Not surprisingly for an RPG, the story is set in a medieval world of sword and sorcery. Your society finds its 300-year stint of peace being wrecked by newly arisen hordes of the obligatory ancient evil. So it's time to down tools, pick them up again and beat the uglies to well past an inch of their lives. It really is that simple.
Just as easily mastered are Dungeon Siege's controls, with each character developing more skill, dexterity, strength and magic as they battle. Rather than picking a character class at the beginning of the game, your adventurers advance in the disciplines that you use the most, so wade in with your axe strength and your melee skills will improve, favour magic and your intelligence and magic skills increase. Controlling up to eight characters is also remarkably straightforward, they all have large and easily manageable inventories (you can get the handy addition of a pack mule instead of an eighth party member), and usually need no prompting from you to get stuck in.
Dungeon Siege isn't just easy on the brain, it's also a treat on the senses. Your journey takes you across dense forests, over dizzying precipices and through the odd dungeon; all are incredibly detailed and beautifully rendered. A reasonably well-thought-out camera mechanism compliments the spectacle, allowing you to take in everything from numerous different angles and distances.
The game's faults are few, and stem from the it's finer points. Character control can be fiddly, characters can get separated stepping on and off platforms and there is a fine-line balance between setting their combat option to defend (then seeing them get slaughtered by some archers) or to attack (and then seeing them throw caution to the wind, wade in and get slaughtered). Secondly, the game is quite linear, but this is arguably down to Gas Powered Games striving to make a simplified and more accessible adventure.
Dungeon Siege offers scant innovation, but does dish out cartloads of extremely polished and friendly adventuring, set in a beautifully realised world. Hard-core RPG fans may see it as a bit of a package holiday, but anyone who fancies walking a while in their sandals could do far worse.-Tae Mawson
I've now been plodding away at Dungeon Siege for something like 40 hours now, and I'm bored sick of it. The gloriously crafted senarios, the myriads of enemies, the fabulous inventory of weaponry - all of these ceased to hold my attention once I realised that the game was little more than a series of minor 'quests' held together by the barest of plots.
The graphics are very good, and the attention to detail is excellent at times. The appearance of your party characters changes almost every time you alter their inventory, right down to the gloves, boots and weapons. The various landscapes are nicely done too, ranging between frozen ice caves, fetid swamps, heat-blasted desert and towns and citadels.
However... (the Giant Fly in the Healing Ointment)
The repetitive battles soon become tedious, since the more your party advances, the more powerful your enemies become. This makes perfect sense, except for the fact that just to get past three enemy soldiers at the later stages requires a good five minutes of concentrated thwacking from your party. The enemies are pretty dumb too - don't expect them to do anything except stumble towards your party, or the occassionally ambush from the tree-line. The battles themselves require very little strategy - a console allows you to set the AI of your party, meaning that with a sufficiently armed party you could go make a cup of tea while they autonomously clear out a catacomb full of skeletons, giant floaty heads, or whatever.
Additionally, Dungeon Siege teases you with the most erratic Auto-Save I have ever seen. There seems to be no logic behind it's decision to pop-up and save your progress, so I thoroughly recommend saving often.
Finally, my last big rant. A member of your party will die, it's enevitable. Upon doing so, all of that characters posessions will tumble to the floor in a big chaotic heap. Nobody likes to see Zandolf kick the bucket though, so you will no doubt have purchased a Resurrection spell or two. A quick cast later, and Zandolf is back on his feet. Now you have to pick up all those bloomin' posessions that got scattered everywhere. If you lost two or more characters during a battle, ALL of their posessions are now lying on the ground, and will have to be collected and redistributed to the correct party members. This is harder than it sounds, especially if you had spent a lot of time earlier equipping the various items to confer the best bonuses for each individual character.
If this sounds exessive, then just wait till you have to sit and muddle through it all. My poor Gormlax was never the same after I misplaced his Butchering Boots of the Badger, with their +1 Strength bonus....
Dungeon Siege is not an RPG for seasoned players of the genre. Your characters are fairly limited in the directions they can grow, and there is a distinct lack of rich narrative and plot which I feel would alienate fans of fantasy games. However, if you enjoyed Diablo or Nox, then this may be just your thing.
If your idea of a roleplaying game is Baldurs Gate, dont bother. There is no characterisation, no significant subquests and no dialogue to speak of. The game is irredeemably linear, with impassable forests/mountains/swamps ensuring that you can go one way and one way only. It is claustrophobic, limiting, unintelligent, banal gameplay. The level of AI on the group of characters you control is even sufficient that all you need to do is move them in to position and let them fight. As for spells, it is largely a choice of Attacking Spell 1 or Attacking Spell 2, with the concept of a tactical spell-caster gone out of the window in return for a Gauntlet-style fireball thrower. All in all a very unsatisfying game.
There is no "gameplay". There was no option to show your cleverness with insanely difficult puzzles, side quests to build experience, or opportunities to avoid head on combat. Very disappointing.
Secondly, plot being "linear" i.e. feeling like you're being dragged by the hair roots through a rather weak and sedentary plot, you'd think that the landscape would at least be different. You'd be wrong. Even the route you take through the various stages of the game is decidedly linear. I quite like a maze. They remind me of when I was younger and text based RPG's . . . (when I were a lad . . .) In Dungeon Seige, pretty though the scenery is, you have no option but to enjoy it in two dimensions. You can either go forwards or backwards. That's it.
I do appreciate the fact that this game has some really rather innovative features: The "card" based casting system of spells, learning by experience rather than by birth (i.e., you "grow up" a magic user if you use magic a lot), and an amazing interface that makes managing your party instinctual. My overall opinion, however, is that this game is rather like a non alocohlic beer: no matter how smooth, tasty and appealing it may be on one level, on another, it just doesn't do the job.
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