Space Siege
Reviewed: 09/02/2008

Space Siege is, a sci-fi action-RPG set in 2202, Gas Powered Games newest offering for the PC. Space Siege is very much in the vein of previous gas powered games Dungeon Siege I and II in much of the design and level aesthetics as well gameplay. Like its high fantasy predecessor Dungeon Siege and Diablo series, Space Siege is mainly about visceral action and using items, skills, and magi…I’m sorry “engineering skills,” to defeat all threats to the players character, his comrades, and humanity.

The basic premise is simple and players are hit with it all in the opening video. Humanity has begun colonizing the galaxy but then, as things are often prone to do, calamity strikes in the form of the Kerak. The Kerak attack a colony, and then follow distress the colonist distress calls to other colonies and began a systematic extermination of the human race, quickly making it to Earth. Earth’s defenses were no match and thousands meet their doom as spaceship try to flee to some a habitable planet.

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Hey look a hallway…Get used to the view

This is where the player’s story begins; as Sergeant Seth Walker aboard the last remaining human vessel, the ISCS Armstrong, the only vessel to flee Earth successfully. The catch is the Armstrong has been boarded by one of the Kerak vessels and many of their army now roams the ship, killing all in their path. Players will be required to quickly listen to the advice of your commanding officer and PILOT, the ships virtual AI that runs everything, and set in motion events that cause the ship to flood with gas in effort to kill off the Kerak as the remaining survivors of the vessel sleep in hibernation chambers. After successfully completing the mission, Seth awakens a week later, everything’s gone to hell in a hand basket, The Kerak where immune, much of the human contingent where killed as they slept, and many of the humans with cybernetic implants have now turned on their fellow man. It’s up to Seth and a small band of plucky fighters to save the last remnants of humanity (mostly you).

The Space Siege gameplay is much what player’s of Dungeon Siege would expect from Gas Powered Games, with the majority of battles being firefights against Kerak and cybernetic enemies as you explore hallways and random rooms. This consists mostly of pressing right-click and holding down on the enemy the player would like to fire your weapon at, with interspersions of 1-9 as you use skills, items, and health packs. The focus of this action-RPG is certainly more geared towards the action with not much option for RPG and little customization.

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Oooh a bridge in the hallway…

Customization will be in the form of two skill tech trees focusing on either combat or engineering skills, and upgrades to the character’s armor, various weapons, or HR-V, the robotic side-kick. The most significant decision, in terms of story, is the installation of cyber modifications. This brings up an interesting irony throughout the game, player’s are tasked with saving the last of humanity, but are they willing to give up their humanity in order to accomplish this, and if so, how much of it? These decisions will help guide the story along its few paths, along with a decision towards the final moments of the game, to determine which ending story arc players will receive.

The story in Space Siege is not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. It has been done many times before and most players will guess the twists and outcomes long before they come to pass. Player’s will find much of the same tired clichés that have worn thin over the years. One aspect that was quite refreshing was the decision of whether or not the main character should give up his humanity in order to save it. Unfortunately this was not made into all it could have been with much of this discussion being a segue into installing optional bonuses, although this decision greatly affects the direction of the story, players are not made aware of the gravity of this decision until much later. Space Siege’s story is very linear, with events happening either as plot components or as chatter over radios or recordings, outside of very few key decisions the player will make, often unknowingly, the story will just chug along.

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DIE Stereotypical alien nemesis!

Space Siege presents itself in a 3rd person, over the shoulder viewpoint that can be zoomed out almost to appear isometric. Unfortunately the angle of the camera makes it difficult to see very far into the distance, making long range attacks a little more difficult at times. Graphically, the game is quite pretty and the aesthetics feel in place. With the setting that does not lend itself well to variety the level design quickly grows boring; players will often get a feeling of deja vu as they run down yet another hallway lined with random rooms with many of the same encounters, traps, and “ambush” places.

The music is not bad, but not great. It’s strictly mediocre. It is never distracting but neither does it ever stand out; it is wholly unforgettable. The entire story is presented in voice-overs; it was performed quite solidly and is one of the better acted gaming scripts.

Space Siege was not a great game, but it understood what it was aiming for, it never tried to be something it wasn’t and it was fun. Lasting approximately six to eight hours, the game remained fresh enough as to not get to repetitive and lose the players attention. However, it’s not a safe bet that many players will beat this game several times over, even to see the multiple endings. Fans of sci-fi games looking to quench their thirst in the genre or players needing a Diablo style fix until their lives are ruined should give this a serious look.

-Michael Wayland

Score Breakdown


Out of 10

See our Review Criteria

Gameplay Very Good
Story Below Average
Graphics Good
Sound/Music Average
Replay Value Below Average
The Verdict: Six