Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spore - Galactic Adventures - 6/20 hours

The Galactic Adventures expansion pack adds something absolutely vital to Spore's space stage - the ability to get out of your spaceship and beam down for away missions as an individual member of your species. This is a huge deal. The creature stage is the second-best part of the game, and prior to this expansion, you more or less had to accept that once you left the tribal stage, that creature would be nothing more than a speck in a distant background. With Galactic Adventures, your creature has the chance to take center stage once more.

Galactic Adventures also epitomizes Spore's greatest flaw - it took a good idea and then developed it in a perfunctory-seeming way.  The expansion opens up a lot of possibilities, but then opts to rely almost entirely on user-generated content. I'm not sure whether I played them all or not, but I believe there are only about a half dozen or so premade missions bundled with the game itself. Everything else has to be downloaded. Which maybe doesn't seem so bad, but each mission is less than five minutes in length (and user-created ones tend to be even shorter), which means that if your galaxy is set up in the right way, you'll blow through all of them in about a half-hour.

Of course, my galaxy wasn't set up quite right, so I spread that half-hour over the course of six, but even so, I did three of the mission within the first twenty minutes or so (each of the Maxis missions is associated with one of the empire philosophies). I probably should have played this game six years ago, back when the community was still active (I didn't actually get the game until 2013), though from what I understand, back then you had to sort through a lot of chaff to get to the worthwhile missions.

The good news is that my save from the other version of Spore carried over. I don't really understand how, given that the games are listed separately in my Steam library, but it meant that I didn't have to start over from scratch and was able to snatch a couple of valuable badges.

I'm not sure where I'll go from here. I made an attempt at the center of the galaxy, but that stalled due to the fact that I'm still lacking the most powerful interstellar drive and thus got stuck on a dead end (getting close to the core restricts your drive distance). But that's just vanity, though. The thing you get from making the trip is  a magical staff that instantly terraforms planets, but that's something that I really enjoy doing manually, so for me, it's purely a matter of bragging rights.

I think I'll probably give the adventure creator a shot. It looks like it could be pretty powerful and versatile, though I worry that it might be too complicated to use casually. Unless something comes along to change my mind, my next post will be a report about my attempt to create my own adventure.

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