CES '08: Space Siege Updated Impressions

Gas Powered Games' upcoming action-heavy role-playing game blows stuff up nicely.

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LAS VEGAS--Space Siege is sort of like the plot of the hit show Battlestar Galactica in which the last remnants of humanity flee Earth, pursued by deadly aliens. However, in Space Siege, humanity's last hope inhabits a giant colony ship, which the aliens have just boarded. Thus, it's up to you as protagonist Seth Walker to defeat the bad guys, with the added goal of trying not to lose all of your humanity in the process.

Gas Powered Games is at the Consumer Electronics Show to showcase its latest action role-playing game, one that will strip out a lot of the complex role-playing gameplay that pervaded its spiritual predecessor, Dungeon Siege. To that effect, Space Siege is more of an action game with light RPG elements to it, but one that promises quite a bit of replayability. Like Dungeon Siege, you play from an isometric overhead camera perspective, looking down at Walker as he navigates the detailed interiors of the colony ship. These aren't dynamically generated randomly as they were in Dungeon Siege, but the advantage is that each of the handmade levels will feature a lot more personality and scripted moments.

The demonstration showed off the basic premise of the game, where you'll navigate the interiors of the spaceship, blowing away hundreds of alien opponents in the process. You'll have plenty of weapons at your disposal, as well as skills and abilities. However, the true challenge in Space Siege is figuring out how much you want to turn Walker into less of a human being and more of a cybernetic organism. During the game, you'll be given choices to exchange some of Walker's organic parts for cybernetic parts. These parts may confer powerful bonuses and abilities, but they come at the price of having him become less human. The tradeoff is that the characters in the game will react differently to Walker, especially if he becomes less and less human. There are also very powerful abilities that can only be unlocked if Walker retains his humanity. So where will you draw the line? What choices will you make?

Space Siege differs quite a bit from Dungeon Siege II in that it narrows down the focus of the gameplay to just Walker and his robotic companions. You won't have to juggle multiple characters. This lets you focus on just battling through the game, and the fights will involve plenty of explosions and physics. If you shoot the end of a canister full of compressed volatile material, you can watch it fly like a rocket, pummeling anything in its path. If you toss grenades into a crowded space, bodies and objects fly around the environment.

The replayability comes from being able to play the game different ways, experimenting with both human and cybernetic possibilities. In addition, Space Siege will feature cooperative gameplay in the form of missions. You can team up with up to three other players and have fun blasting your way to different objectives, like killing a boss character or clearing a level entirely of enemies. It all looks very promising, and we'll keep an eye on Space Siege. The game is on track for a fall release date.

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