The Harvest Moon Consortium

A NeverWinterNights Guild and Player community

This Forum encompasses reviews and discussions of new games

Darkspore review by Winterhawk

Postby Winterhawk99 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:54 am

You might have noticed I've been missing in action awhile. I was honored to be able to participate in Beta testing of a new game made by EA called Darkspore. Darkspore debuted today and I am able to provide for you a synopsis and review of the game.

Darkspore is a game derived from the game Spore which you may have played in the past. I have never played Spore so hopefully I can give you an unbiased review.

Darkspore starts centuries after a galactic war in some universe. A race called Progenitors created champion mutants to protect them. One of these progenitors created a new type of DNA called E-DNA to make these champions more powerful, however the E-DNA was unstable and turned their champions into monsters called Darkspore. These Darkspore made war with the progenitor race killing or driving them off into ships with cryo-statis. A computer program called Helix was interconnected to the cryo-ships with the job to find a way to make E-DNA stable enough to use on the champions without turning them into darkspore. Once this was done Helix would awaken the remaining progenitors to take back their galaxy.

You start as a progenitor working with three of your champions. As you gain in level as a progenitor you are able to awaken more champions and teams of champions guiding them to different planets to eliminate the darkspore threat.
CTP team member
http://www.harvestmoonconsortium.com
Chief cook and bottle washer for Harvest Moon
User avatar
 
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:00 am
Location: Pa.
Offline

Re: Darkspore review by Winterhawk

Postby Winterhawk99 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:07 am

Game play

The game itself is a hack/slash themed rpg. You troll the galaxy going to different planetary systems to defeat the darkspore and move on to the next. Each place you go to lets you control one avatar champion in a team of three. You can switch back and forth between the three avatars, as you find different enemy to fight. You as a progenitor level up as you work your way across the different planetary systems. Your various teams level up by adding items to them you collect as you explore different planets.

You travel from floating islands of land surrounding a giant black hole to steamy jungles and swamps of a forgotten planet to and arctic wasteland where pools of lava explode around you, The environments are extreme some can add to the danger in the form of poisons plants, exploding lava geysers and arctic machines that disperse cold blasts of ice. At each major system as you progress the environmental dangers get ever greater.

Playing is done on the Darkspore server. There are three modes of play Campaign(single player), Team cooperative where you can join with up to three other players to play and area cooperatively, and PVP with up to three other players. I concentrated on the Campaign mode to better look at graphics, sound and game play.

The game play and sever connections are tight and fairly simple. The camera is stationary with zooming ability. As the Avatar moves through the area it remains centered unless a teleportation ability or similar is used then the camera moves making the avatar the center again. Each avatar has 2 active base abilities plus an extra that can be used by all three on the team depending on the power bar.

You have two basic stats. Health and power both represented by bars readily handy and easily seen. Your ability’s are accessed by the number keys.

Once you've gone down to a planet and successfully completed a mission there are three features you can use to level up your avatars and edit them. The in game editor gives you the ability to alter the look of each avatar and place items you collected or bought in the the store. You also have a place to change members of teams and rearrange them. There's an in game store to buy weapons and general upgrades for your avatars.

There are five types of champions. Bio champions that use specialized bio attacks like poison. Cyber champions are enhanced robots that use energy like weapons. Necro champions are mutated creatures that can throw fear into an enemy and drain their life force. There are Plasma champions that use elemental forces such as lightning and fireballs destroying the enemy, and also Temporal champions that use gravity and time to disrupt and hurt enemy hordes. They are well balanced against each other, but be forewarned they take double damage from darkspore that use the same abilities. Each champion gets a weapon. The weapons range from guns that throw poison balls, light saber like swords to titanium claws. Each Champion has a specific kind of weapon all their own. Some will be distance shooters while others are in your face melee specialist. So no matter your style of play you can find a set of champions to fit your play style.

I especially enjoyed playing blitz a lizard like creature with long titanium claws, a melee fighter that can ride lightning to teleport and stun hostiles. I also liked playing Andromeda a temporal champion with a spear that shoots and hits. She has the special abilities to lift and slam darkspore to the ground and call pieces of comet down from the heavens to wipe out lesser darkspore.


The Good Things

Scripting and Server connections are tight.
Stats are Simple and easily referenced in play
Editor is extremely versatile giving you the ability to make your champions very unique

The Bad Things

Movement is completely by mouse (very tiring to the index finger)
No quick bars for abilities you have to use the number keys
Camera is stationary with no ability to turn your perspective from above the avatar
CTP team member
http://www.harvestmoonconsortium.com
Chief cook and bottle washer for Harvest Moon
User avatar
 
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:00 am
Location: Pa.
Offline

Re: Darkspore review by Winterhawk

Postby Winterhawk99 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:28 am

Graphics

Graphics of the game are technically tight. The avatars are generally low poly models with adjustable parts in the editor. Geometry is simple but more advanced than NWN. They are not as advanced as Assassins Creed, Dragon Age Origins or other games of the like. Generally they look good if a little dated. There are a lot of VFX effects along with Alpha placeables. One of the pleasant surprises I found is in exploring avatar abilities I found some z-axis control in the game. One avatar in particular, Andromeda, has the ability to pick darkspore up and slam them to the ground showing the z-axis control in the game. The textures tend to be more cartoonish than realistic with drastic differences in color scheme. Good for picking up enemy not so good for the immersion quality of the game. VFX Effects tend to be dramatic especially for critical hits. Environments do differ greatly between sections of the game. Shadows are rare, but when you do see shadows they correspond with the layout of the areas.

The Good things.

Models and areas are well build with no sparklies or hanging vertexes
low polygon structure fits with a large server for less stress
Backgrounds have good definition
Editor is extremely versatile for customizing your champions

The bad things

Too many alpha textures can be tedious to the eyes
The overall look is a bit dated for a game coming out in 2011
VFX effects can be overly dramatic
Immersion quality of the game is lessened by the graphics at times.
CTP team member
http://www.harvestmoonconsortium.com
Chief cook and bottle washer for Harvest Moon
User avatar
 
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:00 am
Location: Pa.
Offline

Re: Darkspore review by Winterhawk

Postby Winterhawk99 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:42 am

Storyline

Storyline is very simple. Each avatar has a background and there is a reason for you to be hoping around the galaxy to different planetary systems. This is a dedicated Hack/Slash rpg so a long story is not what you would expect. It would be nice to see some individual quests and questing areas for each champion(avatar) however, The game is what it is. It functions nicely for its environment. I find generally for the type of game it is; the story is good.

Over all

If you are a power gamer, love to hack/slash or occasionally like to vegetate killing everything in sight and collecting treasure as I do. I highly recommend this game. If you are heavy into story-lines and role playing I would not recommend it. Generally I found it enjoyable while testing and giving feedback to the developers. It's not a game to play everyday but in small doses can give you lots of hours of fun and enjoyment.
CTP team member
http://www.harvestmoonconsortium.com
Chief cook and bottle washer for Harvest Moon
User avatar
 
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:00 am
Location: Pa.
Offline


 

Return to Reviews


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron