Dungeon Siege II

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a game by Microsoft
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review, 3 reviews are shown
User Rating: 9.3/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Dungeon Games
Dungeon Siege II
Dungeon Siege II
Dungeon Siege II
Dungeon Siege II

Playing the original Dungeon Siege was a bit like getting a beautifully-wrapped present, tearing through the layers of shiny paper and ribbons with childish anticipation, only to find you were holding an egg whisk and a book on birds of the Northern lakelands. In short, it had a beautiful style but the substance was terribly dull.

Thankfully, Kevin Lambert, lead designer on Dungeon Siege II, assures us that the sequel is set to offer something a bit more substantial. "We already had a beautiful engine in place so we could really focus on the content this time and listen to what the fans really wanted," explains Kevin. "Everyone said that they wanted to see more of a story and better characterisation, so that's what we've given them."

Under Current

At first glance, DS2 doesn't look that different to the original: the environments are a bit more lush and colourful, along with some nice spell effects - but it doesn't appear to be radically different. This is because most of the main changes lurk just below the surface.

The main players from DS are still there: ranger, fighter, combat and nature mage, although now you can diversify them much more so your character can specialise in different spell powers and specific weapon disciplines. OK, so it's not what you might call original, but given that the Dungeon Siege combat system was very slick to begin with, features like these can only enhance it.

The Al is another area which the developer has tweaked, and now the monsters are much sneakier in the way they attack your party. Not only do the little devils use foliage for camouflage, they also lead you into ambushes and target certain members of your party if they have a particular grudge against their discipline.

Show Me The Loot

"Players love lots of items - they're always looking for that next big weapon. It's the Las Vegas jackpot mentality," says Kevin as he shows off some of the new unique and set items in the game. "You'll be able to find some awesome items in Dungeon Siege II which you'll want to keep for ages because you can't bear to give them up."

DS2 also gives you the opportunity to collect magical reagents which, when combined with the right weapon and the help of an enchanter, enable you to have customised weaponry - a feature that was sadly lacking from the original. Unlike the DS expansion Legends of Aranna. Dungeon Seige II looks like it's addressed all the niggling problems of the first game, while still retaining the seamless environments and sublimem combat. Add into that an engaging storyline and good dialogue, and we could well have the quintessential 3D action role-player on our hands.

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PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Go Anywhere in the business world and someone's guaranteed to have a great hook...

"We're going to bring the Japanese Sushi experience to England. "The Internet Honest it's going to be huge. "Gonzo porn.

Come to games and it gets a bit tougher.

"Plot. We're all about the plot." "Characters. Because if you don't care about the characters what's the point?" "Real-time graphics and sound." "Tits. And bush." And pretty much to a man (aside from the third, and he was new and his head was saying things that made no sense), they fail to deliver.

Not the original Dungeon Siege. Because it aimed low. "No story!"

Check.

"Donkeys that carry your possessions so you don't have to pretend that you can fit six shields, 27 potions of plenty, a staff of giving, and a cloak of prettiness into your tiny backpack."

Check.

"Pretty things to hit with your sword and a huge f***-off dragon." Check.

And that's why we liked it But it's also the reason that it never rose to the rank of the unmissable. It was, in three words, good shallow fun. So, Dungeon Siege II then? More of the same? Yes and no...

From Small Seeds...

Despite it seeming pretty obvious at the time, Gas Powered Games has finally cottoned onto the fact that an RPG needs a decent backdrop. It's not enough to wander through beautifully rendered 3D environments, right-clicking various bad things into submission. You need to care. So Dungeon Siege 2 has a story. One that develops as you progress through the game. It's not a great story, but it's a story nonetheless, and it's actually enough to make you want to carry on playing. (It revolves around a big sword, a big shield, some nasty guys, some good guys, and you and your party of exotic adventurers. Damn, that's just about given it all away. Sorry.) And as well as adding a story, it looks like Gas Powered lias taken inspiration from some of the top WWII FPSs for its intro and ease-in tutorial, which puts you in the middle of a big battle - complete with trenches - as a sword for hire. It quickly becomes apparent that you're not just a run-of-the-mill mere though, and it also transpires that you've chosen to fight for the wrong side. Drevin, your mate, is killed, you're badly wounded by the bloke who hired you (Valdis) and you wake up, and the game starts proper with you locked up like a dirty criminal. After proving you're not as bad as you seem, and getting a few far-from-cryptic nods of support from those with foresight (would you believe that you're actually the direct descendant of Azunai the Defender? Well blow me, what a coincidence...), you're freed and ready to start levelling up.

But there are no Everquest rats in Dungeon Siege II. In a cunning twist, you spend the first few hours tackling walking seafood and gaining cash, experience and the ability to equip fantastic new powers via a skill tree that you can add to when you've been particularly fearsome in battle. These add spectacularly awesome firepower to your arsenal, and it's one of the highlights of the game, with the likes of Brutal Attack (a Ronseal), Chain Lightning, and nicer Nature Magic like Healing and Resurrection. You're not going to get far without using these so it's worth spending a bit of time poring over the different options and specialising in a couple of big 'uns.

Party Time

You don't need a crowd to have a party. But it helps. Size is limited by cash (up to an eventual maximum of six). For some unknown reason (and if we had the option of killing NPCs he would have eaten it by now) you have to pay the landlord of the inn to get permission to recruit others. So choose wisely. And make sure you've got a good balance of melee, ranged and magic users if you want to make mincemeat of some of the nastier opponents. Unlike the first DS, you get to choose from four basic classes at the start of the game - Human (which somebody called 'boring' in a recent preview. Issues?), HalfGiant, Elf and Dryad, each with different strengths and weaknesses, and your choice here obviously impacts the recruits you'll make. You can also buy yourself a pet, an extension of the pack mule from the original.

OK, it's about time for the first niggle. Party formations are too simple. To set up you just drag the portrait of the character you want at the front to the top, and vice versa. It works but it doesn't give you much scope for proper tactical fighting. You can also bark out two commands - Mirror and Rampage - which tell your party to focus on one strong adversary, or just run amok if you're faced with a bunch of crabs (DS/fs equivalent of EQs rats).

Giant Game

But let's not get too bogged down in the minutiae. DSII is a supposed epic and although it's not far removed from its predecessor in terms of being an out-and-out action RPG (the right button on your mouse will take a pounding), there are a few puzzles and the odd bit of NPC interaction to drag you through to the bitter end. And it's hu-uge; it'll take you about 60-70 hours to get through the whole thing. But for some reason it doesn't particularly gel and it leaves you feeling a bit bewildered. Yes, it draws you back and makes you want to carry on playing but you are never quite sure why. The story's ok. The missions are fair to average. The dialogue's nothing to get in a lather about. It just doesn't feel particularly inspiring. At least not until you've played through a good ten hours of pretty mundane stuff.

Where's the hook? The first one had donkeys. And superb flashy graphics that made you go 'Ooh'. Dungeon Siege II doesn't seem to think it needs one as long as it delivers a solid experience in every area Unfortunately it leaves you feeling like you're running through the motions, playing a game you've played a few hundred times before, only with different characters.

Sympathy Shag

Although it seems trite these days to castigate a game for not looking good, it's not going to stop me having a pop. Frankly, DSII looks old, worn, and a bit ragged round the edges; the sort of game Wayne Rooney might fancy his chances with. Credit where it's due, the interface itself is a dream - it's something Gas Powered has always bragged about and not without reason. You can swivel the camera by moving your cursor to the edge of the screen, zoom in, zoom out, arrange crane shots (we the made the last one up, but you get the point) and generally look at things exactly how you want. But however you look at things, they don't look good. In fact make use of the zoom function and you can see just how messy things really are (and there's no playing the game at that level anyway). In fact it doesn't look much better than the original which, at the time, was pretty in a "Wow, look down at that path underneath the rope bridge I'm standing on" sort of way. And we were expecting more of the same in the sequel, but jazzed up to celebrate the fact that we're living in the year 2005. Instead we get this.

Maybe we were expecting too much, but when you've got the likes of the new Age of Empires winning Best Graphics In The World awards left and right and the new Elder Scrolls game on the horizon, this just doesn't cut it Hell, even World of Warcraft looks better than this, and that's an online game. There's no excuse, so we're not going to hang around waiting for one. And yes, we think it does impact on the game itself. An RPG like this is all about exploration. You want to round a corner and be hit in the face with an awe-inspiring vista, not a few crummy hills and the odd fairly impressive-looking dragon. Shame. On. You.

And that as they say, is that What you get for your money is an exceptionally solid RPG with plenty of life in it but one that doesn't do anything particularly different to anything else on the market and for that reason alone it guarantees one of our shiny new Recommended awards, but nothing more.

It is near the end of the Second Age. You have been hired as a mercenary by Valdis, prince of the North, to eradicate the enemies of his reign. Wealth and glory await you, so you are told. But when Valdis betrays you and your friends at his moment of victory, you find yourself captured by the very creatures you were busy fighting. How could things get any worse? Believe me, they will.

Dungeon Siege II from developer Gas Powered Games takes you to the same world of Dungeon Siege, albeit a different continent than the original. Here, your character is again completely under your control as you strive to become a great magician, or fighter, or ranger, or whatever combination you desire. The character driven story is, like the original title, quite excellent and engrossing, with exciting although predictable twists and turns in the story. A myriad of secondary quests are available, some quickly and easily solved, others making you backtrack to earlier towns or areas in search of previously inaccessible areas.

If you're familiar with the previous incarnation, or any Diablo-style game for that matter, you'll notice the interface to be much the same as the original; an isometric top down view with better zoom and directional control. The new interface, however, has some differences worth noting. First off, though many new features have been added (which I'll discuss later), some earlier controls have been simplified. Instead of the more familiar party controls that selected party distribution and aggressive/defensive behavior, you now have a much simpler interface that allows either Mirror (everyone attacks the same target) or Rampage (free for all) formations. Personally, I liked the old interface better, but that's just a preference issue. Products such as potions and spells consume and replenish health and mana differently as well, replenishing health slowly rather than instantaneously, which makes for some getting used to.

Graphics are very, very good. A more polished version of the original Dungeon Siege graphics, Dungeon Siege II boasts richer level design, a better, more intuitive 'radar'? and much better skinned items and NPCs. Audio is a mixed bag, with sound effects being acceptable, but voice acting ranging from acceptable to appalling.

As far as gameplay is concerned, Dungeon Siege II is a more detailed analysis of leveling and character creations. The addition of leveling pets, along with summoned creatures, is a plus and works well. Also, a lot of the clutter is reduced from the original with less nature and combat magic spells, but different unique and rare items (perhaps a bit too many for my tastes). Ranged weapons increase from the bow/crossbow limitations and add thrown weapons, and skill sets with melee branch off into specialized sets, such as two weapon and sword-shield fighting styles. There is also the special attack option for skill sets, which add the extra punch necessary for winning some combat situations.

Frankly, Dungeon Siege II is everything Diablo should have been. Better story, more diverse action, continuously loading world, and better graphical interface. Highly Recommended.

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