's nothing like Dungeon Seige 2 though, ...yikes!

Posted by Milkman

@RuneMaster

Misunderstood? Please. Too Human is an "alright" game. Simple as that, there is nothing to be understood.

Posted by CraigAA1028

I love Brads cartoon face. Looks like he's saying "Sup".

Posted by Chocobo_Blitzer

I wish I had two mouths.

Posted by GalvanizedNails

This sounds kinda cool to me, but ill wait for a price drop

Posted by zityz

I'll just stick to Titans Quest, which I think, is a damn amazing game.( at least until d3 comes out :) )

Posted by eduardo

Nox was awesome, glad to see a fellow Nox fan!

Posted by 4D

sega is doing pc now O_o

Posted by Bumbuliuz

I tried the demo, wasnt that impressed.

Posted by SpencerBoltz

so, no poke?

Posted by MrMiyagi

The demo wasn't great.

Posted by mrhankey

i may grab it next summer when its cost is about, oh, $20

Posted by ThomasP

I guess I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the heads up Shoemaker.

Posted by VoidPresence

I too loved the original Dungeon Siege when it came out, but DS2 was HUGELY disappointing, ie...the graphics were just HORRIBLE (how can a sequel have worse graphics than the original?  refer to dungeon siege).
As for this one, I may pick it up when it hits the bargain bin, but otherwise it's a no-buy, especially for my budget (which has been hoarded by Spore)

Posted by giyanks22

4 letter word rent....

Posted by Anuebis

That's too bad this one falls short too, that and Too Human.  Bummer for action/rpg fans

Posted by SoulTaker

Still not getting this game, but none the less great review.

Posted by Godzilla_Sushi

Sounds click-tastic.

Blowin' up this summer!

Posted by IceCold

It's definitely just a so-so game. Nothing horrid, nothing amazing. I'll wait til she hits the bargain bin.

Posted by Miningguyx360

id rent this game but its for the PC

Posted by Schizoid

I'll pick this up if I can find it for the right price, sounds alright.

Posted by Platitude

Your Nox reference made me think about this- Instead of games like this, I want more Nox.

Posted by fidgetwidget

I wonder when a good game became a POS in everyone's minds (I am referring to only some of the commentators and not the reviewer)? There are plenty of games that have had poor reviews that many people have whole heatedly enjoyed, and the other way round. Also, in no way is a 3 star rating a POS people.
I am nearly at the end of this game, and I have enjoyed my time with it. I'd also give it a 3 star rating (maybe a 3.5), but I would still recommend it to people who I know have enjoyed this type of game.

Can we get the stick out of our ass that makes us no different than the pricks of the world who insult people for enjoying something that they deem uncool?

Posted by deadgopher

@Roosterfeet

Yeah, I agree ... I kept looking at these screenshots and saying to myself, "Shadowgrounds Survivor looks better than this, probably plays better, and I got both games for $15."

Meh. I'll try a demo but I'd rather play more Castle Crashers.

Posted by vash47

@Zerginvasion

You are what's wrong with the games industry:

"A game to be pirated"

What an asshole, way to support the developers.