A nerd's nirvana!
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Fri, 4 November 2005
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Do you like Elves and Half-Giants and all those kinds of things? To be honest, I've had more than my fill of them in recent times. As The Office's Ricky Gervais (who, by the way, is much funnier than any one man has a right to be) said "If you've seen one Orc, you've seen them all". But I managed to enjoy Dungeon Siege II a great deal regardless. So, if that's your bag, you'll likely be stoked with this one.
I've never played the original, so I can't comment on that, but Dungeon Siege II has a whole lot to offer for fans of the Lord of the Rings or Dungeons & Dragons type settings, as well as hack 'n' slash lovers and aficionados of quality RPGs.
The game's engine is mighty impressive. Obviously you'll need a fairly modern system to getting it running at full force, but I was very impressed by just how smoothly it ran. Graphically and sonically Dungeon Siege II is up there with the best. But the gameplay felt very old-school to me and in this case that's not a bad thing at all. You've got a party of characters to control, which can be mixed up and changed throughout the adventure. In that respect the game reminds me very much of many old RPGs like Phantasy Star and the system still works very well.
You need to get a balance of different skill types to progress successfully. You'll find your own favourites and probably get quite attached to them as you continually upgrade their abilities and give them better weapons and armour. The point and click control scheme is also highly reminiscent of Diablo. The majority of the game's action is controlled with basic clicks of the left and right mouse buttons. It is a great balance of simplicity of control with in depth customisation.
|Mr. Sparkle is disrespectful of dirt. |
While the interface is kept impressively straightforward, there's always an abundance of things to keep track of. As such, this title is most compelling if you're the patient type who likes to spend plenty of time with your games.
Despite the large variety of different (quite beautiful) environments you explore and a strong plot (with plenty of back-story that you can indulge in, if you choose. I chose not to. It is a bit too nerdy, even for my tastes) Dungeon Siege II is still essentially a "dungeon crawler" (no big shock, given the game's title). The majority of play revolves around hacking up legions of monsters and collecting loot. I find that genre of games to be fairly tiresome for the most part, but this one kept me entertained. That was due mainly to the detailed customisation/character development I already spoke of. It was also helped by some excellent voice acting they've provided to the many characters you meet. Some of the cast are quite funny at times too, which I always welcome.
The constant fighting certainly gets repetitive before too long, but there's always a sense of something cool to be found just around the corner and you want to keep playing just to see what happens next. The monsters are extremely well rendered and many of them look exceptionally cool. Also, as your skills get better, the battles get more interesting. You keep fighting just so you can use better spells and more devastating weapons. Having such a large range of attacks to access enables the battles to stay fun and far less monotonous than other recent games of this type- like Untold Legends on PSP, for instance.
Since you can have a party of up to six different characters at once, the battles are often quite epic in scale too. If you want to get that many in your party though, it will take a LOT of playing time. You'll need to go through the full 'story' of the game at least twice and that story is not a short one to begin with. I didn't bother with that, but the option is there for those keen enough. Even with "just" three or four party members though, the fights can feel nice and "meaty".
|Go get 'em, jackass! |
You can also access pets to accompany you. These are different creatures which can be feed various items to make them stronger. This is just another nice little way of adding some variety to the game.
I don't see much need to say a whole lot more about this game. You're already going to have a fair idea of whether or not this kind of thing is your cup of tea. I can't see Dungeon Siege II winning over many folks who wouldn't usually play these types of games. But that's okay, as I don't think it is trying to. It knows and caters to its audience very well and I doubt they will be disappointed. I came into it with a fair idea of what to expect and I was most satisfied with the experience. It is a well constructed Role Playing Game with a very heavy dose of action that will keep fans busy for a really long time.
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Looks a treat, excellent use of a simple control method, depth galore and fun action. It is strictly for fans of the genre, but Dungeon Siege II is a great Hack 'em up RPG.