Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna

a game by Microsoft
Platform: PC
Rating: 7/10

When the Shadowjumper broke free of its prison and stole the fabled Staff of Stars, it spelled certain extinction to the remainer of the Utraeans, one of the fabled elder races of Aranna. However, the Shadowjumper hadn't considered that a hero might rise up to defend all of the races of this ancient continent. Now the fate of the Utraeans, as well as many other peoples, is held in your capable hands. So go forth, and become one of the Legends of Aranna!

Dungeon Siege has had a facelift, and the Legends of Aranna is the perfect vehicle to continue the legacy the original Dungeon Siege gave the world. Sporting new races, weapons, items, and spells, LoA has also added some nice new features sure to inspire almost all of the Dungeon Siegers out there. One of these is stackable armor and weapon 'sets'?, which increase in power as you add pieces to your collection. New spells include added summoning, projectile, and action spells sorely missed in the original title, including invisibility, teleportation/disintegration of enemies, elemental orbs and the interesting 'glyph'? spell sets.

Graphics are fantastic as always, and the continuous, real-time world is even better realized than the original. Control is still point-and-click, but improved command control makes for an easier, more intuitive gaming experience. The audio is also excellent just like the original. You'll certainly enjoy the thematic mood of the game, whether it be eerie, ghostly themes or a martial march.

In fact, I have few complaints. I would've liked to see a larger area in which to explore and find out more about the races of Aranna. This was somewhat of a disappointment considering how large some of the fan-based additions have been. Also, I would have liked to see a streamlining of some spell branches, or perhaps a better balance of spells. I still wonder in this case if less is more, as the balance of spells in the original seemed to lack.

Even so, Dungeon Siege is still the penultimate multiplayer hack'n'slash. There's still a huge following online, even with the delay in producing this addition. The game plays much as it did previously, though with a more robust multiplay screen and more options. Lots of helpful people still populate the DS multiverse, and even new players should get up to speed quickly. Did I also mention Legends of Aranna bundles with the original Dungeon Siege for you DS neophytes? Quite the fine idea.

This is a fantastic title, and should score points both for Diablo -style dungeon crawlers as well as adventure/RPG hybrid lovers. With no load time between levels, it's also good for those with shorter attention spans. Always good to see improvement on an already excellent title, and I give this a full Highly Recommended.

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