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Dungeon Siege II
(hx) 07:57 AM EDT - Sep,05 2005

Dungeon Siege II is the sequel to Dungeon Siege, a party-based action fantasy role-playing game which was released in 2002 (review). The sequel is set in the land of Aranna, which was also the setting of the first game and its expansion pack, Legends of Aranna. However, the back story now take you back to some significant events that happened about a thousand years before the first Dungeon Siege....you'll once again have the opportunity to pick up a sword, staff, bow, or other weapon; gather a party around you; and hack and slash your way across a vast fantasy world!

If you did not enjoy Dungeon Siege, read no further -- you will not like this game! Still reading? Well, Dungeon Siege 2 is literally more of the same!

If you played the original Dungeon Siege, you'll find yourself in familiar territory here. Character creation is a simple matter of selecting your starting race, configuring physical features, and naming your character. There are four race choices of Elf, Dryad, Half-Giant, and Human, each with strengths and weaknesses, compensated for by focusing on one aspect of combat over another (the same four combat types from the original are available: melee, ranged, nature magic, and combat magic). Fighters can take more punishment than any class. Rangers can deal lots of damage from a distance and have good damage avoidance skills. Combat Mages deal more damage than any other class, but are fragile. Nature Mages have excellent healing, enchantment, and summoning spells, but they deal less damage than Combat Mages.

Plus, each of the four classes in Dungeon Siege II has a skill tree that lets you further specialize your character. Every time you raise a character level, you'll gain a point you can put toward your skills. As you advance your skills, characters learn new special powers. These new skills can give you powers, special super attacks (call down balls of fire, shoot arrows through giant crowds of enemies, turn invincible, etc) that you use and then have to wait until they recharge. You should try to use them strategically to obtain an edge in combat, although they work just fine as a way to simply kill stuff and have it look spectacular.

You have over 140 spells in your arsenal. Spells can take the form of offense, defense or utility, including bless, healing, buffing, fireballs, chain lightning, implosion, etc.... and they use mana just like they did in the first game. Combat magic is all the fun death and destruction magic. Nature magic is the softer but no less deadly side of the magical fence. If you want to be a nature mage, simply use nature spells. Want to split your skills between nature and melee, use them equally.

Any character can learn any type of skill and use any weapon or any spell, ability to control an entire party of 8 characters (like fighters, magic users, archers and even mules to carry more equipment), a wide variety of formations, etc. For those who played Dungeon Siege, you'll remember the friendly pack mule. Dungeon Siege 2 has taken it a step further and given us a whole line of pets to choose from - pack mules, dire wolves, scorpions, elementals, lap dragons and other fanciful creatures. They will earn spells, special powers and auras as they get bigger. Pets start out weaker than normal characters, so you have to mature them by feeding them items they find in the field. Fortunately, the types of items you feed your pets determine what maturity bonuses they get. For example, feeding pets armor will increase their defense. That lets you control how your pets grow.

The story isn't the best this game has to offer, but still is interesting enough to convince you to play. The storyline consists of three acts, each with something around seven to nine chapters. Each act has main and secondary quests - completing the main quests advances the story, while the secondary quests are optional and serve both to flesh out the main story as well as beef up the party. There are over 60 quests in the game to break things up, and there are also some puzzles around where you'll have to do some thinking.

The basic gameplay is not substantively different than that found in the first Dungeon Siege game. You move forward a little bit along the predefined path until the hiding monsters run out at you, you kill the monsters and repeat - pretty simple, but it surprisingly works for this sort of game extremely well. Of course, there are a few points where the game does get a bit repetitive and tedious but they are few and far between. It's a solid dungeon crawl that doesn't innovate, but does satisfy. Just Dungeon Siege, love it or hate it! :)

Another very interesting part of the game is the ability to play co-op over the Internet. There are three modes that define the number of players and how many characters they may import from a party - two players can bring in three characters, three can bring in two each, or four players can each bring in their primary hero. The multiplayer experience is almost identical to the single player experience - it's just that you all share quests and quest items. Lots of fun at LANs, but I doubt it'd be very entertaining online with people you don't know.

Overall, if you liked Dungeon Siege you will love this game. If you didn't like Dungeon Siege then stay away because this is a lot more of the same except with better graphics and more in depth game play. I suggest you consider downloading the demo version and testing that out first. Then you will have your own opinion of the game, and can make a decision from your own knowledge.

related links: demo, patch v2.1, cheats, FAQ/Walktrough, trainer +8, trainer +5 v2.1, trainer +4 (GERMAN version), Enchanters MOD by Csimbi, Magic item mod, Dungeon Siege 2 CDROM

Minimum system requirements: 1.0 GHz equivalent or higher processor, 256MB RAM, supported video card (listed below), 4 GB of available hard disk space, Quad-speed or higher CD-ROM drive, sound card, speakers or headphones, Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device, LAN/Internet connection for online/multiplayer.

Supported Video Cards: ATI Radeon series (7000 or better): Radeon 7000/VE series (requires 2.0 GHz equivalent or higher processor required), 7200, 7500, 8500, All-In-Wonder 8500,  9000, 9200, 9500, 9600, 9700, 9800, X300, X600, X800, Nvidia Quadro series: Quadro, Quadro2, Quadro4, Nvidia Geforce series: GeForce 256, GeForce2, GeForce3, 3 Ti, GeForce4, 4Ti, MX 420, 440, GeForce FX 5200, 5600, 5700, 5800, 5900, 5950, GeForce 6600, 6800; S3 Delta Chrome, Intel Extreme Graphics (requires 2.0 GHz equivalent or higher processor required), 82845, 82865, 82915.


snd: 4/5 - solid effects, nice music, terrible voice-acting
gfx: 3/5 - nothing special, but the 3D engine is fast and stable with nice lighting detail, variety of outdoor environments, awkward character animation, ugly textures on closeup, spell effects underwhelming, higher resolutions are almost unplayable as the character interface is tiny!
playability: 4/5 - pure hack n' slash, huge - +50 hours of gameplay, improved interface, player-selectable skill trees, leveling pets, Diablo 2-like teleports!, over 140 spells, multiplayer via LAN/Internet (MS Zone), lack of a cinematic feel, some path finding issues
genre: fantasy action-RPG
platform: PC 3CDs
release: August 2005
developer: Gas Powered Games
publisher: Microsoft Games
Very_good
Overall: 80%


last 10 comments:

ambazador(05:02 PM EDT - Sep,05 2005 )
yeah, donne; YUMM YUMM monsters to kill (stealed term from form in warcraft3 fan site),these monsterz are gonne but too addictive for me, jungle iz really hot outside summer, hx, did u recognized old machinas effects during combat?, pretty; done, i must commit more damage for GAS, UP,UP score for me:] 90% thnx, weal, where was I?:)) GG :))!


edited: ;sorry I was talking about battlenet.net:))) cheers;

xxxx(06:38 PM EDT - Sep,06 2005 )
Nice review, I was kind of disappointed with this title. You think they could have improved the gfx a lot more. Dungeon Seige was an ok game, I played for quite some time but I never finished it with the eagerness I had with NeverWinter Nights. I am playin Guild Wars now and playing this game now for a few months, when I first saw DS 2 I was like, where's the graphics. Man, Guild Wars makes DS2 look like total crap. I probably will end up playing DS2 while I wait for other titles to surface but will I finish it? Hmm, doubt it. Nice review though. I rated it a 8/10 just watching the wife play it. Looks ok, but certainly no killer game.

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