IMG Archives
Archives  Reviews  Dungeon Siege  



Publisher: MacSoft    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.1    CPU: G4 @ 450 MHz    RAM: 256 MB

Dungeon Siege
June 11, 2003 | Chris Ritchie

Click to enlarge
I must say that I love hit points. But not just hit points, I love gaining levels by battling evil critters, I love looting the corpses of said critters to sell their belongings and buy equipment to kill more critters, and I especially love plots detailing a reborn evil out to destroy a land of peasants and heroes. And this is exactly what Dungeon Siege (a Role-Playing Game from Chris Taylor and Gas Powered Games) delivers, a fast paced game with many of the components that have made up the core of RPGs since the D&D tabletop days. As well as many standard RPG features, Dungeon Siege has many new innovations that set it apart from the masses of pre-existing RPGs lining store shelves.

However, it is the fundamental nature of the RPG that will bring back the repeat customers, those who remember the good 'ole tabletop days, or playing a Final Fantasy game until the wee hours of the morning. Dungeon Siege handles these challenges with ease; it fulfills all the standard RPG modes with experience, gold and magic, but alters all of these variables enough to give Dungeon Siege an exceptional edge over other RPGs in the market. It's original concept coupled with the beautiful 3D images, the richly detailed landscapes, and the innovative no load time world makes Dungeon Siege a game worth checking out for fans of the RPG genre or those simply interested in a well made, feature rich game with superbly detailed graphics and pioneering gameplay.

Gameplay: Diablo Meets Neverwinter Nights
I enjoyed Diablo because it allowed me to bash in the heads of monsters all with an easy point and slash interface, I loved Neverwinter Nights because of the levels of strategizing, planning and foresight that went into each encounter in the game. Dungeon Siege holds the middle ground between these two giants of the gaming industry, and anyone entertained by either one will find many new features that allow Dungeon Siege to exist as an independent game, enough independence to warrant more than a cursory glance.

The main component of the game is its battle system and the management of weapons and equipment that is inherent in most RPGs. The various skills that your characters can perform are divided into 4 major categories: melee weapons, ranged weapons, nature magic, and combat magic. Your character can further develop by raising three basic attributes: strength, dexterity and intelligence. The combat system itself is fairly basic, each character in your party has a quickslot for their currently equipped melee weapon, ranged weapon or spell. When an enemy is sighted all that you have to do is click on the enemy and your party will attack with whatever weapon is chosen for the individual character. Your brawny sword wielding henchmen will charge down the nearest foe and pound, slash, or swing at them, while characters adept in nature magic will automatically cast their healing spells on wounded or incapacitated party members. The experience system is also slightly different than the common RPG, and is built directly into these different skill categories. Whenever a character is fighting with, or using one of their skills, they automatically gain experience in that particular area. Using the skill enough will raise the characters level and increase their expertise in that field. In this way, it is easy to have a sword wielding mage or a magic casting warrior. It all depends on what emphasis you place on your characters weapon choices in combat.

The simplicity of this system is augmented by the strategy required when managing the maximum party size of 8 characters. The party management system is one of the features that gives the game dimension. There are three areas in which the characters behavior in the game can be controlled. Setting a party member's movement orders will allow you to choose whether the character will chase an enemy across the world, remain in the vicinity of the battle to assist the other party members or hold their ground only defending themselves when an enemy initiates combat. The attack orders determine whether a character will engage any enemy in view, defend themselves from enemy attacks, or to completely hold fire and not fight back. The last option controls who the character will attack either targeting the closest, the weakest or the strongest of the enemies.

As soon as you start recruiting party members it is vitally important to properly manage them. Characters have a habit of rushing foolhardily into battle only to end up dead. In fact, the simplicity of the battle system is deceiving, going about things in the standard Diablo hack and slash style will only result in your characters being surrounded, outnumbered and killed. A certain level of planning is necessary in order to assure that your party does not meet an unfortunate and untimely end. Once you get a feel for the game, and a few trusty adventurers join your party, combat becomes a little easier. The AI for the game isn't all that advanced and it is fairly easy to draw enemies out in small groups for easier extermination while their colleagues stand just out of range, even if its only a few dozen feet away. Learning the battle system is a relatively easy task, and mastering its complexities is not all that time consuming.


Archives  Reviews  Dungeon Siege