When Darkspore was first announced, people really didn't know what to expect from it. It was touted as a dungeon style RPG (like Diablo) but also with a collectable aspect like Pokemon and a creature editor that is almost identical to Spore (they did make it after all). It was also a PC exclusive so the PC crowd got really excited that they were getting an exclusive game that wouldn't simply be created subpar in order to port to a console. As someone who loved the first two games mentioned and sorta kinda liked Spore, I figured I would give it a shot and see how it played. About 20 hours later, I'm glad I did.
When you begin Darkspore, you are introduced to a store that revolves around a race of beings who messed with something called e-DNA and created a race of mutant/robot/alien protectors that they used to fight against an evil which they brought about through their scientific workings. Eventually the evil won, the race was defeated, and a couple of the race fled to space. You are one of them and it's now your job to collect heroes to fight for the cause of turning back the Darkspore enemy one planet at a time. The story is basically here just to move the game forward, trust me, it's nothing great. It's neat that it's there, but nothing else.
The core of the Darkspore game comes in it's gameplay. When you begin the game, you are given a few heroes (out of 100 which can be unlocked throughout the game) and you are sent on your way into the campaign. In each level, you hack and slash your way from one level to the next with the ability to switch between 3 predetermined characters at a time. What characters you bring is all part of the strategy as each level and it's enemies have the ability to do double damage to a type of hero you may have. In the early goings, you just hack and slash but eventually the skill is in the decision and strategy.
While your heroes levels are determined by the equipment they wear, your level as a leader or captain of the group does go up by playing the game. Each level you gain allows you to unlock a new hero (out of 100). There are three types of heroes with varying types. The stalker is the fast hitting, high DPS, but mid to low health rogue type. The sentinel is the brute of the group who favors high HP and taunts to DPS. Finally, the tempest is the mage of the group which consists of heroes who shoot rockets, plasma, or other types of projectiles. They usually have low HP, so they should be protected.
The fun in Darkspore comes from collecting heroes, obtaining loot in dungeons, and outfitting it on the heroes. While you can't create heroes from scratch, you can enlarge body parts and modify equipment to look however you want, along with change heroes colors to give your guy a unique look. This will come in handy when you take the game online, which just so happens to be my favorite part.
Darkspore is fun in single player, but it really shines in Co-Op and PvP. In Co-Op, you basically either matchmake to find teammates to go through the solo game with (with heightened difficulty and rewards) or you can find a teammate in the chat room and join together. PvP on the other hands pits people against each other with their heroes in 1v1, 2v2, 4v4, etc. type battles. The PvP isn't available to be unlocked until level 10 which is a smart choice as the people in PvP don't play around. Make sure you know your stuff before venturing into there. The Co-Op though is nothing but fun as having a few buddies along (known or unknown before the match) can really delve into the social aspects of a dungeon hunting type game. Loot is auto rolled on so there won't be any hard feelings (as everyone can use every type of loot since all characters are available.) When single player got boring for me, hopping on a co-op game definitely spice it up enough.
After sinking quite a few hours into Spore, I have nothing but good things to say. Sure, the game can get repetitive at times and there are some bugs with matchmaking and online play, but you have to remember that this is an online game. Even when you don't play co-op, you are still singing onto the network and when you are in your ship you are basically in a lobby with 80 other players. The game will continue to evolve and heroes are slated to be released as well. If you own a PC and love the dungeon style RPG's like Torchlight and Diablo, which also digging the whole collect them all unique heroes, then Darkspore may be a game that's right up your alley.
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