How much is your eye worth? In Space Siege, the upcoming action role-playing game and spiritual successor to Dungeon Siege from Gas Powered Games, it's about 10 percent of your humanity. That may sound like a lot of humanity considering that one eyeball is so small in mass, but eyes are, after all, the windows to the soul. As combat engineer Seth Walker, you'll have the chance to mortgage your entire body for cybernetic combat upgrades to be used against insidious aliens known as the Kerak.
But selling off your humanity may be the only way to save the human race. The Kerak blew up Earth, and the 1,000 humans left alive are stuck onboard a single colony ship and, guess what, the Kerak are there too. As a veteran combat engineer, Walker is in the unique position to trade in his arms, legs, spine, skull, and eye for cybernetic implants that will give him a considerable combat bonus against the Kerak. We recently sat down with Gas Powered Games to play through a bit of Space Siege as a fully human Seth Walker, as well as the Robocop-in-space Seth Walker.
Throughout Space Siege, you'll be given the choice to upgrade to cybernetic implants. Depending on what path you choose, different skills will become available on the skill tree. Some of the more potent combat bonuses will require you to be mostly cyborg, whereas others, such as discipline and inspiration, require that you remain 100 percent human. Certainly it will take a lot of discipline to play though the game without any upgrades, but you'll be rewarded in the end with multiple endings depending on your style of play.
Thankfully, you'll have a Hodgson's Robotics Unit on your side, a customizable robo-dog named HR-V. He will dutifully follow you through the corridors of the colony ship (which look much like a dungeon in space, for you dungeon-crawler fans), automatically firing at the insect-like aliens. Throughout the ship, you'll find parts that are used as currency to purchase grenades, life packs, weapons, and upgrades for HR-V. Simply find one of the many workbenches scattered around the ships and get to assembling. We bought a few grenades and continued to stalk the ship for Kerak to destroy. You move by clicking the left mouse button and fire with the right mouse button, and most of your skills and HR-V's skills are set as numbered hotkeys. You can also hit E to perform a rolling evade maneuver, something that adds a bit of twitch gameplay to the traditional action RPG formula.
Constantly in your ear is Gina, the ship's communications officer. She's hiding away in a home base, safe from the Kerak, and will update you with mission objectives and drive the storyline in general. She buzzed us to tell us some big news: A second colony ship, the Tachibana, was discovered. Good news for humanity, as well as multiplayer fans. The Tachibana is the setting of a separate campaign that can be played with four players cooperatively, or solo if you're looking for an experience different from the traditional story mode. One caveat: No HR-Vs on the Tachibana. You'll also learn more about the game universe by picking up data pads that are sprinkled around the ship, filled with valuable background information as well as some useless fluff to make you laugh.
Also on board is Dr. Desoto, a chief cyberneticist who will be responsible for your implants. Both Gina and Desoto want you to destroy the Kerak, but they disagree on the use of the implants. Desoto entertains a "whatever it takes" mentality, whereas Gina prefers that Seth keep his humanity intact. When all is said and done, Gina wants to wrap her arms around a man, not a robot. Of course, that decision is yours.
It's sort of a slippery slope, this cybernetics business. After several missions, you'll suddenly be offered a new implant that promises strength and reaction bonuses, at the expense of only 10 percent of your humanity. 10 percent? That's nothing. That's a receding hairline. That's a love handle. But as you progress through the game and the Kerak become increasingly difficult, these decisions grow in difficulty, too, until finally your skull is reinforced with titanium and you shoot lasers from your eyeballs. We had only a few minutes with Space Siege, but you can already feel the tension brought on by these decisions. If anything, you at least have a reason to play through the game twice.
Visually, Space Siege featured some detailed textures and vibrant lighting, although the cargo bay that we fought in was generally drab in appearance. The game won't support DirectX 10, but it isn't a graphical slouch, either. For those who can't wait for dungeon crawler Diablo III, Space Siege will be worth a look later this year.