Darkspore

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Darkspore Game Poster Image
Bloody action RPG encourages online play and text chatting.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players are encouraged to work together with others as they take on difficult new missions in the game’s story mode, making teamwork a persistent theme. However, the game also sensationalizes sci-fi violence, entertaining players with long stretches of frenetic, bloody combat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Our nonhuman heroes are mute and without personality. They serve only to fight by the player's command. Without the game's female narrator, who explains that our goal is to rid the galaxy of the evil darkspore infestation, it would be difficult to distinguish whether we were fighting for good or evil.

Ease of Play

The game begins very simply, with players needing only to click on the enemies they wish to attack. However, as their roster of customizable heroes grows, players will need to spend considerable time tinkering with accessories and equipment and learning which hero types fare best against certain enemies in order to create strong squads capable of dealing with increasingly tough alien foes.

Violence

Players pit customizable creatures in battle against evil “darkspore” monsters. Action is viewed from a raised perspective, making the combatants almost seem like miniatures. However, the violence can be brutal. There isn’t any gore or dismemberment, and all of the violence is between nonhuman beasts, but creatures slash, bite, and shoot each other, spraying blood through the air to create glistening puddles of crimson within the environment.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Darkspore is a violent action RPG that encourages players to connect with others online. Its light story about fighting off an alien menace takes a backseat to sensationalized sci-fi violence, which, though not gory, is often exceptionally bloody. Teamwork with human allies -- either friends or strangers -- is all but necessary to succeed, especially in the game's extremely difficult later missions. Voice chat in online play is not supported, but players do engage in open text chat communication. For this online play, an optional profanity blocker can be switched on or off.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written bySpudling July 10, 2011

Not as bad as you think!!!

I partook in beta testing for this game and found it to be a very enjoyable experience. The violence is nowhere as extreme as the review makes it (a common ocur... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 10, 2011

Good for older kids not for younger kids

I have this game but I dont think its that bad besides the violence being quite bloody and brutal its quite good, not for kids whith adults that dont like blood... Continue reading

What's it about?

An unlikely follow-up to 2009’s difficult-to-define Spore, DARKSPORE is essentially a dungeon-crawling action role-playing game with a sci-fi bent. The tenuous connection to its predecessor -- a game that allows players to create and evolve species -- comes in a creature editor that allows players to customize the look and abilities of their heroes, adding new horns and eyes and armor wherever they like, then modifying their shape and appearance by pulling and spinning little arrow icons.

Set in multiple locations across the galaxy, players control squads of “hero” creatures who must battle back the game's titular genetic menace, hordes of swarming monsters that have decimated worlds. Players can work through the story alone, but are encouraged to team up with others to take on the darkspore threat. Without the help of allies, many missions becoming dauntingly difficult. A player-versus-player mode exists as well.

Is it any good?

Darkspore looks nice and its combat should prove instantly accessible to anyone who has played an action RPG. What’s more, it delivers satisfying rewards in the form of 100 unlockable heroes and countless pieces of ability-altering equipment. Indeed, many players will spend almost as much time in the hero editor as they do on the battlefield, striving to create the most powerful squad possible to take on what often turns out to be extremely challenging missions.

Indeed, the difficulty may end up turning off some players, especially if they aren't adventuring with experienced players. It’s unfortunate that the game isn’t more conducive to people interested in a solo experience. It could also do with a meatier story. None of our heroes talk -- the game’s only voice comes from a cold, computer-like narrator -- and the story feels a little soulless as a result. There’s no human element for players to latch onto. Still, if you enjoy a good challenge, fancy multiplayer gaming, and appreciate a well-designed and rewarding action RPG battle system, there’s a lot here to like.

Online interaction: Players are strongly encouraged to team up with others -- including strangers -- to play cooperative and competitive games online. Players are automatically logged into a server at the game’s outset and can see other players freely communicating with one another in a dialogue box at the bottom of the screen. An optional profanity filter is capable of blocking most curses, but doesn’t stop players from discussing inappropriate subjects or sharing personal information.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Do bloody battles against alien creatures have the same impact as realistic simulated combat between humans?

  • Families can also discuss online safety. Games like this one support large Internet communities. How do you ensure you remain safe while chatting with strangers?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Electronic Arts
  • Release date: April 29, 2011
  • Genre: Role Playing
  • ESRB rating: T for Blood, Violence

For kids who love fast-paced games

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