Average User Score: 6.0Apr 27, 2011The 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 hasThe 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 gotten...it'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 this...one 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 objects...like 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 (battle.net). 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.… Expand