Darkpsore has built upon all the features gamers loved in Spore's Creature Creator and then added a new dimension: space combat and missions. It should be noted that Darkspore is not a sequel to Spore, nor is it an expansion. It's an action-RPG that uses Spore’s character creation features as a jumping off point to create an entirely different experience.
Darkspore has been modeled to be Diablo in space. Instead of dungeons, players will navigate across planets. Each world has its own unique enemies, terrain, and sub-plot. These sub-plots are designed to take 15-20 minutes to complete. The game's developers wanted to make sure the game was as accessible as possible for many types of gamers. People don't always have the amount of time needed to go on four-hour raids, so it was important to make sure the game could accommodate players with time restraints. At the same time, the developers know many gamers do have time, so the ability to string together smaller missions to make giant scale missions has been added for those gamers. as well The computer rewards gamers for their time too; the longer the missions, the better the loot.
As you’d expect from a game heavily inspired by Diablo, loot is a big part of Darkspore. The loot can be used to upgrade your armor, weapons, attacks, and/or appearance. The ability to customize doesn't stop at your character's shoulder guards either. Loot can be altered, and you can strip stats from an item you don't like and add them to the items you do. This feature is confirmation that I'm not the only one who develops emotional relationships with in-game armor.
To move your hero, you simply point and hold the left mouse button where you want to go. When an enemy is on screen, simply click it to launch your standard attack. Using the the 1-5 number keys, gamers can choose which attack to use from an array of class hero moves. For the demo I played, I had all five slots unlocked, but in the actual build you'll start out with only one.
To swap between your team of heroes, you use the Q,W, E keys There are over 100 heroes in the game, all unlockable and all fully customizable. The only real connection between Spore and Darkspore is the Character Creator. Maxis took apart Spore's creator, and then rebuilt it, keeping all the features gamers liked and then adding even more. If you enjoy customizing characters then you are going to spend an embarrassing amount of time adjusting every possible detail, angle, and color of just the claws. During the demo, I was asked to move on even though my guy didn't have the right horns yet!
With over 100 heroes to collect, customize, and send into battle, it may seem like players will have plenty to do on their own, but to get the most of the game, you'll need a friend. You can play through the entire game with friends, taking on enemies and combining forces. Of course there's matchmaking for those who are lacking in the friend-department. The game is 100% online, even if you decide to play solo. PvP is also a big part of the game, and is set up to be two players vs two players. Each player has three characters during the three PvP rounds. After each round the losing team can swap out their characters if they want.
Darkspore takes a different approach to action-RPGs with its accessible controls and variable mission design. We’ll see if it’s a winning combination when the game is released for the PC on March 29.