Dungeon Siege is a title that many Role Playing Game fans have been waiting well over a year for. The Siege game engine has been shown off at various game shows over the past year and has been well received both by the public and by the press. So how does the game play now that we have gotten our hands on the first playable code from Microsoft.
Dungeon Siege combines the immersive elements of a role-playing game with over-the-top intensity and non-stop action. Dungeon Siege plunges you into a continuous 3D fantasy world where you face off against an army of evil that has been unleashed. You begin as a humble farmer, and as you travel through the world and gain new skills, you can gather a party of up to eight characters to aid you. Dungeon Siege impels the player into one over-the-top battle after the other as the storyline unfolds and a larger plot begins to reveal itself. A world of adventure where you can explore sprawling landscapes in a seamlessly unfolding story awaits...
The Story & Characters
Your adventures take place in the Kingdom of Ehb is one of the youngest states bordering the Plain of Tears. Protected by a ring of superb fortifications and heir to the 10th Legion-arguably one of the best trained armies in the world, the Kingdom of Ehb has, so far, been shielded from the raids and invasions that have devastated many of its neighboring states on the Plain. Within Ehb's borders, there is an astonishing diversity in geography and cultures. Most inhabitants worship Azunai, an ancient god of the pre-Imperial Agallan Peaks. Dwarves and men live together in harmony and bow to the same king. Sorcerers are also more accepted than in other countries, thanks in large part to the efforts of Merik, Grand Mage and Warden of Shadows of the 10th Legion. And in the heart of the kingdom, a strange and often contrary race called the Droog is allowed a degree of autonomy, despite its sometimes-troublesome alliances.
It is a country in search of an identity, caught between the glories of a fallen past and the potential for an even greater future. Despite several crises, Ehb has never fallen to an enemy. But at any time the course of events could turn down a bleaker path.
Your character, as a humble farmer is irrevocably changed as the peaceful farmlands you had once known are beset by marauding Krug, and cast you, and all that you hold dear into a desperate struggle for survival against all odds. The call to glory is one that you are uniquely qualified to answer. Your courage and wits may be all that holds your kingdom from the brink of disaster. You must quickly decide how best to unlock the mysteries and challenges that may unfold, and whether to seek the assistance of other heroes you encounter, or go it alone.
The main part of Dungeon Siege is the combat side, the first great and well put together part of the game is that you can assemble a group of up to eight heroes to fight your battles for you through the Kingdom of Ehb. Along your journey you will meet up with various characters who you can speak, in turn some will offer you their help for free, while others will ask for a reasonable fee to join you (the ones who ask for a fee usually have better attributes). The game works very well with the group side of things as you can build up a set of characters who are powerful in all different kinds of combat such as Melee, spells etc.
So how good are the spells, well they work very well again. The first spells you get early on in the game are quite basic such as Fire (a combat spell) and lightening (a nature spell) later in the game as your spell casting attributes start to increase (combat and nature spells have separate attributes) you will get the chance to play with the more powerful spells such as Iron Fist. Unlike some games, different spells work well on different creatures and switching between spells is very easy to do via the menu system that has been implemented in the game. You begin with one spell book, this spell book allows you to play two spells inside it, once you have done this you can move to the top left of the screen while in battle and pick which spells/weapons you want to use while playing.
The other great thing about Dungeon Siege is that rather than having to click on your enemies all the time, the game has an auto-combat system which is quite similar to that used in Asheron's Call. This means that characters will automatically engage in combat with creatures using whatever weapon your character is currently equipped with. Not only that, you can also set a group formation, how you want your characters to react, such as defensively so they won't fight unless someone comes after them or a more aggressive approach.
Sadly the Multiplayer side of the game was not working with the build Microsoft sent to us. It is a big shame as this is the one side of the game I was really looking forward to playing, but saying that the single player game is rather fab.
Gas Powered Games have created a fantastic engine for the game, everything looks great and plays smoothly even in this beta release. The spells look bright, colorful and original. Creatures are superbly detailed and the land around you is full of life and color.
Well I can clearly tell that Dungeon Siege is going to be a great game when it finally gets release, the engine is superb, the gameplay is excellent and there are no niggling little annoyances that usually go with Role Playing Games. There are so many great little touches that I really can't wait for the game to be released in April, and the chance to play it online will be another great thing for gamers.