sporeIt’s one of the year’s most anticipated games. And after constant delays Spore’s finally out! So does it live up to all the hype?

Let’s put it this way: Get ready to save 50 bucks.

Spore lets you to play God with people lives (and who doesn’t like that), but not in the smite the heathens & flood the world kind of way (read: the good way). You’re more like a commander-in-chief of a customizable species, which sounds better than it is.

Customizing your creatures is a big let down.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I love creating creatures if only for the aesthetics. But beyond making your creature more social or aggressive your so-called adaptations serve little purpose. It’s all just a rat race to stay alive and get to the 5th and final stage: space, at which point your biological superiority is moot.

The space stage is where things really get tedious.

Once again you’ll expand your empire through either alliances or war. I suggest war. Your allies are very clingy. They’re constantly in need of either defense or a good ethnic cleansing to “prevent ecological disaster” (right…). Just getting to them in time can be a hassle. After all, the universe is a big place AND you only get 1 ship. Oh sure, you can add allies to your fleet but it’s still just a single fleet. There’s no multitasking here. In fact if you want to do anything to a planet even if you already control it you’ll have to fly your fleet there.

The map system stinks too. There’s a ton of a overlays to toggle between just to see what’s what. Even camera angles need frequent adjust since the star systems & planets overlap.

There’s plenty more to nitpick about like the fact you can’t save the game when you’re on a planet (space stage) or get ship repairs/recharges from your cities when in battle or having to revisit your allies to get replacement ships but…

My real complaint is that the game just feels so hollow.

Other than the invaders and pirates who ravage your planets none of the other creatures come to visit you. Surely there should be some friendly explorers somewhere out there right? But no you’ve got to find go out and find them and the only way they’ll be our friend is by doing boring missions for them like scanning and abducting. You’d think they’d have put some variety and originality here. Have a species who only cares about games and you’ve got to beat them at one to be their friends or someone like the Klingons and you’ve got to show them how strong you are. When in doubt at least copy a winner like the Civilization franchise and have an option to trade technology with other cultures.

I will say this about Spore the cutscences are hilarious and so is dialogue like “we don’t party with aliens we don’t know” but those few moments in no way save this game. If you’ve downloaded the free creature creator then you’ve pretty much seen all this game has to offer.