Oh, what could've been: Space Siege could have stolen a lot of Diablo III's thunder by offering up an addictive hack-and-slash action experience set in a sci-fi setting. But instead, it ends up shooting itself in the foot.

Every few years the folks at Gas Powered Games deliver another instalment of their successful Siege series. Until now they've kept the series grounded in a familiar fantasy hack-n-slash action RPG universe but with the release of Space Siege things have taken a decided turn away from those roots, with unfortunate consequences.

Space Siege begins with a fleet of vicious aliens known only as the Kerak descending upon Earth, the result of failed colonisation programs. Just as the planet is being destroyed, a single ship - the Armstrong - manages to make its way out of the system, only to discover a Kerak pod has attached itself to its hull. You assume the role of Seth Walker, one of the ships trained security detail, who leads the resistance against the alien boarding party. As you repel the aliens, something dramatic happens to the ship and you have to solve the whole mess. 

On the whole, the plot seems badly tacked on - several plot points are never fully explained, characters exist only as shallow foils to give excuses to travel to different parts of the ship, and the game's large twist is so predictable that you see it coming from a mile away.

All this could easily have been forgiven if only the gameplay of Space Siege was up to the task. Games like Diablo and Dungeon Siege, which gave birth to Space Siege, would set you loose in detailed environments with tons of interesting loot and character skills serving as an addictive incentive to keep playing.

All Space Siege had to do was just copy this formula; that's all it had to do. Literally. Just be Diablo in space. That's it. But instead, it's a shallow imitation with none of the fun. The loot system is non-existant, replaced by boring "spare parts" which are collected and then used at periodically placed workbenches to improve characters armour, weapons, or your cybernetic helper, the HR-V unit.

New weapons, instead of being dropped at random, are dolled out at regular intervals throughout the storyline, which basically eliminates one of the main draws of games in this genre.

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