An evolution in gaming? I hardly think so.
Spore, the next game by Sims creator Will Wright and development studio Maxis, has finally made itself into players’ hands after much hype and numerous delays. Despite all the ambition behind this game’s ideas, I was disappointed when I booted it up and started playing. The ideas promised by the developers fell short of the ideal, and what I played seemed like a mutated, lesser counterpart. This creature evolution simulator did little to enthrall me, and no amount of cute, googly-eyed creatures could win my heart back.
The game features five unique stages: Cell, Creature, Tribe, Civilization and Space. Every stage sports their own play style and all of them felt like watered-down versions of better games. On top of that, each stage had little to do with the previous one. For example, the Creature Stage played like an online role-playing game whereas the Tribe Stage played like a real-time strategy game. The game readily insisted I forget everything I learned rather than presenting smooth transitions between stages. It’s as if I sat through an entire lecture only to have my professor rip my notes as class ended.
If there’s anything Spore does right, it’s the execution of its creation tools. Making creatures, vehicles and buildings was fun and addicting; it’s just a shame that I had to suffer through mediocre gameplay to get the most out of it. Seeing these creations come to life is gratifying, and sharing them with my friends or complete strangers invigorated my sessions a small degree. That said, the lack of multiplayer modes is quite baffling since this game is tailor-made for those kinds of features. Spore doesn’t necessarily need multiplayer, but it would have benefitted greatly with its inclusion.
Simply put, I found Spore a bore. I can’t imagine casual gamers having fun during the later stages nor can I imagine hardcore gamers enduring the mind-numbing simplicity. This game certainly pushes the boundaries of creativity and innovation; just don’t expect engaging experiences when it comes time to play it.