Unearthly Protracted Conflict

Though I’ve spared some thought towards the refinement of the design, I’ve still yet to master my procrastination adequately to put some serious work in my BYOND game lately.  Otherwise, perhaps my 1-week prediction would have been true.  I did, at least, reinstall my copy of Ableton Live LE 6, so perhaps I’ll drop another original music clip soon.

In case you had not figured out what the title was referring to yet…

Over the weekend, I picked up a copy of Space Siege being liquidated at a local Target for under $12.50.  Having played it a bit, I have to say that it’s a pity the price fell so quickly.  Despite being thrashed in reviews, the game wasn’t that bad.  Space Siege’s main trouble is just that they’ve added too much of a good thing:

  • The campaign is too long, vexing for players, but particularly for reviewers tasked with finishing it in order to write a review.  A performer has got to know when the audience has had enough.
  • The streamlining went too far.  Stripping out all the tedious inventory management of your average dungeon crawler and replacing it with a single “parts” counter which is used for upgrading exactly what you want to upgrade is good thinking… but your average Diablo fan apparently likes tedious inventory management.  It may have helped if upgrades were more influential – in many cases the difference of upgrade levels was a mere 2% per level.
  • The GUI was too awkward to accommodate what the game was attempting to achieve.  I love a game that gives the player a lot of influential skills to learn play with, but the graphical user interface can’t fit them all on the hotbar, which was also difficult to reach in pitched combat.   At least the movement and dodging mechanism worked well after I got used to it.

Again, this was too much of a good thing.  A simpler, more derivative game wouldn’t have provided the opportunity for these problems to manifest, as it would bring short campaigns, little consideration towards streamlining, and too little gameplay to overload the GUI.  With better pacing, better balance, and more time spent refining the GUI, Space Siege could have transcended its problems… but it’s likely the developers simply ran out of time.

Even so, it’s not a terrible game so much as one that feels like it is needlessly dragging because it is buried under too much stuff that’s not been properly managed.  I’m glad to have had an opportunity to give it a spin – I love a good Sci-Fi RPG.  When Dead Space comes down in price enough (or I gain the freedom that comes with a steady income) it’s first on my list to play.

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