Dungeon Siege II
When Dungeon Siege saw the light a couple of years ago it was seen as a 3D version of the Diablo-series. Gas Power Games had given it beautiful graphics and a lot of action. That the classic RPG elementssuffered a bit didn’t matter much to gamers but the game didn’t get to become an overwhelming success like Diablo 2. Whether the developers managed to improve the gameplay with the successor Dungeon Siege II is something you can quickly find out by reading this review
With DSII we finally get again a huge game to play, be sure to spend many hours before getting through it. Once you’re done you’ll have clicked an impressive number of times on your mouse, killed a massive amount of monsters, and collected a ton of loot. And that’s what this game is all about: hacking & slashing your way through different surroundings and dungeons together with your party while in the meantime collecting stuff and building your characters.
The enemies are quite varied and some bosses may surprise you more than you expet. Too bad that your opponents aren’t too bright or hard to beat. Epic fights like in Baldur’s Gate 2 aren’t present. The makers tried to keep the game as accessible as possible and preferred more but easier hostiles. Admitted, after completing it a first time you can replay on a higher difficulty setting, but at that time I didn’t feel like wearing out yet another mouse!
Just like its predecessor, this game is mostly a single player experience. Although you get to form your character in a limited way in the beginning, this isn’t Guild Wars or World of Warcraft. Still, you won’t be lonely as your party will have upto 6 avatars (4 during the first time playing) and for the first time you can form them to your own wishes as well. If you rather replace one of those characters by a pet this is also perfectly possible! There’s amongst others choice between donkeys, dragons and other vermin.
It doesn’t stay with taking along these quite independently playing friends during your excursions; at any time during play you can switch to either character in your party. On top of that it’s very easy to give simple commands like asking them to kill everything that moves or do exactly the same as you. Also on other aspects the interface is well done and the controls have been kept easy. Attack is done with the right mouse, walk with left, mages can autocast and items can be collected with one press of a button.
Equally done well, with just enough depth for the more experienced dungeon dweller, are the RPG parameters. You can choose out of 4 classes: ranger, fighter, combat mage and nature mage. You’ll have to build up further by following its class though; don’t let a nature mage kick ass with a warhammer. Each class has 12 different skills (one more fun than the other) that can be increased as you want. As usual you first have to make the lower skills as good as possible before you can start choosing the more advanced ones. Finally, you also have special powers that come in handy although their use is limited.
Next to the fighting part in such games, the collecting of cool items is one of the most fun aspects. Sadly enough, the game does disappoint a bit here as you don’t really need all those best weapons and armour to get rid of the opponents and also because I found the stuff in Diablo 2 a lot more addictive. The donkeys and teleporters that easily return you to the city to get rid of your loot in exchange for gold did come in handy though.
The fighting and collecting is done is beautiful surrounds. Especially on one of the higher resolutions everything looks great, the models are very detailed and also the design is very good. The setting of course remains inspired by the traditional fantasy world but the one portrayed by Dungeon Siege II is believeable and doesn’t test your imagination too much. Also we don’t get a too big deja-vu feeling which can only be seen as a plus, especially when you know that you’ll have to cross the typical (but excellently put on screen) woods, dungeons and sandplains.
It’s always hard to judge the sound but the soundtrack does nicely make the atmosphere. This is very atmospheric and adapts depending on the location and activity. Also the effects during fights are well done and give you a feeling that you’re part of something bigger. The voice-acting is reasonable but as usual I tended to skip it.
Nice and refreshing is the option to play the story with a friend. You can even import your singleplayer party and use it. Too bad that you always have to start from the beginning though, this does limit the fun factor of this option.
Dungeon Siege II is a decent action-RPG that has everything you can expect from such a game. Unfortunately you can only unlock the higher difficulty settings only after finishing the game, the storyline and gameplay are a bit too mediocre and after a dozen of hours repetitiveness starts kicking in. If you’re looking for a game in this genre and you like predecessors like Sacred or Diablo 2, then the beautiful Dungeon Siege II will certainly give you enough for your hard earned money!