Let me start off by saying, I’m a huge Gas Powered Games fanboy, so I might be a bit biased. I beat both DS 1 and 2, but not the expansions. And was absolutely in love with the engine. I even worked on a mod at one point with an incredibly talented team. With that out of the way, lets talk about the Space Siege demo.
Here’s what I liked.
The UI. I know there’s a lot of talk out there about the UI and how it’s LOLHUGE!@#!, but I didn’t find it huge nor annoying. I found it great, except for the no mini map. Other than that, I loved every part of it. It’s smooth, sleek, responsive and doesn’t overwhelm (like AoE 3 does). To be fair, I know the person who worked on the UI, but, I would tell her if it was poop. Consider this my official Not Poop™ endorsement.
The Engine/World. Just like the last Siege games, the sense of scale and no loading is great. I don’t know if the no loading will follow throughout the entire game, but I like what I’ve seen so far. Even though I was in what amounted to little rooms, it felt bigger in many parts. And it ran pretty smooth.
The Holograms. The little holograms that are next to doors or around corners to direct you are pretty sweet looking. They really jazz the whole environment up and make it feel a lot more spacey than it does.
The Auto Loot. Love the Z key to summon the crap on the ground to you. I spent FAR too much time in previous Siege games picking shit up.
The Opening Movie. I’ll cover this more later, but lets start with I really liked it.
Now, on to what I didn’ t like. This is a bit harder because some of the stuff may turn out all right when a bigger sense of scale is applied in the full game. And it’s a bit longer for the same reasons.
Save Points. We’re really at save points again? I can’t just save wherever I want to? Or are those just respawn points and I’ll be able to save anywhere in the full game? This is as of yet an unanswered question. If it’s not save anywhere, I’ll be sorely disappointed.
The Engine/Models. Again, much like the previous Siege games, while the world is awesome looking the models suffer because of it (assuming this is the case). Even in the short demo, most of the bad guys looked pretty similar, but colored differently. The main character and the humans were impossible to tell apart unless you zoomed in. It’s sad to see that happen again, because it was a big problem, graphics wise, in the previous games.
The Environment. This is probably just more of a question than an actual complaint. If all of the levels are like this one, I’ll go insane. But if they are all inside space ships, in Space, how much different can they be? At least in Dungeon Siege we saw a lot of variation in the forests we fought in. Pass for now, but I’m hoping it’s varied more than I think it will be.
The Gameplay/Character Development. This is another I can’t really judge now, other than to say it was not thrilling in the demo. What do you do in Siege games? Point and click. Ok, yeah, not that involved, much like Diablo, you spend a lot of time pointing and clicking. Ok, fair enough. But I miss controlling a party and setting up strategy and having armor and gadgets and doohickeys. In this game, you’ve got parts and weapons and cybernetic parts. And that’s it. And the cybernetics are apply once and never remove, so you won’t be doing much with those. The parts are used to upgrade armor/weapons/etc. That’s it. No more inventory management. While that’s an interesting design decision, they didn’t replace it with anything. No more barbieing up my guys, no more tough decisions, do I use this weapon that does X well, but not Y, or do I stick with just Y as the best? No more choices on how to develop my character other than applying parts and my Humanity rating.
The Humanity Rating. Ok, so it’s a demo, and it doesn’t matter, but at least some sense of what the cybernetics and using them and losing my humanity level would mean long term would be nice. Basically, at this point, my Humanity rating went down and I could use better guns, move faster and carry more ammo. None of that seems bad to me.
The Opening Movie. As I said above, I loved it. What I didn’t like though is that it had nothing to do with the gameplay. I see this awesome video of people escaping earth (spoilars!), ships zooming around, etc. Then I’m put into a little room with aliens and little to no idea how to play the game (you have to right click, not left click and madly crush buttons. Trust me). Not huge deal, but it sure had me in the mood to play a different game.
Overall, I’m not horribly impressed. If this was a mod to another Siege game, I’d be pretty wowed, but as it stands, this might be the first game I don’t buy from GPG since they started up. It reminds me a LOT of the Crusader game series at this point. Which I really liked in parts, but got bored of pretty easily… The demo left me with a lot of unanswered questions and I’m going to take a wait and see approach for now.
What Would Matt Do: Assuming the what would I do is asking how I would change the design…well, based on the demo alone, I’d add a minimap. I’d either change combat a bit to be more involved or add back in the strategy elements of inventory and barbie. I’d probably work on making the enemies look not all similar. And I’d definitely make sure the environments were varied. A man can go insane in space pretty easily without variation. Or so the movies tell me.