Rating

A

Specific Ratings

GameplayA
GraphicsA
Learning CurveA
Replay ValueA+
SoundB+

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Easy to play.
  • High replayability
  • Basic hack-and-slash action.
Cons
  • Might need to use a walkthrough occassionally.
  • ....Basic hack-and-slash action.

Dungeon Siege II (PC)

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Summary

If you have played Diablo or Diablo II, this is familiar territory.

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Description

Dungeon Siege II picks up almost 1,000 years after the first Dungeon Siege and continues the point-and-click RPG action genre that Diablo I and II made popular.

The game's storyline is long and will have you going back to many places you've been to earlier to complete higher level quests. A strength of this game, which adds greatly to its replay value and the overall length of the game, is that there are no limits to the number of quests in your area in the game. It's entirely possible you'll need to go back to the town you started in to finish a quest towards the end of the game. The hardest part about this is remembering exactly where something was in the game when you passed it ten, twenty or even thirty hours ago. The storyline is often interesting, but can get occasionally lost in the sheer number of sidequests. As with any RPG, you'll encounter many different environments, such as forests, deserts and lands covered in snow. The changing environments keep the gameplay fresh and give the player a chance to find new weapons, armor and spells, as well as shops and new Non-Playing Characters to interact with.

Graphically, Dungeon Siege II is fairly decent (This of course depends on your graphics card). You can turn the resolution up fairly high and enable such things as high-end anti-aliasing, to smooth and improve some of the rouge edges in the environment. The graphical bit that separates this from other click and slash style games is the camera. This is a 3D game engine that is not limited to a top-down view of the action, like in Diablo. You are able to zoom way in, to look at characters, and then way out to see the surrounding territory. This is especially interesting in forests where you can pan around your characters and watch the environment change seamlessly with the camera movements. It is sometimes fun to stop the fighting action in the middle of a highly graphical spell and do a "Matrix" style 360-degree camera pan around the frozen action and see each individual particle of light, or possibly the monster parts flying apart as you make a successful critical strike. This is made possible by the spacebar that, when hit, will pause everything in the game. You can assign actions to your characters as you see fit and once you unpause the game they will do the actions you assigned. It's very easy to forget about this feature as Dungeon Siege II's gameplay is fast and exciting and the need to micro-manage everything doesn't apply.

Speaking of seamless, that's a good description for DS II's gameplay as well. The chapters are broken up so that you have to warp between them, but aside from that it's entirely possible to walk around the whole "forest" or "desert" or "snow" area without having to stop for the game to reload. This makes it possible to enjoy much more of the game, with significantly less "load time." Because of the general lack of load time, you have much more time to fight the numerous enemies that populate the game. There are some very familiar fantasy-type characters in the game that any fan of RPGs will recognize from similar mythology.

In the game you'll find everything you expect from a fantasy RPG: knives, clubs, bows, exotic weapons, strange swords, powerful spells and all types of armor. There are four distinct types of items in Dungeon Siege II. First, you have your basic unenchanted, non-magical item. For example, a sword is just a sword. Secondly, you have items that can be enchanted. You'll find items along your quests, when you buy them, that will imbue your weapons with various abilities. Thirdly, there is the occasional enchanted item, like a fire sword, or armor that protects against ice magic. The fourth group is the most interesting: these items are unique and are generally much more powerful than the other items, and they come in sets. These armor/weapon/item sets can be combined for additional stat bonuses, protection or offensive abilities. These unique items don't show up very frequently and lend the game an additional amount of fun as you attempt to find them, or hope that some creature drops the unique item you've been looking for.

Dungeon Siege II's single player is great fun and it allows you (when you start out) to have an NPC that follows you throughout the game. It's even customizable, in that you can assign it weapons and armor. As your progress through the game you can pay to have additional character slots opened so more NPCs can join you in your quests. An addition to this game as well has been "pets" that you can level up by "feeding" them items, like weapons, potions, armor, and whatever else you happen to have on hand. The pet will develop with the abilities of the items you feed it. (For example if you feed it bows and arrows the pet gets better at ranged attacks.) This lends itself to finding the best items you don't want or need and converting them into "pet food" so that your creature can help you out.

Multiplayer mode is also available for this game. You can connect up locally with friends or via the internet. This means that the people questing with you are now, hopefully, more intelligent than the NPCs you'd be traveling with in single player. Other than this advantage, and experiencing the game with a friend, multiplayer isn't that different from solo play.

Dungeon Siege II is a very easy game to pick up and play, and it serves as a quick break from first-person shooters or other more traditional RPGs. It succeeds in the same way that Diablo did in giving high playability and quick responses to actions, entertaining visual effects, and lots and lots of items to collect and use. I enjoyed playing Dungeon Siege II and had a lot of fun with its various options in character leveling. While this isn't a very hardcore RPG, it's enjoyable and entertaining and has long-term value.


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