Space Siege is not only hugely similar to its progenitor Dungeon Siege, but it also borrows thoughtlessly from umpteen successful games of the last five years. The result is a wholly unoriginal creation burdened by memories attached to the good ideas it’s imitating, and made worse by the sloppy execution of basic mechanics.
Set aboard a spaceship in the near future, you’re a generic space marine challenged to clear the decks of arbitrarily angry aliens using an array of guns. You collect upgrade materials that are then used to upgrade your weapon, your armour, or your mute robot sidekick. At intervals you are presented with the choice of installing a new cybernetic implant – an arm, an eye, a spine, or some legs. The choice is touted as being important, with an apparent loss of humanity if you accept the implants. But aside from slightly different available skills, there’s no tangible consequence.
As you progress, you encounter greater numbers of gaming clichés. Small girls will run across corridors, giggling, only to vanish when out of sight. The ship’s artificial intelligence is acting suspiciously and may have ulterior motives. You listen to a lot of conveniently placed audio recordings from unseen crew members.
There’s a very deliberate pattern to hack-and-slash dungeon crawlers. Monsters are killed, treasure is collected and used to buy new equipment, which in turn facilitates greater monster killing. When done right the fountains of gold, advancing levels and satisfying sounds result in a trance-like flow of satisfaction. When the sounds are forgettable, the fountains are dry and the advances are irrelevant, it’s as dull as this.