Thursday, 4 September 2008

Game Review - Space Siege

Format: PC


Sometime in the future the human race travel across the stars and finds an evil race of genocidal maniac aliens. The aliens waste little time in hurtling towards Earth intent on wiping humanity from the galactic map. You play Seth, a soldier aboard one of the colony ships fleeing the Earth for the depths of space. Unfortunately for Seth, aliens manage to board the ship and the siege of space (shouldn’t it be Spaceship Siege?) begins. Seth must find a way to save the remnants of humanity whilst fighting the urge to implant cybernetic implants and become less than human himself.


Diablo style looting. If you have the compulsive need to slaughter hundreds of faceless enemies in the pursuit of wealth (sorry, Upgrade Materials as Space Siege calls it) and extra levels, then Space Siege fulfills that role. You will encounter waves and waves of minions who all drop various parts that you can use to purchase add ons and modifications for your weapons and armour and your pet robot. There’s no inventory to manage either, so you can focus purely on killing and upgrading rather than managing your inventory grid so you can fit all the random crap you’ve picked up into your massive pockets. This is the Diablo experience streamlined.

Exploding barrels. There’s tons of them all over the ship and some are pressurized containers that fly around in random directions before exploding. As a pyromaniac I approve of the exploding barrel cliché. It also helps you kill the hordes of enemies quicker and lessens the playing time, which is a good thing in this case.

Special powers. You get a ton of MMORPG style special abilities that you can use to boost your attacks, cause area of effect damage, become invincible, etc. So there’s a bit of customization in what your attacks will be and you can create tactics for clearing rooms.

It’s easy to uninstall.


Monotonous corridors and dull, linear level design. You will find yourself walking down very grey corridors on a straight path to the next room of enemies. You will not be wandering off into strange corners of the ship in order to find secrets, because there aren’t any. If you’re on a level with a new weapon or cybernetic part, you will be told by an NPC and it will appear on your map. Whilst I understand that this will cut down on frustration and allow everyone to find the cool stuff, it pretty much takes any pride or joy out of finding things for yourself.

The much vaunted cybernetic dilemma is pathetically implemented. Installing hardware into yourself does not significantly change the storyline. In fact the only difference is the voice over at the end, and even then the end story doesn’t really change. The only moral dilemma is deciding whether to be evil or not two thirds of the way into the game (Yes/No button is offered). The good/evil decision was difficult because of the next problem.

The NPCs are the most irritating characters I have ever encountered. They constantly nag and moan, the voice acting is poor and the dialogue they spout is clichéd bilge. I felt like a schizophrenic, trapped in his head with a sub conscious that was determined to make a dull task even more joyless and painful. I really didn’t care about the humans I was supposed to protect but I refused to turn evil because the evil NPC was the most annoying of the bunch. The only dialogue is exposition or mission objectives and the NPCs constantly nag about cyberwear, which follows this pattern:

NPC 1: “There’s a chainsaw on this level. Stick it in your arm. You’ll need it to combat the pathetically armed enemies.”

Seth: “…”

NPC 2: “Don’t listen to NPC 1! Cybernetics are bad!”

NPC 1: “Shut up!”

NPC 2: “No, you shut up!”

NPC 1: “No, you shut up!”

NPC 2: “I know you are, but what am I?”

NPC 1: “That doesn’t even make sense!”

Obvious AI Villain: “Yes, squishy human, make yourself more robotic. I don’t have an ulterior motive for this at all.”

By the end of it, I just wanted the voices to stop and have the ship to myself.

Leveling up is not actually leveling up. You gain stat points at preordained points in the story. There’s no extra XP reward for clearing a room of enemies as XP doesn’t exist, therefore the only reason to clear a room of mooks is to receive more Upgrade Materials, and there’s a problem with them...

Purchased upgrades seem to make very little difference. You can purchase modifications for your weapons that change damage and rate of fire by negligible amounts. You can purchase more health and armour that again, make very little difference. You can also upgrade your robot, which also makes no difference. If I can upgrade my character in a game, I want to become an unholy engine of destruction. I want to see lasers firing from every orifice and have armour so chunky I can’t move. I don’t want small, fractional increases to my equipment, I want space-shattering increases! Or at the very least, my bullets and lasers could turn a different colour.

Your pet robot is boring. He doesn’t speak, he doesn’t look cool. He’s barely competent. Sometimes he ignores your opponents until you order him to attack. When you do order him to attack he may decide instead to stand next to a barrel and make it explode. He might as well be a cupboard with a gun.

The controls are poor. Click the left mouse button to move, click the right to fire. Use WASD to move the camera. This makes dodging attacks a pain as you have to stop firing to click on a point on the screen to flee incoming fire. In the end I just stood there turning on anti-damage abilities while I held down the right mouse button. You also can’t change the controls at all. So even if you don’t want to use ‘H’ to heal, you have no choice in the matter.

The plot is clichéd, dull and so very, very obvious. There are twists in the tale but if you can’t see them coming then this must be the first time you’ve seen a piece of sci-fi fiction or you fell asleep at the screen during the cutscenes. The ending is scant reward for enduring the lost 6-8 hours you’ll spend on it. I felt no compulsion whatsoever to play through the game again to view the other endings. I watched them on Youtube instead.


This is a disappointment. Instead of a fun, streamlined RPG, it’s a monotonous shoot ‘em up with all of the personality and fun streamlined out of it. If this game had been created by a couple of first time developers and released for a fiver, I could be more forgiving. It wouldn’t change my opinion of the game but it would have wasted less of my cash. Uwe Boll made a movie out of the original Dungeon Siege game, if he made a movie out of Space Siege, I think he’d actually improve the experience.

Arbitrary Score out of Ten: 4/10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree boring boring and boring !