Not a Spore Sequel - Darkspore Preview
Don’t let the inclusion of the word “spore” fool you; Darkspore may share a few similarities with 2008’s multi-genre title by Maxis, but this is an entirely different game that falls under entirely different canon. Featuring darker tones, sci-fi themes, and action RPG gameplay, Darkspore looks to provide an engaging and varied gameplay experience on the PC when it launches early next year.
The game’s story revolves around a group of highly advanced beings who created all manner of living creatures and performed countless experiments with different types of DNA. Eventually, these beings, which are known as the Crogenitors, unleashed an evil onslaught of creatures known as the Darkspore. While this malicious race destroyed most of the Crogenitors who accidentally brought them to life, a small group survived.
This is where you come in. It is your job to take three of the survivors and help them take down the Darkspore. Each one of your three characters can have different abilities, and when you first get started with them, you have to shape them into the creatures of your liking. You can choose between five different races: the cyber race focuses on robotic attacks; bio creatures use plant-based offense; the necro type has a hankering for death and uses poison; quantum creatures are skilled in space and time maneuvers; and plasma creatures utilize fire and lightning while in battle.
Your characters fall under separate classes. Like in other action RPGs, your three main creatures can be categorized as mages and rogues, but there will also be a number of other class types in the game when it launches. Characters can perform specific actions while battling depending on their class.
You can also customize creatures aside from your main three. These hero characters can be customized and used for battles, objectives, and the usual bit of wandering that accompanies action RPGs. Maxis has stated that the character editing tool from Spore will play a big part in Darkspore. By taking different parts, you can let your inner mad scientist out to create different types of creatures. This is intriguing to say the least, and judging by what Maxis has said, it’s likely that gamers will want to spend a great amount of time creating and customizing characters.
Action RPG Gameplay
Darkspore’s gameplay has been likened to that of Diablo’s. Featuring hack-and-slash mechanics, exploration, and character stat leveling, Darkspore certainly sounds like it is being modeled after some of the more popular games in the genre. Defeating enemies yields plenty of rewards, from special items to loot. You can use whatever monetary goods you earn in battle to buy new parts, unlock new creatures, and collect special goods. You can even put your earnings on the line in challenging missions, where winning results in a bigger payout while losing leaves you empty-handed.
Like Diablo before it, Darkspore allows for competitive and cooperative online multiplayer. You can team up with other players to take on other groups or simply control an entire group to take on opponents online. Darkspore features one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three, and four-on-four modes for gamers who enjoy their online multiplayer. The game is noticeably slower than other action RPGs, but this is a gameplay design that Maxis intentionally went for to allow for strategizing. Rather than force you to think quickly under pressure, Darkspore lets you plan your attack patterns, whether you want to take on a defensive role, or whether or not you would rather just flea from battle.
You can earn victories, obtain parts for your created characters, collect loot, and attain special items in the game’s single-player mode, but playing with others reaps greater rewards. Maxis has stressed their enthusiasm regarding Darkspore’s multiplayer, and they have gone as far as to say that playing cooperatively with others to take on rival groups is a big part of what the Darkspore experience is all about.
Darkspore Preview - Spore Meets Diablo
With its robust character customization options, strategically paced action RPG gameplay, and modern gameplay elements, Darkspore definitely looks like a promising title. Action RPG fans who enjoy creating and customizing creatures should watch out for this one. Darkspore launches on the PC in February 2011.