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Tuesday | September 18, 2018
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Space Siege (PC)

Space Siege (PC)

Gas Powered Games are following up their success with Dungeon Siege by releasing a space fared romp aptly titled Space Siege. While the title naming convention is hardly awe-inspiring there is hope that the new title will recapture some of the excitement most of us remember with the original hack ‘n slash.

The game begins with the player hunting down stowaway aliens on board a huge spaceship and in doing so you are put through quite a few predictable twists and turns. Unfortunately the story based development is weak so you never really feel a part of the game and are more a bystander with the primary goal "shoot everything that moves". To be fair a few of the characterisations are interesting, but generally this is one of the titles weak spots.

You are constantly landed in the role of messenger boy with various tasks to complete to progress. These may be, find a room get object X, or get a key for room X. It generally follows the same methodology however so there is really nothing fresh and exciting here, just regurgitated ideas from many other games in the past. The biggest challenge I had was using the Map (M key) as sometimes your objectives are above or below your current floor, and the point of interest doesn’t show that. Later on this can become a bit of a pain in the ass as you spent time hunting for elevators.

Space Siege is classified as an "action RPG", however the focus is clearly more on the action element and the developers have not attempted to deny this. The combat system is clearly point and shoot and to move around, the player simply clicks the mouse on the ground. Granted you can use some number keys for special attacks, but in general the combat and moving system contradict each other. For example if you are in the middle of a firefight and are being attacked by slow moving projectiles …. you need to click off the foe you are firing at, and then on the ground to move out of the way. Once you have moved position, then you can fire again.

Its clumsy and not particularly intuitive either, it is a shame that Gas Powered Games didn’t spend more time in the implementation of a more sophisticated mechanic. Quite why they didn’t put their heads together and say "hey guys, if we use a WASD system for moving wouldn’t that work better?" Doh. This is further compounded by the Dodge function. You move the mouse cursor off the target and onto either side of your character. If I need to explain how dumb this idea is, then we can assume you are probably one of the developers.

Combat isn’t all bad however and there are some interesting objects in the environment to spice things up. For instance there are literally hundreds of explosive barrels and crates scattered everywhere and you can use them to damage the enemy if you time the shots correctly. A well placed barrage of shots when they walk past and BOOM, green alien blood everywhere. You can also lay down turrets or booby traps for surprise attacks. The alien AI is so appallingly bad they are all clearly programmed on "shortest, straight line path" to reach you. So the traps always prove successful.

A rather cool aspect of the game is the fact you can have a robot to accompany you for backup fire power. He is called HR-V or "Harvey". He can be modified with new weapons to improve his chances of dealing with some of the tougher enemy in the game. Basically he follows you around while firing at any aliens he encounters. You are able to give him direct commands such a "move here", "return", or "repair". The last option being a regenerate ability which proves to lengthen his life considerably.  HR-V is a cool character but like everything else in the game it’s all quite shallow and two dimensional, most of the characters lack personality and I couldn’t care less when they died or moved on.

Another problem with HR-V is not directly related, however in combat you are so busy trying to deal with the cumbersome combat system and staying alive that HR-V is generally left to his own devices, which on occasion isn’t ideal. It would be nice to be giving the breathing space to be able to issue him positional and combat commands to enhance the situation. Most of my combat required the same tactics. click to fire as much as possible, move when I could and press F4 to get HR-V to heal himself. If you like sophisticated and engrossing fire fights then look elsewhere because Space Siege totally fails to deliver.

The roleplaying aspects of Space Siege are poor, there are only two skill trees, one for combat and the other for combat engineering abilities. Your progress through these skills is totally out of your hands as you only get advancement points for moving between missions. It all feels much too scripted for my tastes and if they are locking down these abillities, then why not just automatically improve the character as time progresses rather than give the false impression it’s up to the player to do so?

Dungeon Siege was a fun game that offered a lot of modifications and enhancements for the players via the looting system. This basically meant when you beat enemies you could pick up cool new weapons, shields as well as items. This is all non-existent in Space Siege as all we have now is a generic cash based system. You spend this at stations throughout the levels to improve the character. This isn’t quite as bad as it sounds as the game puts some control into your hands as to what you decide to improve. You can improve your health, armour, critical hit attacks, the weapons you pick up as well as certain aspects of HR-V.

Overall, the loot system is weak, and you will never be surprised by picking something up that greatly will enhance your characters fighting statistics. They all come at scripted times throughout the game, such as picking up the rocket launcher when you beat xx mission. It is all basically in the hands of the level designer, whether you like this or not is personal taste, but I personally think it’s awful.

The player gets control over the cybernetic enhancements, you can either choose to install them or not. If you install them, then your character improves in some way but your humanity rating drops by a few percent each time. In theory this would put the player into a moral dilemma, after all would you want to lose your humanity by being part robot with a glowing eye or robotic leg? In practise however, you are so distanced from any emotional connection with the character that you end up not caring, so every enhancement I received was immediately installed, so I could better deal with the clumsy and deeply annoying combat system. By the time I finished the game my character was mainly a cyborg, but all I could think was "great I can de-install this now and free up a few gigabytes of hard drive space".

Graphically, the engine is nothing wonderful, it would have looked good a few years ago, but by today’s standards it is merely acceptable. It runs well on both Nvidia and ATI cards and those of you not on the latest Crysis munching system will be able to max everything without problems. The engine is capped to 60fps, so regardless of whether you have 3 way SLI installed and the latest Quad core, it won’t make much of a difference.

The effects are nice such as the explosions, napalm, rockets and the lighting effects are also quite nifty. Some of the character detail is also quite impressive, with the robots glinting in the light and looking very metallic. Sadly this is somewhat countered by the plethora of similarly coloured hallways and crate filled rooms. You certainly won’t know you are on level 10, because it looks just like the 9 before it. This is probably an intentional design decision, after all you are spending the majority of the game inside a space station type ship, however it just reeks of laziness to me that the environments are so similarly designed.

Aurally, the ambient effects and gunfire are well reproduced but once again, nothing stands out. The score is perfectly fine and the voice acting is decent, but I failed to remember any of it in detail so we are left with another run of the mill aspect of the game.

Space Siege is a decent enough game, and in the current climate of quality starved PC games it should sell a few copies. After playing it all the way through I can’t help but feel however that the developers were going through the motions and the end product lacks some play-testing. The combat system is unfinished, clumsy and the computer AI is quite appalling. Tactically the game is non existent and the looting aspects of Dungeon Siege are missing. There are very limited choices in game which restrict the role playing aspect entirely. I can only moderately recommend the game if you like what you see, otherwise, avoid.



Combat feels fine in the first 10 minutes, but once you work it out all, its lacking in any depth.


The engine is smooth and relatively pretty, but its capped to 60fps and people with high powered systems will feel cheated.


Score is nice, ambient sound effects are acceptable.

I beat it in about 15 hours, but I can’t say it was utterly enjoyable throughout.
(not an average)

Should have been released a few years ago, very dated by today’s standards.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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