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Spore Hands-on: PC & DS version


Spore: A Galaxy's Destiny

Outside of the world of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it has been impossible to get a whole Universe in a matchbox. But this September, Will Wright plans to give you a Galaxy in a standard sized computer game package. You’ll get your very own Universe with (we stopped counting) thousands of planets – and all of them can be filled with content yourself or other players created. Read our hands on preview on Spore!

Update: Read our September 2008 review on Spore!

French translation @ Sporemania.com

It has been some time since we first previewed Spore (at Games Convention 2007 in Leipzig), and although all five parts of the life simulation were already linked together then, there were a lot of questions left unanswered.

[Creature editor]

Who said that Spore creatures have to look nice and fluffy? This guy clearly is designed by a player having a military agenda in mind...

Now, we’ve played a version that already looked quite polished, and we also got a lot of information on how Electronic Arts hopes to repeat the huge success The Sims has in terms of content created by the players. The release date for Spore is September 5th in PC centric Germany (and most of the rest of Europe) and September 7th in the US. The game is supposed to come out then for Mac, too, and also for mobile phones and Nintendo DS. The latter versions, quite naturally, do not give you the same scope, they rather concentrate on a more mission based structure and on one of the game stages only (see the info box below). And while the designers we spoke to are sure there will be version for the nextgen consoles, they also stated that Spore will need to be heavily adapted rather than just technically ported for PS3 and Xbox 360 (the Wii version is on hold). The PC or Mac, it seems, is still better suited for complex games, especially when adding user created content is not an afterthought, but an integral core feature of a game. We will not lose to many words on the overall gameplay principle, what you probably already know (or can read in our earlier preview) still is valid for the biggest part. Instead, we’ll focus on new information and a description of how Spore actually plays.

Spore: DS and mobile version

The biggest difference of the Nintendo DS version: There are no five stages, the whole game is set in the Creature stage. Also, the graphics are different, resembling a handheld version of Viva Piñata. Spore DS seemed to be more mission based than the PC version when we played it; our first main goal was "to find the crashed spaceship", while our sub goals were "Find and collect a mouth part" or "befriend the lone tackzp". There are different levels and continents, and there will be local sharing of content and maybe ("we're working on it", Lucy Bradshaw said) via WiFi Connect. The smartphone version is even more simplified: It's all about the Cell stage, which is the shortest of the five stages in the PC version.

Picture 1 shows the Sporepedia, you can browse through the creatures (notice the text "7 of 51 Species found"). 2 shows the upper screen of the Creature Editor with our stats. The blue bar on the left shows the body points which is the main currency in Spore DS. 3 In the lower screen of the Creature Editor, you can manipulate various body parts -- those eyes do not need to sit on the front of the head! (But you'll always manipulate one side of your creature, only -- it will be mirrored to the second side.) 4 shows the abstract overall map, the layout of the levels is not randomized. 5 shows a battle; you fight by quickly drawing diagonal or straight lines (prompted by the game) on the screen. Your creature can learn special attacks or max out their "double damage" stat over the course of the game. (A similar system is used for making friends, while dancing is a mini-action game.) 6 shows that you've found something in the ground -- a leg body part.

6 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 13:50 #

Ja, es gibt einen Gott :)

Denizz (not verified)
0 EXP -
March 31, 2008 - 20:30 #

Will Wright ist Gott! :D

32 EXP -
April 2, 2008 - 15:24 #

He is more, he makes gods out of normal players :-) So what would that make him? Zeus? The Universe? The Big Bang? Don't want to get into a religious controversy, here... :-)

2208 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 16:09 #

I still don't know if it is planned to be MMO or Singleplayer, with all the other worlds.

@ Moritz
I really like the deutsche Sprache, but as there are many people here who don't speak it (yet?), stick to english, please...

Martyk (not verified)
0 EXP -
March 3, 2008 - 04:03 #

It's singlerplayer.

6 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 17:00 #

As you might know my comment isn't really necessary. For all these people who can't speak german: I just said "There is a god" ;)

5433 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 17:30 #

Do you mean Will Wright or was this a thank you to the heavens that this game is being made? And yes, please don't post in German :-)

Elodia (not verified)
0 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 17:31 #

Firstly, nice preview!

Bolle: The game is massively single play. This means that you are playing by yourself in your own personal galaxy. However, the galaxy is populated by creations from all the other players who are operating in their own galaxy (and theirs by your creations). So what they do has no impact on you personal gaming universe and what you do has no impact on theirs. Hope that helps!

2208 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 18:09 #

hm, I think I got it. I think ;)

6 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 18:46 #

@Jörg: It was a thank you to the heaven. I'm not nerdy enough to adore Will Wright xD

And I apologize for the german sentence :(

4474 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 21:44 #

really informative preview! but i´ve a couple of questions: 1st: when you attack someone or you are attacked, is this another real player or npcs? or is both possible, npc OR player? 2nd: can you also play it in lan-mode? i mean, you can attack other folks, can´t you? so it might be fun to start playing together with others and start fighting like in age of empires or similar games... 3rd: the conquering mode, can i think of it as in sid meier´s pirates? because it sounds similar

5433 EXP -
February 14, 2008 - 23:42 #

That will always be NPCs. To the best of my knowledge, Spore is not a multiplayer game, or only an indirect one (sharing content via the Sporepedia, sending your creations to friends). That should answer your first two questions. "Conquering a world" means destroying the defending (city) troops on a planet with laser beams, bombs and so on. Those troops can be defended by their own UFO. I do not know if it's possible to bring your own troops for an invasion scenario, but I think not: The game centers on the idea that you are influencing stuff, so your UFO really is your avatar, your persona in the game, and where you are, the action is.

4474 EXP -
February 15, 2008 - 10:15 #

thanks for the informatial response. the game sounds really cool. i hope there will be the possibility of mods, for you could get even more out of the game. i mean, why not play together with someone in multiplay? or create something like a player versus player galaxy, where you attack other, real-living opponents? that´d be awsome.
but i guess that´s not really the group of people the developers are aiming at... anyway, it´s going to be cool. to me it already sounds like a new money making franchise. i don´t know, ea could easily invent stuff like: get your race from spore on your t-shirt! free shipping, only 30$. i hope that´s not gonna happen! or that there will be about 1.000.000 addons like in the sims.
aaaahhh, i´m babbling around. let´s wait for the game

Player (not verified)
0 EXP -
February 16, 2008 - 11:03 #

Very good preview, much better than that on GameSpot :-) Have you been in London, too, for the hands on?

5433 EXP -
February 17, 2008 - 11:06 #

Thanks. No, actually, German journalists were shown the game 3 weeks ago in Munich during a big EA meeting here, but had to wait to publish anything until the 13th of February.

2 EXP -
February 18, 2008 - 21:25 #

Thank you for this really good preview.

We translated it in French with the hyperlink of your website.

5433 EXP -
February 19, 2008 - 23:06 #

Hi cepalui,

thank you very much. Why don't you also share the link to your translation with our readers here? :-)

2 EXP -
February 20, 2008 - 17:29 #

La préview de GamersGlobal traduite en Français here

Thank you very much Jörge

Leonard McCoy
2459 EXP -
February 24, 2008 - 12:50 #

I'm excited about a game that is practically three games in one. The only fear that I might have is that the gameplay may turn out too simple (Kill, eat and get bigger). We will see.

Pooz (not verified)
0 EXP -
February 28, 2008 - 01:17 #

Does anyone know what will happen if your spacecraft or home planet get desrtoyed in the space age?

Eikus (not verified)
0 EXP -
May 17, 2008 - 11:07 #

I'm pretty sure that your home planet can't be destroyed. When your spacecraft gets destroyed, on the other hand, you have to go back a bit in the game (I don't know if you have to restart from the beginning of the mode or if you just loose a little of your technology, though). You don't have to worry about having to start from the very beginning of the game.

158 EXP -
March 18, 2008 - 16:45 #

Couldn't you change the title's spelling from "hands on" to "hands-on"? This reads like you were doing (or expecting us to do) some witch-type hand-reading ("Read our hands!" (which would be a cool skill indeed))... ;) I'm certainly not perfect at English grammar or spelling, so if this is correct - ok. (Then it just looks strange for Germans)

heirware (not verified)
0 EXP -
July 24, 2008 - 10:35 #

'Ping files', you mean .png.

Cholo (not verified)
0 EXP -
February 17, 2011 - 06:31 #

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