|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gas Powered Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 12, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
However, the skill trees are limited by one major factor: Installing cybernetic implants. While the player is involved in removing the alien presence aboard the colony ship, a small side-story unfolds involving the ethical problems associated with cybernetic implants. Are they good, are they bad, when is it too much, how much of one's humanity should be sacrificed to save humanity all the philosophical questions gamers could ask for. The problem is that more than half of the skills on both trees require the installation of a specific cybernetic part. So, if you want that increased damage skill, the player may have to remove their eye and replace it with a cybernetic one, making them more robot than man.
In an attempt to offset the imbalance between the limited number of skills for human players and the more numerous amount for cybernetic players, GPG gives each tree one skill that provides large bonuses, as long as the player remains 90% human. To make the situation worse, those two skills are the only perks for deciding to stay mostly human, unless the player counts feelings of self-satisfaction, but that certainly isn't a gameplay element GPG coded.
Space Siege deviates from classic and fun RPG mechanics by eliminating experience points and character levels. Sure, this takes the pain away from grinding for levels or experience, but it also reduces the possibility of non-linear gameplay to zero. Players earn two skills points at scripted stages of the game, making it the exact same character progression experience every time it's played, which completely undermines the very notion of replay value.
And, while RPGs are known for being nothing short of "treasure hunts" where players will search long and hard for the best weapons, armors, and upgrades, Space Siege removes all of that by telling the player exactly what weapons are usable and when they can be picked up. This same idea also applies to the cybernetic implants that are found. So, even though weapons can be upgraded, the player can't find a better version of a rifle or even craft one. Instead, the player accumulates machine parts throughout the game which can be traded for upgrades, grenades, health packs, and other various items. In this sense, Space Siege is more like a standard side-scrolling adventure game, but instead of hunting for shiny rings or gold coins, the player is hunting for spare parts.
The single-player campaign provides a rigid and linear gameplay experience, but GPG designed the multiplayer component almost exactly the same way. Up to four players can connect together using GPG's service, GPGNet. And, instead of the players completing the same story and objectives they did in the single-player campaign, the multiplayer takes place on an entirely different colony ship, with an entirely different set of objectives. Unfortunately, there is only one multiplayer scenario, meaning that once completed, the only option is to keep playing it over and over. Add to this the lack of a map or level designer, and the multiplayer experience ends up equaling the single-player experience in replay value.
Overall, Space Siege is mildly entertaining, but many of its features will leave the player feeling unsatisfied. Conversely, Space Siege does manage to do some things right, such as making combat fun, which is practically a given considering how much time is spent cutting through enemies. The lack of atmosphere, tension, and urgency doesn't help either, especially since the player is supposed to feel like humanity is on its last leg. The characters fit into the common stereotypes, making them far too shallow to be interesting. In the end, Space Siege attempts to blend the Action and RPG genres, but all it manages to do is strip the best parts of both and throw what's left into a heap of cybernetic rubble, making fans of both genres equally disappointed.
CCC Freelance Writer