IGN Preview of Spore Hero
For those that thought you could only experience the creative concepts behind EA's Spore on PC you're a bit behind the times. We love you, but as a friend we figured we'd hit you with the truth, and it's true. EA is morphing the Spore franchise into a full-on platform-defined property this year by not only continuing to give players entertaining world population gaming with the original on PC, but also by expanding that world through the Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena titles on Wii and DS specifically. With new footage and info hitting out of the German games conference EA snuck over to our office last week and gave us a bigger look into what both of these games are about.
While Spore Hero Arena on DS is a hybrid of adventure and arena battling, Spore Hero on Wii takes things in a much larger adventure-focused experience. The story between the two games is similar, though there's a definite twist to it as well. With Arena, players are tracking down the world's strongest battlers who have medals made of a mysterious red crystal. The concept of these crimson gems is retained for Hero, but the story is far from cut-and-dry. After crash landing on a new planet you discover that a strange force has apparently followed you there, corrupting the planet with evil as it scattered on impact. It's your job to create a hero, embark on a quest to find answers, and unlock new parts to further strengthen your creature.
As always the biggest question surrounds the Spore creature creator, and just how robust/expansive it is. Like the DS game, the creature creator is back in action, and it's much larger than what you'll find in the pocket offering. Over 250 parts are available for your tweaking pleasure, and the creator itself feels as robust as the PC offering was in the original Spore. You can scale limbs, add in extra extensions, add on horns, wings, claws and the like, and each of the choices you make will determine what skills you have in the game. When you fist kick off your adventure there are only a few options – which, even still, can create plenty of monster types since you can scale and use different body shapes as well – but after even just a few minutes of play you'll start to discover new parts across the world. Beat a boss? You'll get parts. Go off the beaten path? You'll get parts. Dig in suspicious areas around the world? Yup. Parts.
Unlike the DS game, Hero uses the evolution of the creature to determine new adventure-themed attacks and skills. You won't be able to swim unless you have gills, you can't fly or glide unless you've unlocked wings, and only specific parts will allow for certain offense like a distance-based shooting power. Since the game is an adventure design at its base, these new parts come during pivotal moments in the story, pacing out the story as you move from region to region.
The overall visual offering in Spore is pretty impressive, though it's also not going out of its way to be a full-on "stunner" of a game, and that's understandable considering the amount of assets put towards expanding your creature and having plenty of parts for customization. Even still you've got some entertaining animations – creatures move differently based on the amount of legs they have or body size/shape – and some nice visual effects. The worlds are pretty robust from what we've seen thus far, and there's of course a huge amount of variation, with all other creatures made and inspired from the parts you've got access to.
Apart from the main adventure mode Spore Hero also has a full-on fighting arena system for one-on-one battles. Using the skills you get from the main game, players jump into direct battle – also used for boss fights during the main game – with their created creatures. Just like with the adventure side, the parts on your hero determine what moves you have, including distance attacks, jumping dashes, charge attacks, and melee. After going toe-to-toe against the computer s you move through the main game players can also access their saved creations in a standalone two player battle mode. We had a chance to try our newly-created character against EA during our hands-on, and promptly got our butt kicked. Apparently our monster looked more badass than he truly was. Live and learn.
We'll have more on Spore Hero as we continue on through the game. No specific release date has been confirmed, but be sure to look out for the Wii and DS versions during the Fall quarter of this year.
©2009-08-19, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved