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Darkspore Preview

The original Spore was a very divisive game. Some loved it for its variety,while many hated it for its lack of depth. Regardless, anyone who’s played Spore will acknowledge the game’s powerful creation engine. With Darkspore, Maxis are going in a whole new direction for the franchise. They are going to implement Spore’s impressive creation tools into an action sci-fi action RPG. 

The plot of Darkspore does seem fairly derivative with you controlling the artificially created warriors of a race of intergalactic scientists called the Crogenitors who are fighting against an evil race called the Darkspore. It's a bit wierd but plot was never the focus of Spore.

Darkspore plays quite similarly to classic Action Role Playing Games like Diablo and anyone who has played more modern ARPGs like Torchlight will feel right at home with the its accessible control scheme. One difference that Darkspore does have is that you have control over more than one character. You can switch between these characters at the press of a button, allowing you access to alternate styles of play and gain access to a multitude of different abilities.

As mentioned above, Darkspore features the powerful character editor of the original Spore. This allows you to customize the different hero characters like never before. In Darkspore you find new genetic mutations which you can use on your different heroes and Maxis are claiming that their game will have thousands of different mutations to collect.


In your usual ARPG you would equip an item and it would appear on your character as part of their appearance. In Darkspore when you equip items you get to customize where they fall into your characters appearance. Rather than put the new horns you found on your alien creature's head, you could perhaps mount them on his shoulders, or even his knee’s. It's really quite cool to have so much control over your character's appearance in an ARPG. There are 25 prebuilt heroes and each has three different genetic variants.

The texture detail has been massively improved since the first game and in Darkspore the alien creatures you play look less like playdough and more like unique and hostile alien creatures. The environments in it also look much better than its predecessors and the game takes place across several varied planets. It's refreshing to see a space ARPG that works well, as the sci-fi RPG lineup is quite sparse.

Darkspore also features a PVP mode and a Co-Op Mode which supports up to four players. The PVP mode will seem quite farmilliar to fans of WoW Arena, and Bloodlines Champions. The PVP throws teams of 1-4 players into an arena for a fight to the death. These battles last only a few minutes and are structured into rounds. Maxis have even implemented enviromental hazards in order to spice up the gameplay.

The original Spore gained quite a bit of flak from its choice to use a very hostile DRM system and it's a shame that Darkspore looks to follow in its footsteps with a DRM system that requires a persistent internet connection.   However, if you are looking for a unique Sci-Fi Action RPG then Darkspore is definitely a game to look at getting your gamer hands on.

Darkspore comes out on April 26th 2011. 


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