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Dungeon Siege
April 21, 2003 | Christopher Morin

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You love role-playing games. I love role-playing games. They, along with RTS titles, provide an excellent blend of brain engaging strategy and swashbuckling action. Dungeon Siege (DS) leans more heavily toward the action portion of that balance much like Icewind Dale or Diablo 2.

Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor (Total Annihilation) developed Dungeon Siege. Microsoft released it in mid 2002 to great fanfare. Many mentioned Dungeon Siege and Diablo 2 in the same breath. Since its release, Dungeon Siege has received high praise from around the industry. Finally, we Mac users will get our shot at this great game.

The story that drives Dungeon Siege is the that Kingdom of Ehb is under attack by the evil Krug and other sinister forces. You play a humble farmer who is thrust into the chaos overtaking Ehb. It falls to you, oh hearty adventurer, to answer the call of greatness.

Ehb is one kingdom in the Plain of Tears. Ehb is also one of the most prosperous countries, as it has been free from the ravages of marauders. That is all about to change. The game begins with you tending to your farm when your old friend arrives only to collapse near your farm. He gives you your first quest: travel through the wilds to reach the fortress of Stonebridge and tell his friend Gyorn about the invasion of the malevolent Krug.

Dungeon Siege is designed for nonstop action. To that end, Gas Powered Games engineered Dungeon Siege to be pretty much free of the bane of almost all RPG titles' loading levels. In fact, the only load time is launching the game. The designers created a rich, engaging world that the player can simply walk through. Entering a dungeon or ascending a tower is a simple matter of climbing the stairs or riding the platforms. As you enter a dungeon, the surface world fades out. Basically, the entire game is one large level. Where this may run into a bit of an annoyance for some players is that there are relatively few side quests to distract from the main quest of the game. Many, like me, enjoy the multiple rabbit trails to be found in games like Baldur's Gate. Though I prefer side quests, my time with Dungeon Siege was (and will continue to be) time well spent. By most estimates, the game provides anywhere from 30 to 50 hours of gameplay.

This game focuses on the action. No sooner does the introduction to the game end that you are forced to defend yourself and your farm with whatever weapon comes to hand. Enemies jump out at you from behind bushes. They surprise you by running out of buildings. At every turn the player is forced to decide to use a ranged or melee weapon or use magic. Much of the detail of increasing in abilities are removed from the player so he or she can concentrate on the excellent fighting action that awaits them. As for leveling up, Dungeon Siege allows your character to increase ability scores as they are used. If you focus primarily on melee weapons, over the course of the game your melee skills, strength and dexterity will increase. Each increase opens the door for you to use more powerful weapons.


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