Currently Playing: Dungeon Siege (PC)

This is another “hack and slash” game which the first Diablo started. Since then there has been Diablo 2, DarkStone and Throne of Darkness. All of them had a simple story and tons of action. The style is so similar but it may not be such as click fest as Diablo was. Though I really find it that it has a touch of Baldur’s Gate. Read more and you’ll find out why.

The story is somewhat so little to talk about. It’s very simple really, somewhat similar to the first Diablo and most games out there. Even if you try to get involved in the story is that you really can’t. It’s too light and it is rarely mentioned. This game is mostly game and not much to really dive into. I was hoping to get a good twist in the story or a really good CGI ending but I was disappointed for its story.

Loading the game is usually not an issue in games but for this one, I really liked it. Once you start or load a game, which is pretty much the entire world already. There is no location in the entire game where you will stop just to load a portion of the map. It’s not like Baldur’s Gate where you have to load each time you read the end of a section, it’s not like Diablo where you load after finishing every act. Here you can start and finish the game and go back to the beginning of the game without getting a load screen. I really liked that one since it helps you get immersed in the game. It does not detract you that you’re actually playing a game.

As I played through the game I started out using just one character and I gained more party members along the adventure I discovered some stuff similar to Baldur’s Gate. You can pause the game at any time, and order moves. You can use a group position which can be of some advantage from time to time. There are also similarities with RTS games which really help in the game. You can change properties of a character if you want them to move freely or you want them to hold their position. You may want them to attack freely or act defensively. The RTS style is very helpful since sometimes you don’t want freely because they run to so many locations that they get too far apart from their party.

The graphics is one of the best I’ve seen especially for an RPG game. It has full of detail and life that I sometimes think that the engine was not designed for an RPG game, but this was fantastic and looked perfect for it. Trees sway, and the nice movement of the bushes when a creature is hiding, the detail of the textures and the great vast world it has. It was amazing that this was achieved with only one load time of the game. It’s amazing when you see so much life and alive the background is. Sometimes it’s nice to see some fairies flying around while I go look for something to hack and slash. You will also see a lot of detail when you zoom in the camera. You would see all or most equipped weapons in full detail. The only thing you won’t see is an amulet or a ring. The game engine is so good that I can’t wait to see MODs for this one. Ultima anyone?

The interface is great and easy to understand. On the upper left of the screen you have all the characters. You see their health and mana status with which weapon they are using. On the lower right you get to see how you control each person with how they attack. The controls are pretty easy and navigation around the surroundings is pretty simple. Moving around is just as simple as point and click. Hacking and slashing is also the same but a bit lesser clicks since with the option to attack freely, you can release your finger from the mouse as soon as your character fights a creature or two. Using magic is also as easy as any weapon, but sometimes with magic it’s a hassle to change from one type of magic to another. At hand you already have two magic skills that you can use but your book has several but you can’t use them unless you change the one at hand.

The music here is great. I find it really good to listen to. Some tunes I’d like to listen on a CD or an MP3. It gives a lot of atmosphere and it gets you immersed in the game. The music changes when action starts, though it’s common to hear that in games, I find it very good in this one since I don’t have any comments about this, only compliments.

Character development is a bit unique for an RPG game but still shares it similarities with the standard. First of all any character you make is built up on how you play them. So your main character starts off with zero capabilities. Since your character is a plain farmer you start off with using a knife or a shovel or anything that could be made into a weapon from the farm. But as you get through the first quest you get items which can be a bow, a nature spell or combat spell. You can use any of them at any time of the game to progress you character. In the beginning of the game items are very specific to what skill you have but later in the game there are weapons that require you to have mixed skills to use them.

The items drive the characters to new levels just as any RPG game. Here items have lots of variety like Diablo but not as diverse. As in Diablo you get so many items during the game that you want to sell most of them, but there’s too much that you’d want to throw them away. It’s a good thing that you can get a spell that can make items into money. In later levels you may not be able to use the higher level items unless you continue your character on the multiplayer game.

Multiplayer is really have been thought of. Though it will never be Everquest but I do find it better than Diablo II. Though it’s played slightly different, you can move and control the game the same way but you don’t control an entire party anymore but you act as one character alone. You can play the original game on multiplayer mode or you can play a different map which is more similar to Diablo because you have locations which you can teleport your character to another major location. They didn’t end it there. They are coming up with a third multiplayer map for download. I can’t wait to try that out too.

This is one of the most stable games that I’ve played. I never experienced any hang-ups or any crashes of any sort with the three computers that I’ve tested. I have tested it on 3 computers which are PII @ 300 MHz, Athlon Thunderbird @ 1100 MHz and a PIII @ 1000 MHz. With my testing obviously the PII 300Mh is too slow that you can’t even play certain parts anymore. So I expected that already but as I tested the Athlon and the PIII I realized that this game was really heavy on the 3D. Both computers at 1024x768x16 were slowing down when the action is heavy or when you get the later levels. So to really get a full experience, you may try using a 1.5 GHz or higher to get everything smooth and at least a Geforce 3 or 4.

So the experience of the game is overall a good one. It’s easier to finish than playing Diablo II, and visually it’s a better treat. I didn’t find it as addicting as that game but I find it fun in a different way that I was willing to finish it no matter what. The game engine is top notch that you’ll be amazed with such nice eye candy. Another thing that I liked about this game is that anybody who’s willing to learn the game will be able to finish it.

Requirements from Raven:
Operating System: Windows 95 OSR2/98/ME/2000/XP
Computer: 100% DirectX compatible computer required.
CPU: Pentium II or Athlon class 350 MHz or faster CPU required.
Memory: 64MB required. 128 MB RAM required for Windows 2000 and XP.
Graphics Card:16 MB OpenGL compatible PCI or AGP 3D Hardware Accelerator required.
Sound Card: 16-bit DirectX 8.x compatible sound card required.
CD-ROM: Quad Speed IDE or SCSI CD-ROM drive required.
Input Device: Keyboard or mouse required. Joystick supported.
DirectX: Microsoft DirectX 8.0a
NOTE: Your system may require the “latest” drivers for your particular hardware.
Installation: 665 MB of free hard drive space required.
Additional free space required after game installation for Windows swap file and save games.

Multiplayer Support
Pentium II or Athlon class 400 MHz or faster recommended for Multiplayer.

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