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By Thomas McKinnon 6 October 2008

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Spore has been described by many as one of the most ambitious undertakings in gaming history. Will Wright’s latest creation is truly epic in its scope as players have the ability to shape the entire evolution of a species from a single celled organism to a race of galactic voyagers. The possibilities that such a concept creates seem almost limitless.

Spore is made up of five distinct stages; the Cell, Creature, Tribal, Civilization and Space phases. As you move through the stages you are able to customise your creature, clothing, buildings, and vehicles via various creation tools. Without a doubt these creation tools are the game’s greatest asset. The tools available at the Creature phase really shine through. You will have the ability to shape each and every part of your creature; as you twist and resize its body or add collected appendages you will grow ever fonder of your evolving being. It is at this point that Wright’s genius hits you. The ability of players to completely manage and create the most essential content in the game and better still to share that content is revolutionary.

Following the Creature phase, ­however much of your customisations become purely aesthetic and fail to create any real difference between your creations and other civilizations. As the game progresses your choice of being a peaceable, social creature or a conquering, militaristic one seems to matter less and less as you are faced with the inevitable ‘survival of the fittest’ reality of evolution.

The Space phase in particular requires that you build a military force as other empires constantly attempt to extinct you. In addition the Space stage is extremely vast which makes timed missions tough, if not impossible, as you are constantly absorbed in low-level tasks such as trade and warding off pirate invasions. The good news is that EA have released a new patch which fixes some of these issues making gameplay slightly less frustrating.

While the possibilities for this game appear limitless, Will Wright and his team have not yet seen to it that the game lives up to its potential. Early online feedback has been mixed and often very critical. Hopefully the game’s first patch will go some way to ­addressing these criticisms.

PROS
The customization tools and scope of the game are amazing.
CONS
The early stages lack depth and the gameplay can be very simple.
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