Dungeon Siege II

By Scott Parrino 13 Oct 2005 0

Introduction

I had high hopes for the original Dungeon Siege. Coming from Gas Powered Games, a new company founded by Total Annihilation designer Chris Taylor, I had Dungeon Siege reserved two months before it released. My experience with Total Annihilation was one of complete enjoyment, and although it?s hard to admit, I was then a Diablo II addict. Well, I still am. However, three years ago, my Diablo II addiction was even worse than it is now, which should say something about how much I enjoyed Total Annihilation. With the help of World of Warcraft, I have started to make in-roads to breaking the Diablo II habit. And I figured what could be better than a wicked-looking 3D game in the Diablo II mode that offers control of a full party? I had tried other pretenders to the throne?Revenant and Nox come to mind?but I hadn?t found a single action/RPG as exhilarating and rewarding as Diablo II.

The original Dungeon Siege had big shoes to fill, but showed a great deal of promise. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a big disappointment. After ten hours of play, I uninstalled it and offered it to my wife. I just couldn?t get into the game. The universe seemed too dry, too generic; the gameplay too repetitive. It was just too shallow. I knew it was a quality game; it just wasn?t a quality game I could enjoy. This sentiment was further reinforced by the wife. She installed the game, finished it in a week, then went on to further adventuring online.

Discovering the first shard.

Boom goes the Morden tower.

But sequels are always a chance for new hope, and I was curious to see how Dungeon Siege II would turn out. From what I had read, it sounded like the developers were improving the fundamental gameplay with focus on character advancement, plot progression, and interface. With the wife prodding me from behind to hurry and finish Dungeon Siege II before I had even installed it, I sat down to mouse and keyboard?er, I donned my leather and grabbed my bow?and again set out to save Aranna. With any luck, I would have more fun than the first time.

The Plot

As soon as I had spent half an hour with Dungeon Siege II, it was obvious that the main character?s motivation wasn?t the saving of Aranna. He just wanted to get home. Strangely enough, the game starts the player out as a mercenary in the service of the evil, powerful, and controlling overlord Valdis, with only destruction and monies on his mind. The story centers around two magical weapons, a sword and a shield, the latter forged in order to quench the evil thirst of the former. Valdis somehow has the sword, and wants to piece together the lost fragments of the shield in order to be?you got it!?even more evil, powerful and controlling. Overall, the story is presented very well through main quests leading the way through the linear plot progression. Along the way the gameplay is studded with parchment CG tales and in-game cut scenes uncovering the past and advancing the plot.

The new prisoner in town.

Installation

Dungeon Siege II ships on 4 CDs, and takes up around 2.2 GB of space on the hard drive. Technically, it seems very stable, although I was initially worried by the release of a patch before the game was on store shelves. It crashed to the desktop only once and my experience is that Dungeon Siege II is refreshingly bug free.

The Manual

The manual for Dungeon Siege II is surprisingly thick. In addition to the first half of the manual, which details interface use and gameplay conventions, the latter half is also full of information on the history of the Dungeon Siege universe, various personalities discovered along the way?good and bad?and a decent bestiary. In addition, the in-game prologue also serves as a brief tutorial to the basic use of the interface and how to mow down all enemies who dare to stand in the way.

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