August 13, 2008

Sieging Dungeons IN SPACE!

So, as I think about it, I really must say I have mixed feelings about Space Siege, I'm not really sure what to say about it. On the one hand, I've just enjoyed playing it for the last few hours and I am itching to get back to it for a little bit before I need to get to bed. On the other hand, I think I can safely say it is my least favorite of the "Siege" games and I think it will really only appeal to a select few gamers (of which I think I gladly can say I am one). The problem is, they took the dungeon crawler formula and attempted to improve upon it by streamlining and simplifying many of the character development aspects that I think make those games so enjoyable. As a result I think more was lost than gained, but it is an ultimately dazzling and fun experience nonetheless.

Instead of picking up loot like the Helm of Courage or the Broadsword of Greater Boar's Constitution enemies drop generic "upgrade parts" which can be used to upgrade your weapons, armor, and robotic companion HR-V (pronounced "Harvey"). In addition, instead of awarding experience for slaying enemies and accomplishing objectives, skill points (which allow you to upgrade your characters skills) are awarded at specific points in the game. Weapons are received in the same way, and while I haven't gotten very far yet, there don't seem to be enough slots for the weapon set to be incredibly deep, though I would happily be mistaken. The skill tree isn't very deep and seems to allow for only very limited customization of the single avatar available to the player.

While I think it does make the game more approachable, I think that the character system is overall pretty shallow for the genre, which will alienate some of the more hardcore fans. In the end, the game has more in common with the Shadowgrounds games than the "Siege" games, though I'd say the production values are a bit better on this title (no offense, Shadowgrounds, I love you, but you're voice acting makes me cry). I enjoy the combat and using the different abilities in conjunction is fun and cool looking, I just wish the character system was a bit deeper.

The game really appeals to me, because as I have said, I love dungeon crawlers, and I also love sci-fi, and this is probably the best marriage I have seen of the the two concepts, but it feels like it could have been so much more if the developers hadn't tried to fix what wasn't really broken. I know it's dangerous to say you want something less original, but I think as far as the character system is concerned, less isn't more. I think the other original items like the cybernetic enhancements and sci-fi setting are welcome additions, and I hope that someone continues to work with this genre in this setting, even if Gas Powered Games decides to move on.

On a side note, a cursory glance at the internet has shown many people irritated by the game's controls, preferring that they be more like the Shadowgrounds controls (which are closer to an FPS controlled from a top down perspective). I just want to state that I disagree with that assessment, and think that that kind of change almost fundamentally changes the game being played, focusing even more on the "action" and less on the "RPG". I think that the fact that you can and do dodge in this game is an interesting addition, but I don't want it to be the focus of what I am doing which should be choosing targets and abilities, not dodging bullets. Just my two cents...feel free to disagree.

No comments:

Post a Comment