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Product: Dungeon Siege
Platform: PC
Company: Microsoft/Gas Powered Games
Website: http://www.dungeonsiege.com
Estimated Street Price: $44.95/29.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

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...

  • Fully 3D - The entire world of Dungeon Siege has been created in full, magnificent 3D. Every player, creature, building, tree, and patch of land is a fully three-dimensional object that has been blended together to create an engrossing, lush, and realistic environment for your adventures.
  • Great Vertical Landscapes - Peering down from a ledge upon your enemies in the valley below, crossing a wooden bridge over a wide chasm, or climbing to the top of a ten story tower, the world of Dungeon Siege has been designed to truly extend in all dimensions, giving you strategic advantages of height and gorgeous views of the world that will keep you moving onwards to see what lies ahead.
  • Seamless - Using the custom built Siege Engine continuous world technology the only loading screen you will ever see is when you load up the game. After that you can seamlessly travel all over the Kingdom of Ehb without waiting for a new area to load. This also includes traveling from the lush outdoors into the darkest dungeon, since as you enter the dungeon the outside will slowly fade away as the dungeon walls fade in, all in real time.
  • Fantastic Environments - Walking down a thick forest path in the early morning fog and rain, you may come upon a bustling town where quests can easily take you from freezing ice caverns with a frosty mist rolling down the glacial walls to the canyons of a desert lit by visible rays of sunlight. Dwarven mines, snowy winter towns, murky swamps, and dungeons filled with gruesome creatures will all unfold as you seek to find the source of the recent uprising that has torn the Kingdom of Ehb apart.

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.

Installation, Settings and Loading Speeds

Dungeon Siege comes on 2 CD's, the game installation requires you to put both in as the game is basically copied straight to the hard drive. The game takes up over 1GB in hard drive space with the installation, which, while being a large install is necessary because there is no in-game loading as the game loads all the time in the background whilst you are playing so you don't notice it.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"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 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.

The main let down in Dungeon Siege is the story, I expected more from it, but that isn't to say that it matters too much as most of the time you are concentrating on combat more than any of the dialogue. I would have liked more side-quests and perhaps a bit more interaction with the people around me too as the constant fighting can get a bit too samey when coming up against creature after creature. But don't let that put you off, Dungeon Siege is a very entertaining and fun game.

Review Quotes
"on a high spec Athlon 2100 the game is really good looking with all details on high and full shadows. The spells look bright, colorful and original. Creatures are superbly detailed and the land around you is full of life and color."

Graphics & Sound

Gas Powered Games have created an excellent engine for the game, everything looks great and for the whole, plays smoothly. There are a few slow downs if you have a lower spec PC, but on a high spec Athlon 2100 the game is really good looking with all details on high and full shadows. The spells look bright, colorful and original. Creatures are superbly detailed and the land around you is full of life and color.

The music in Dungeon Siege is excellent, it really adds to the atmosphere and surroundings. Speech is also very good, but rather sparse as there isn't a great deal of interaction with any NPC's in the game. The game also has some pretty good EAX support for those cards that can use it.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 90%
Gameplay: 92%
Presentation: 90%
Graphics: 92%
Multiplayer: 88%
Sound: 92%
Manual: 88%
Interface: 88%
Price/Value: 91%
Overall: 91%

Dungeon Siege is a very good game, not as good as I hoped it would be, but not bad by any means. The game has a very good engine, entertaining gameplay, good spells, pretty good interaction and flows along at a good pace. The downside is really only that the game can get repetitive killing creatures over and over, but I enjoyed it and I'm sure many others will too.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 91%
Version Reviewed PC-CD Rom
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 2 Dungeon Siege CD's
1 Set Of Instructions
Cloth Map
The Good Points Excellent Graphics
Good Combat
Interesting Environments
The Bad Points Not the best story
Review System

AMD Athlon XP 2100
Asus A7V333 Motherboard
512MB DDR PC2100
Leadtek NvidiaGeForce 4 Ti 4600
Creative Labs Audigy Sound Card (OEM)
100 GB Western Digital Hard Drive 7200 RPM, 8mb Cache
Samsung 16x DVD-ROM
Mirai CD-RW (40x12x48x)
Creative Inspire 5.1 5300 Speakers

Widescreen Support N/A


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