Strategy & War
The game tries to help you control your party by having many different formations available. These can be thought of as similar to Myth 2, and they come in very handy when you want to keep your weaker ranged fighters and spellcasters out of harm's way. Each character can also be customized with various commands on how to engage enemies, whether to defend, and even whether to target the weakest or strongest of the baddies. This assures you aren't required to overly micromanage your team throughout the game, though you will want to keep everyone up-to-date with the best equipment and weaponry for their current skill level.
If you suspect you might have a difficult time of managing your characters while trying to fight off hordes of beasts deep underground, you would be correct. Or at least you would be correct if Dungeon Siege didn't have a pause button. This feature -- likely one of the biggest differences from Diablo II -- allows you to rearrange spells, inventory, and shift character AI to best suit your current situation (or predicament) without worry.
Siege Engine in Full 3DEasily one of the most remarkable aspects of the game is its beautiful 3D engine. Dungeon Siege features great lighting, particle effects, and environmental features like snow and rain. While the dungeons themselves are dark and creepy, the outdoor areas are intricately detailed with high-polygon trees (which even sway in the wind), water effects, and ambient creatures wandering around.
They certainly show off the ability of all three dimensions as well, with settings like bridges that span deep canyons or towers high above the landscape. Gas Powered Games wasn't afraid of making areas dense either. Many forests are thick with towering trees and underbrush, but liberal use of transparencies ensures you're able to get around and still see the action.
The camera is another big feature of the game. With a point-and-click interface for moving and selecting your characters, the camera can pan, rotate, and zoom to easily focus in best on the action. The controls have been streamlined so that both the sides of the screen as well as keyboard commands will move the camera.
One other impressive feature of Dungeon Scene is the distinct lack of level loading. Unlike nearly every other title on the market, once your game is up and running you will never again have to break the mood by waiting for a level to load. This means the usual pause between indoor and outdoor levels is gone, making for a seamless and very immersive experience. While the game can be paused, you will never be forced to stop what you're doing to eat or sleep, so be sure to set an alarm of some sort.
ConclusionThis is just a quick look at what is likely to be one of the biggest hits on the Mac early next year. With the appeal toward RPG-lovers as well as action gamers, Dungeon Siege will call you in for a quick game, only to hook you for hours. Details are still scarce on exactly how multiplayer will work or the title's powerful editor (usually a lost cause on the Mac), but you can be sure IMG will keep you posted as more on the game is revealed in the coming months.