|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Maxis||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q4 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
May 29, 2009 - Will Wrights grand vision to allow players to create and evolve whatever creatures their imaginations could devise released last year for PC to somewhat moderate success. We say moderate because the hype for Spore was so huge and went on for so long that we were expecting well, a bigger bang. The game itself was great, though, even if the PC audience didnt seem to be there to welcome it with open arms. Electronic Arts are still determined to continue with the franchise and hope that Spore will find its true fan base on Wii.
If you are a Spore fan already or have been curious about the game, theres a lot to be excited about with Spore Hero. Its a game thats definitely doing its own thing, but its built upon many of the great, cutting-edge ideas and technology that made the first game great.
Players will still be able to piece together and morph outrageous creations using the Creature Creator. As a matter of fact, Spore Hero has shifted most of its focus onto this element of the game in lieu of the simplified strategy elements of the PC game. Rather than evolve a single-celled organism into an eventual civilization that is destined to travel the far reaches of space, Spore Hero takes a more personal approach. This time around, theres a story that revolves around your single creation, and you can evolve that particular creature by collecting various body parts from completed missions throughout the game.
Spore Hero will also be taking full advantage of Maxis (the games developer) visual tech, termed procedural animation. In a nutshell, this technology instructs your creature to move and behave in ways that propose to mimic true evolution. Adding seven legs sprouting from your creatures head and a mouth for each foot could, in most other games, cause all sorts of balance issues were each element programmed to respond in one specific way. However, the procedural-animation tech calculates variables on the fly so your creature can flourish within the environment, regardless of its composition.
All the tinkering and toying around in Spore Hero isnt just for show, either, and the world around you will be greatly shaped by how you opt to design your hero. Yes, your creature is destined to be a hero, and though youll begin your journey by breaking yourself free from an egg, youll eventually be tasked to save the world from impending doom. Youll need to complete quests and mini-games in order to earn and discover new body parts, and your new appendages will often serve as tools to allow you to dig deeper into the story and gameplay.
Ultimately, Spore Hero seems to be melding new technology with tried-and-true gameplay ideas to make for an appealing adventure on Wii. Youll have an open-world to explore, and as with other such games, you can opt to spend a good deal of time just messing around in the environment, searching for goodies along the way, or take on missions when youre ready to push the story further. However, no two playthroughs will be exactly the same, and how you design your creature will greatly affect what types of items youll find, what types of creatures youll get along with, and what youre capable of accomplishing throughout the adventure.
Spore Hero will utilize both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, with movement handled by the analog stick, A to jump (or double jump if your creature is equipped with the appropriate body parts), chomp with the B button, and do a handful of other attacks by gesturing with the Wii Remote. Acquiring certain body parts will allow you to perform attack combos, and there seems to be lots of room for experimentation when it comes to combat.
Of course, you can always choose to take a more diplomatic approach when interacting with other creatures, and various mini-games play into sparking up relationships. For instance, you can choose to sing or dance, using the Wii Remote to match gestures with onscreen cues. The Creature Creator also plays into your ability to make friends and satisfy allies, and youll often be tasked with doing a makeover of sorts for other creatures in need of your eye for evolution.
If theres one thing about Spore Hero that really seems to be a perfect fit for the Wii platform, its the presentation. The palette is exploding with color, and Spore Hero is shaping up to be a very nice-looking, lighthearted adventure for Wii. The Creature Creator has also been fine-tuned to be a better fit when using the Wii Remote to select menu options. Theres a noticeable difference, of course, in the overall level of definition for textures and effects, but Maxis seems to be doing a great job of taking advantage of the Wiis strong points. The game has a ways to go before completion, leaving plenty for the team to spruce up and add, but we certainly like what weve seen thus far.
If your PC didnt quite have the horsepower to run the original Spore and youve been curious about just what the creative minds at Maxis had come up with, youll now be given another opportunity to experience the wondrous vision of Will Wright. We hope to learn even more about the game in the coming weeks and look forward to Spore Heros release later this year.
CCC Freelance Writer