Mixed or average reviews - based on 52 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 128 Ratings

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  • Summary: Darkspore will feature dynamic, fast-paced action as players battle across alien worlds to save the galaxy from the mutated forces of Darkspore in a four-player co-operative and full single-player campaign, as well as intense multiplayer battles. In order to defeat the malicious Darkspore, players will need to collect an arsenal of living weapons - genetic heroes with different combat abilities - and upgrade them with tens of thousands of collectible body parts and armor. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 52
  2. Negative: 1 out of 52
  1. Apr 26, 2011
    Spore is an infinitely more unique and nuanced experience than Darkspore, but in the end, Darkspore is much more likely to stick around in the gamer psyche. It may not do anything particularly new, but the way it polishes and riffs on known gaming conventions should leave you happily clicking on bad guys and collecting new body parts late into the night.
  2. Apr 26, 2011
    Waiting for the return of Diablo, this new Hack'n'Slash pleases the gamer, thanks to the great variety of situations and characters.
  3. Apr 27, 2011
    Darkspore takes some parts of the evolution simulator Spore, but not enough to create a title able to beat its alternatives. If we forget that there once was a game called Spore, Maxis's new job is a fluid, agile and fun ARPG, perhaps too simple and repetitive but with enough hours of fun. A good way to spend time, but if you want greater depth you will find better it in other alternatives.
  4. Apr 27, 2011
    Darkspore is long and solid but its lack of substantial innovation and repetitive missions makes this game too derivative to achieve a truly fun experience as expected.
  5. May 31, 2011
    Even with all its collection of flaws, Darkspore is not a bad game. The only real mistake that EA made was releasing it on PC with a $50 price tag. This game belongs on XBLA or PSN. But if you're into some mindless time-killing before going to bed, by all means, pick it up.
  6. May 3, 2011
    Darkspore doesn't exactly redefine RPGs as we know it, but there's no other action RPG around that allows this much control over the look of your characters. There's a lot of room for improvement, but the living loot system and Hero Editor help Darkspore stand out among other hack-and-slash games.
  7. May 8, 2011
    Darkspore remains a humdrum deep-space Diablo, but one doomed to be defined more by what it's missing than what it offers. [June 2011, p.98]

See all 52 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 63
  2. Negative: 13 out of 63
  1. Apr 27, 2011
    The basic setup of the game is you go from level to level chaining them together to receive better bonus percent for new items. Each level has a nice visual theme, and while the level layout is static, the enemies, loot altar locations, and other events are random and change each time. It's a loot driven game and does a great job of balancing risk vs reward...the more levels you chain the more difficult each new level is. If you die you loose all the loot (at the end of the chain) you would have's a lot like a game show where you are asked "do you keep the $100,000 or are you going to go for the cool million???". I think this is a really interesting and unique setup...but most importantly it works.

    One of the things that originally concerned me about the game was there was no leveling, no skill trees, nothing. After a while I started to see the beauty of the system though. There's two elements that take the place of is the item system and the other is the squad system. There's a great random item system with tons of stats and varying quality levels. This is how you increase the power of your heroes. When you equip more and better items you increase their stats (and abilities) and the total counts toward their hero level. The other aspect is the squad system. Each squad has three spots...from which you can fill from a pool of 100 different heroes. In reality there's 25 heroes with 4 variants each, but this still offers TONS of options.

    Each hero has 2 active skills, a main attack, a passive, and a squad skill. You can access all of your heroes squad skills no matter which hero is selected, and you can switch heroes in level on the fly. Mix and matching the different heroes and skills really opens up a lot of customization. I do think it takes some time to really get this though, but once I really starting looking at way to maximize and compliment my squad/heroes the beauty of the system became more apparent.

    Controls are fluid and work well. Left mouse moves and attacks, right mouse is locational attack, and you can use number keys to activate skills. Skills are easy to use and there's tons of different kinds from buffs, AoE, heals, pets, targeted, crowd control, and even really unique stuff like dimensional warping. Skills have nice graphical effects and feel powerful.

    There are tons of enemies in the game, and many of them have unique abilities. I think the game really shines in the department, and I have played TONS of ARPG's. Enemies charge you, knock you down, put you to sleep, teleport you, debuff you. There's enemies that are "squad leaders" in a sense that buff their allies. There's even enemies that turn normal Dark Spore into their champion variants making them high priority targets. It's also very satisfying to kill the Dark Spore. Enemies explode into clouds of blood, hits have a lot of oomph behind them...the combat is very satisfying.

    Everything from the animations, level objects, enemies, skills all look great. I think the best comparison is kinda like the world in Avatar. Lot's of contrasting colors, bioluminesence, and light sources. One complaint I do have is the level design itself sometimes is too sparse and can be visually repetitive and uneven. Things look good, but I think a more coherent design and more set unique set pieces would have benefited the game a lot.

    Music is very sci-fi and fits the game perfectly. It has a very ambient quality. Sounds effects are great as well. Enemies have their own sound effects, so do each of the heroes. Hitting an enemy has the appropriate weighty feel and gives the right amount of feedback. Lot's of nice effects for all the skills as well.

    Story is an area I really don't care much about (especially for ARPG's), but so far the story is just ok. It definitely takes a back seat to gameplay (which I like) and is told mostly through cut-scenes narrated by the ships computer between missions. There's also some pretty cool narration in levels when you pass specific points or in the first level you pass a super nova and the ship's computer tells you about it. Pretty nice idea, maybe there could have been some cooler uses for this though. I do find myself wanting to progress in the game more and more to find out what's going on with the story, but it's not very deep...feels more like a history lesson that unfolds over the course of the game.

    As far as ARPG's go, this has the best multiplayer system aside from Diablo 2 ( One of the few games in the genre with closed server architecture. Matchmaking works great as far as time it takes to find a public team, though I wish you could specify some parameters when using it (like minimum level you want to do, ect). There's stat tracking for all players so you can see everyone's in game progress, friends list, chat channels, and rankings. There's also 1v1 and 2v2 PvP arenas which are fun.
  2. May 9, 2011
    As a competitive gamer I really enjoy this game. There is a lot of detail put into squad building and mechanics... As young as the game is right now, I have experienced a balanced PVP system and can also enjoy storming through PVE campaigns with friends. This is a perfect game for anyone that enjoys competitive PVP or is just an action RPG fan. Expand
  3. Apr 29, 2011
    As a few others have mentioned, *please* don't think this is Spore, or really anything to do with it. The only Spore-related thing about it is the hero editor, which is fantastic. Other reviews have complained that the game-play is too repetitive. I think that can be said of most games, if you look at them realistically. I don't personally find Darkspore's game play boring or repetitive because of a few features. In other games, if you repeat a level you've done, you will find... that same level. In Darkspore, if you repeat it, you will be given a random map selection from ones you've completed and a random assortment of different enemies. Perhaps the people who insist it is still the same game, time after time, haven't played it far enough. Yes, the beginning levels are easy--you can run around smacking everything in sight without a problem. As you progress, however, the enemies not only become more difficult because of their abilities, they become smarter. The AI for them is improved at later levels. This changes up the game play from straight beat-it-in-the-face to needing tactics to beat certain combinations of enemies. Building your squads of heroes becomes more important, so you will have the right tools to defeat certain encounters. I like that you can enjoy exactly the same content single-player or co-op. Either mode provides unique challenges and changes game play. While I've enjoyed ARPGs throughout the years, I've always been a bit of an MMO addict. I *really* like that this game is not the usual solo-til-max-level thing, and then you *must* find more people to do anything fun or useful. Another great thing about this game is the sidekick system. A drawback of other games is, a friend of mine will start playing it to play with me, but can't actually do that, because I'm a much higher level. With Darkspore, you can replay lower levels while grouped with your friend, and instead of massively outgearing everything, one-shotting everything in sight, while your friend trundles along behind you bored to tears, your gear is scaled down to the lower level. This makes the content suddenly level appropriate (and actually quite challenging, typically) for you, allowing you and your friend to contribute equally. As far as people commenting that the storyline is a bit empty and lacking, or seems like a history lesson, I like that the story is not shoved in your face constantly. Each hero has a backstory that you can simply choose not to read if you don't care about it. Yes, the rest of the storyline is presented as a history lesson, but if you remember from the opening cutscene, you are told that you are newly awakened from cryogenic sleep, with a very high probability of memory loss. The story, as it is presented, is trying to bring you back up to date. This is done in tidy little chunks as cutscenes between each (new) level, and if you don't care about it, simply hit the escape key and it goes away. Yes, it's not a *massively* in-depth story, but if you are looking for something that lore-heavy, you should be looking for an MMO, not an ARPG.

    Game play moves along at just the right pace, not hitting the anxiety-producing can't-quite-keep-up phase, but refrains from dragging itself out. There are randomly chosen objectives to complete, if you feel like it, for each level you enter. There are rewards for completing them, but you won't be handicapped by not doing them, either. If you complete the first four objectives, you will find you've unlocked a time objective--complete the level in under 10 minutes for a gold medal. That seems like a great time frame for letting you play a bit, stop if you feel like it, or continue on if you have more time. Darkspore presents the basics to you in a fluid manner, so you are immediately comfortable with how to play the game. You will have access to all of your abilities in a short amount of time, so it's not like other games where you learn to play your character one way, then suddenly at a later level, you are introduced to a new and completely game changing mechanic, requiring you to somewhat relearn how you are going to play that character. Instead, you have an endless ability to mix and match heroes to give access to different sets of abilities for each hero. Yes, you have a limited number of buttons you can mash at any given time, but depending on which heroes you chose to use together, the effects of mashing those buttons differs wildly. Lastly, don't let a dark opinion of EA cloud your expectations for Darkspore. This game is Maxis-driven, and they have the best support for this game I have *ever* encountered. If you have a question, problem, or feedback, post on the forum, and either a Dev or members of the community will answer you. Usually amazingly promptly, and with actual information instead of some placating blanket statement.
  4. May 10, 2011
    CO-OP is great in this game! -2 for solo play not being more engaging and no trading of items. Overall, really like this game. My 7 yr. old son likes this as well (not meant to be a knock, he has played Diablo 2 since he was 4). Expand
  5. Apr 26, 2011
    In the same way people enjoyed Torchlight as a "Diablo 2 LITE" experience. So can you enjoy Darkspore. Don't expect it to be and incredible world-shifting experience. But it is solid RPG fun and with co-op to boot! Recommended to those looking for casual RPG fun. Expand
  6. Apr 28, 2011
    Darkspore fails to offer anything new to the Action RPG genre that actually improves the gameplay itself. Sure, you can customize the look of your characters (which you can hardly notice unless you make everything extremely large) more than most games, but what does that really add to the game? Once you get past that you're left with a repetitive action rpg that's severely lacking when it comes to actual gameplay customization. Expand
  7. Jun 15, 2011
    After sitting through a good 30-40 minutes of backstory which is dumped on you at the start, I endured a frustratingly slow tutorial and endured 20 minutes of already boring and repetitive gameplay before giving up as the RSI-inducing controls were making my hands hurt already. Not recommended. Expand

See all 63 User Reviews


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