Spore is perhaps the biggest letdown of the year, for many reasons. But the biggest and most glaring reason is simply this. For all the hype and build up going into it, the game was simply too short and too easy. What strikes me as being ironic, is that the very first stage of the game is also the most fun. The creature stage was also pretty good — getting to build and tweak your character and mold it into what ever your twisted mind could conjure is pretty damn fun — but the stages to follow were bland and basic at the very best. The tribal and civ stages were too watered down for their own good. They were easy to beat, and so short lived that you really didn’t have a chance to enjoy them. I have issues with the civ stage especially as its so basic that it’s barely any different than the stage before it, and leaves you craving a whole lot more. I expected a whole lot more complexity when I hit the civ stage, something close to the complexity of say a SimCity game. But instead, I got a second version of the tribal stage, only with vehicles now. Some people really enjoyed the space stage, but I found it to be a carrot on a stick, dangling in front of you with no real goal in sight. Almost MMOish, only not as fun.
It’s really unfortunate that a game that has a really innovative design and did things that no other game as ever done falls so short of expectations. It just needed to be more challenging at the later stages and a lot longer, and it probably would have went down as one of the best games ever made.