Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony
Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony is again a Diable-like dungeon crawler or whatever you want to call those variations on the action RPG prototype. It seems that after Untold Legends, the PSP will enjoy a series of Dungeon Siege games and for me that’s just a bit too much, but who am I?
Those that love this type of gameplay will be pleased to know that Gas Powered Games did their homework and deliver a single player experience that can match that of its bigger brothers on PC. Just like on your monitor, you’ll be able to enjoy hack&slash a volonte, beautiful and quite inspired graphics, pets and of course the necessary dungeons and outside areas.
What immediately gets noticed is that the PSP version has a couple of typical shortcomings but also manages to stray away from several known issues of the handheld. The inventory is easy to use but the loading times are too long for a handheld, something that’s pretty bad for a game that relies on action. Also the menus are somewhat harder to navigate than you would want, a mouse would certainly come in handy, and the area displayed on the screen is too little for those that like shooting enemies from a distance.
That isn’t just only unfortunate due to the fact that more often than you’d like you’ll start firing before you can see something (the mini-map is your friend, don’t forget) but also because the surroundings are quite nicely developed. It even reminded me at times of the atmosphere in Diablo 2, a serious compliment. Too bad then that there’s clearly been less emphasys on the main characters in development.
Starting in this world you do by making a choice out of three possible characters: Serin, an elf that’s looking for her destiny and shines in agility; Mogrim, a fat bastard that likes hitting people in the face to save his people of giants and last but not least, Allister who feels well at home in the world of magic. You can imagine which avatar goes best with which playing style and for those that want more subtlety and depth there’s the possibility to build up your class later in the game. This delivers some good personalisation and of course the necessary replayability (next to an unlockable extra high difficulty level and multiplayer options) for those who’s PSP buttons haven’t fallen off yet.
Surprising and fun is that each character can choose a friend so that you never have to go out alone. Even more surprising is that these don’t have an infant AI but that they actually help you efficiently by navigating through the dungeons, attack enemies when necessary and even can take a step back and retreat.
This is all very in contradiction to the AI of those that work against you and run in your way. This they, however, don’t usually do as they prefer you put an arrow or axe in their behind and even then you have to make a deep cut in order for them to notice they’re supposed to do something against you. Luckily there’s plenty of villains that stand their ground so that it isn’t becoming a health run. The bosses add a little to that and will give you a decent challenge.
In the end, the conclusion is positive: Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony is a solid game with enough depth, beautiful graphics and more than enough content to keep you occupied for a while. If you want an action RPG on the PSP then this game is without a doubt one you’ll have to get. If you don’t like Diablo and its copycats then this dungeon crawler won’t be able to convince you of the opposite.