(Editors note: I really have no experience reviewing, or even grading these types of games. So I probably will not be giving this game a numerical score by the end of the review. I will simply try to state the pro's and con's that I see, and list them out to you the viewers, and let you decide if the game is worth it or not.)
"Darkspore" is an upcoming action/rpg mmo type strategy game with a few button mashings to be had, and a type of sequel to the monster generating game "Spore". With graphics and gameplay similar to those of Starcraft 2 and Diablo 2(3)? (Hopefully this screenshot can show you what I mean.)
(Actual gameplay screenshot of "Darkspore" using Blitz)
In Darkspore you control heroes' called "Crogenitors", (since I could not really grasp/remember the entire plot, I will just copy and paste what the plot was from Wikipedia, hopefully this is not considered plagary!)
"Crogenitors were a race of unrivalled scientists who had built a large galactic empire. They had mastered mutation and used their knowledge to create an army of genetic heroes, that became known as "Living Weapons". But the discovery by Crogenitor Zelem of the "E-DNA", an experimental amino acid that bonds to DNA, changed everything: it can be used to weaponise life itself, and it can achieve millennia of evolution in hours. However the E-DNA grown was unstable and all of the subjects who come in contact with it were taken over by it, completely becoming a genetic nightmare and connecting with a hive mind know as "The Darkspore". The E-DNA rapidly turned into a virus that began to spread in laboratories, all over the galaxy, killing everything in sight. The end result was war. All genetic heroes were slaughtered, almost all Crogenitors were killed, and the Crogenitor empire dissipated star by star. Six surviving Crogenitors were put in cryogenic pods and five of them were given the task to reach the planets each genetic types come from and to construct new Living Weapons still untouched by the Darkspore. The last was put in sleep for an indefinite period until the HELIX network had stabilized the E-DNA. After 1000 years the HELIX succeeded, and awoke the 6th Crogenitor, who began to gather the new Living Weapons and strengthen them with the stabilized E-DNA. Starting with only a few brave heroes, the Crogenitor Insurgency, as it became known, grew to the size of a small army. The Insurgency raided all Darkspore strongholds, discovering more comrades along the way. They grew ever closer to their ultimate goal of purging the Darkspore from the galaxy..." ---Plot described by Wikipedia.
After an interesting cutscene/introduction for the beginning of the game that explains the backstory and the plot (see above) you are then sent immediately to a tutorial zone, where you get to experience a simulated combat, where it explains the game, and controls to you. After the tutorial you are then taken to the armory, where you get to form your first squad (which consists of 3) by getting to unlock an alien ("Crogenitors") (You receive your first two during the tutorial). Each alien has it's own strengths, weaknesses, specialties, and talents. The "Crogenitors" usually consist of ranged, tank, spellcaster, and melee. But it isn't so cut and dry, because each alien has multiple roles it could play. For example you can have a ranged caster who can perform melee on targets, or tank.
The gameplay for "Darkspore" is pretty simple since all you do is point and click to move your hero around, or hold down the mouse button to continuously make him move where your pointing, and to attack you simply right click the mouse over the enemy you wish to kill, and certain monsters in the game will drop items that you can later equip to one of your heroes in the armory to boost their strength/power. After killing the boss, and finishing the campaign level you are given the option to roll for a rare item, or go double or nothing, by continuing on to the next stage, to double your chances at getting a rare item the next time. But if you die you lose your chances completely! (hard to explain for some reason)
The combat is always smooth and at times quite enjoyable, and seeing each aliens individual unique attacks, that always turn an enemy into a puddle of blood is quite enjoyable in my opinion. As I mentioned before each hero has it's own special abilities that you can use by pressing the 1-5 keys, each attack uses power (mana) so you do not want to spam your skills all at once or you could find yourself in a sticky situation should the time come to fight a boss, and your all out of power!! but don't worry if this happens, because some monsters will drop pill capsules that will replenish your health or energy. (since I couldn't find a good place to mention this I am just going to say it). Each crogenitor has a "type" sort of like pokemon but instead of earth's elements it's "race" meaning each race is strong against a certain race type but weak against another, and if you happen to come across an alien that is the same race as yours, you do not want to fight it because aliens of the same "race" cause double the damage to yours! so you will no doubtedly want to switch out your hero with another in your squad. And since this is a RPG game it would not feel right without having levels! all the heroes on your squad (more or less) receive experience after each campaign level you finish. Your squad appears to level up at the same time (from what I can tell anyway), but I am not entirely sure though. Each time you level, you get to unlock a new hero from the armory to add to your arsenal, usually a higher level and rank. "Darkspore" also has online play, where you will be matched up, and grouped with other players around your level in order to play a level together. But there is no challenge whatsoever, or "fun" in playing online since it offers no real challenge. The difficulty essentially stays the same and everyone else will most likely kill everything before you even have a chance to get a hit in.
The graphics for "Darkspore" are absolutely beautiful!! I did not know at the time but during my "First Looks" video of the game the graphics were all set to low by default! and I could have sworn it was on high because of the beauty the graphics already had! but maxxing out the graphics settings doesn't really make much of a difference in the quality anyway, and will probably slow you down a bit, more than you like.
Story/plot: 9/10 I give it a 9 because even though plots similar to this have already been made, the game still manages to pull off a unique and adventurous story that has not been done for awhile in recent games. But the reason it is not a 10, is because my gut told me a 9 sounded better.
Gameplay: 8/10 The gameplay for "Darkspore" is rather fun and the combat is enough to captivate you for awhile before growing stale. Some of the levels are unimaginative and bland. The enemies are rather easy, or should I say TOO easy, as there is no real challenge throughout the campaigns, and it is still in closed beta and they question you about the difficulty of each campaign you play, I will not take too much off the score. Commanding squads sounds like fun when you first hear of it, but only being able to control 1 of the heroes' at a time is sort of bland and boring and often or not you really have no reason to change other than letting your hero heal or just to spice up the gameplay.
Graphics: 9.5/10 The graphics is probably the best part about this game, and one of the main reasons why I even bothered to play it, even on the lowest settings possible the game shines like a gem in visual appearance, and is quite pleasing to the eyes, at least in my opinion anyway. But maxed out, there is not much difference between low settings and High, if not only a little bit more detail.
Lasting Appeal: 5/10 The game is visually stunning and the combat will keep your attention for some time. But the constant plot videos that appear almost every single time you go to enter a level, can be quite annoying, especially since it repeats the same video 5-6 times before changing to a new one. The squad function isn't really that interesting, since you can only control 1 hero at a time, and the enemies and bosses are often or not way too easy and offer no challenge whatsoever. The online multiplayer function serves no real purpose and adds no challenge to the game whatsoever, and often or not other members of your group will slaughter them before you even have a chance too. I find "Darkspore" very forgettable and if you should remember it, it will mainly be for it's looks and that's all.
Overall, I find "Darkspore" to be a fun casual game to play in your spare time if you cannot find anything BETTER to do. But to be fair the game is still in closed beta, and by the time it is released to the public, all of the problems with the game will most likely be fixed. You can currently pre-order the limited edition version of "Darkspore" for $49.99 USD, and I cannot recommend this game to anyone for that price, I would pay at most 10 dollars for it in it's current state.
NightmareStudioz gives "Darkspore" a 5 out of 10 "Meh" (determined by lowest subscore)
This review has been written/brought to you by Cody Sparks, Owner of NightmareStudioz.