Dungeon Siege - game review

Date: 2002-05-13 10:19:00
The review was based on the PC version.

As soon as I sat down to write a review, I barely fired up the editor, I pushed the keyboard up and raised my hands above it in the famous pianist gesture, when a tall brunette appeared from the corner. He was smartly dressed, the scent of cologne wafted from him, a silver watch gleamed from under the sleeve of his jacket. He nodded at me in greeting, and without a word he pulled up a chair, sat down, and leaned on his elbow.

- Who are you? I asked, spitting on the floor.

- I am your alter ego, I greet you warmly. We will write this review together, which makes today's day seem even more beautiful to me. - He smiled heartily.

- Go for it, you stupid!

To back up my words, I kicked his stool. My ass alter ego evoked the show eagle and almost knocked his teeth against the wall. In less than ten seconds she was sitting next to me on a stool smiling ingratiatingly. It crossed my mind that my alter ego was a fag. Good thing not a woman.

- I don't want to make you sad, but we really need to write this review in two.

The situation seemed hopeless and, as it turned out later, it was hopeless.

- What do you want from me? How did you get here and what mushroom did you insist on sitting on my head for !? - This is how I started collecting information about the opponent.

This one, however, must have heard my thoughts.

- I'm not your enemy. I am your best friend. All my life I help you make all, even the most trivial decisions. And we have to write a review of Dungeon Siege together because it is a very nice and addictive game.

- Walking in the swamps is addictive.

- You see.

I admit (which I did not admit to my unwanted companion) that the alter ego's argument reached me. The fact is, it is impossible to judge every erpego-like game in terms of its similarity to "Fallout".

"But I am typing," I made sure.

Alter ego spread his hands in agreement and cut himself off from the keyboard for the next few hours. And smiled. I pretended not to notice it because I would have to kick him in the stool again.

In truth, the presence of my alter ego was not particularly necessary .. It is not very often that a product appears on the computer games market so refined in the details and fastened with the last button that no motivated patch could be attached alive. The only thing that comes to my mind is that I don't like games of this type. Hacking and slashing bore me in the long run, the relatively weak plot and the simplicity of the puzzles can only strain my index finger from clicking - but who cares and why would anyone care? Similarly, "Quake", "Unreal Tournament", maybe even "Counterstrike" are extremely boring games. My alter ego grunts, croaks, almost chokes, but - "take it easy, take it easy" - I tell him, because I have a reason why I am writing what I am writing. Well, at the moment I have almost fifty hours of playing "Dungeon Siege", I still hate hack'n'slash games - it is not easy to change my mind once I insist - but all the questions asked: "How is DS ? " I always answer that the game is beautiful. Because it is. The ancient "Diablo" has found a worthy successor, or better: a very tough rival. Here is a fully three-dimensional, cute "Diablo".

Of course, the three-dimensionality adds nothing in this case of playability. Players accustomed to isometric throw may even be put off by the need to control the camera orbiting the team, but the visual benefits of the third dimension cannot be overestimated. The characters of the player in their several dozen-hour journey will traverse coarse dungeons as well as large spaces, forests and mountains, gorges, rivers and waterfalls. Simply put, many of the terrains in the "Dungeon Siege" would not be isometric projection - enough to imagine a steep and high mountain, which you can climb on one side and descend on the other. It is beautiful, and combined with the extraordinary variety of individual maps, it does not allow you to get bored with the game, if only because there is always something new, breathtaking to watch. And it must be admitted to graphic designers and level designers that they could not forgive themselves anything. That is why in "Dungeon Siege" there are farms, forests, mountains, swamps, deserts - there are lands bathed in sun and ice, there are charming towns and gloomy fortresses and, of course, a multitude of all kinds of dungeons, caves and caves. If you add to this the beauty of individual objects - houses, rivers, waterfalls, trees and bushes, different weather conditions, changing times of the day and a great variety of various forms of life wandering everywhere (including neutral creatures, whose task is not to disturb the player's journey, but beautifying the area) - then it becomes clear why there is something to hang the eye on and that sometimes it is difficult to tear it back again. All this works relatively decently on equipment above 500 MHz, which is nice.

Separate praises are due to the game for the music. It perfectly complements the graphics - there is a lot of it, you do not want to get bored after even a very long playing and feel that the individual themes have been selected / composed for the given locations with the head, or rather with the heart. All this combined with the sound of streams, the chirping of birds or the whistling of the wind often prompts you to stop, look around and take a breath. It would not have happened had it not been for the absolute uniqueness of the character of the music in "Dungeon Siege" - it is orchestral music, a dozen or so compositions composed with panache, sounding as we know it from cinemas, less often from philharmonic orchestral music. For those who came to mind the soundtrack from "Arcanum" - very classic - I hasten to reassure you that here there is no reason to be forced to get used to its sound - it is wonderful and, as is the case with almost every major film production from overseas it falls into the ear, and after a while it inseparably merges with the rest. Also due to the music on the spot, I felt at home in DS, because the two themes I heard right at the beginning brought to mind and still bring back some notes from "Betrayal at Krondor" and from "Deus Ex'a". What, however, should not necessarily be written in plus ... :-)

To completely exhaust the subject of "Dungeon Siege" beauty, I cannot fail to mention the user interface, in particular the main menu - I do not remember having ever seen it in any game more polished and functional like any other. For its needs, a three-dimensional, metal and wooden mechanism was created, working smoothly and noisily, which even before starting the game suggests that we will be dealing with a very refined and nice product.

The playability of "Dungeon Siega" can be assessed simply and briefly - it is like the lead of the leading "Diablo" and maybe even better. At this point, my alter ego has two front teeth knocked out and prefers to stand because it hurts to sit. However, I am not going to fix anything above, because I like my teeth, and I could struggle standing up in front of the keyboard. Looking at the game most from the outside, you can see that the player's team can grow up to eight soldiers, who together are ready to present good firepower. Of course, nothing for free - a larger team means stronger opponents, which is what who likes. However, the most noteworthy are the quite special members of the team, which can be purchased in ... roadside stables. They are donkeys and they are a travel accessory at least as useful as the trunk in "Fallout 2". Each donkey can be cramped with three times more equipment than humanoid characters, its endurance increases with the owner's experience level, and in times of danger, donkeys run away, and if caught in a trap, they turn their hindquarters to their attackers and kick. :-) It's not a weapon - hooves against demons, the undead or other giants - donkeys should definitely be kept away from the threat of scratching the mask, but their behavior is simply fun and funny. The more so as the unthreatened ones do not stand like puppets, but only look back, shake their heads, clip their ears or nibble the grass.

Equipment of all kinds that can be loaded onto donkeys during the journey or used by your characters is a lot or a little more, and throughout the game there is always a chance of hitting some valuable item that will significantly increase the character's characteristics. Additionally, the adopted system of prefixes and suffixes in names - having a strictly defined influence on the characteristics of weapons and armor - multiplies the number of available items. In addition, the imposed restrictions on the use of one of them, combined with the benefits of having others, force you to combine when arming your character - will it be more profitable to wear dexterity-increasing gloves to be able to wield a better crossbow, or rather invest in increasing strength to take on a heavier one. and stronger armor?

In the end, everything is for battle, and there is no shortage of those in "Dungeon Siege". Virtually 95% of the game will be spent on restless journeys through beautiful lands inhabited by thousands of hostile creatures. You can feel the authors' care that the difficulty level increases slightly all the time, never exceeding the team's combat capabilities, although over time it requires more and more expenditure to keep it alive. On the other hand, the plot of the game has been cut to the necessary minimum, interactions with neutral characters are limited to listening to one or two texts, which they usually have to convey. There seem to be only twenty of all the quests to be performed in the game, and they almost complete themselves. Rarely, the player gains the ability to go sideways from the designated path, which reduces the gameplay to constant pushing forward, overcoming opponents in the way, collecting their equipment, mostly for trade - therefore the lack of a button that every donkey should have becomes annoying. somewhere under the tail: "sell everything." When I think about it harder, I come to the conclusion that "Dungeon Siege" is a rather classic shoot'em up :-) in a modern, as it was said - cute, setting, than anything else. Alter ego lisps something, but I can't hear what, so I don't hit him.

The character development system, somewhat similar to erpegom, has also been simplified to the minimum playability, but it must be admitted that it works correctly and gives the game as much attractiveness as it needs in this particular field. Each character has four basic skills: Melee, Shooting, Natural Magic, and Battle Magic. They grow with the use of them, which is a bit like in life - the more you swing the fork, the better you roll it. The next three characteristics: strength, dexterity, and intelligence increase as you progress in the previous four. The strength is most influenced by hand-to-hand combat, by the skill of using bows and crossbows, and by the use of magic in combat. Since new weapons and spells found along the way usually require a certain level of experience, and using the strongest available weapons is of key importance, it is worth taking care of character specialization - there is no chance of creating a versatile superman other than with the help of cheats.

The rest of the combat capabilities of the characters result from their gear, which generally consists of: clothing, boots, headgear, shield, short-range weapons, long-range weapons, a spell book with its contents, an amulet and a maximum of four rings. The final result of a character's skills, characteristics, and equipment is five factors that actually determine their strength: health, magical energy reserve, melee and ranged damage, and total armor durability. The rest is a struggle, it should be said.

The fight and the sightseeing of other lands are made easier and more enjoyable by a few nice additions, which I am going to replace. First of all, a fantastically thoughtful pause, during which you can do everything: rotate, zoom in and out the camera, view the map, give all possible orders, and even exchange equipment between individual characters. Secondly, the map itself, which is by its nature a perpendicular projection of the terrain - there is nothing to prevent most of the game from being played with the cursor on the map, because you can not only move around on it, but also give orders to attack or collect abandoned items. Finally, a convenient system (ik) for determining the behavior of individual characters in combat: who to attack, how far from the opponent to stay and whether they should respond to attacks at all. The team formations taken from the ertees allow to protect the weakest and optimally use the strongest.

All of the above makes the game of "Dungeon Siege" very pleasant and without any problems resulting from the assumptions or the quality of the code. Anyway, programmers deserve separate praise - not only for the fact that DS is walking fast, but also for not hanging around (maybe mainly for that). Once my game crashed. At that time, I had it running myself, a text editor on the second one, a graphics program on the third with a bitmap of several dozen meters open, the remaining tasks were connected to the Internet. However, even when something scraped in the system, DS took me pleasantly: I received a message from the game about its instability, and in a moment, a comprehensive report on the state of the computer at a critical moment, ready to be sent to the Gas Powered Games technical department. The game allowed itself to shut down, but nothing crashed, and all this is not, not under NT - under an ordinary 98, on a somewhat old computer. And it should be so. Anyway, the craftsmanship and precision of the programmers can be felt at the first attempt to switch tasks, because I do not remember that in recent months I have dealt with another, especially three-dimensional game, which allows for the abuse of alt-tab combinations to such an extent. Apparently not much, and yet it enjoys. Anyway, how much we dislike Microsoft for this and that, it must be admitted that at least the games that he decides to release are polished as few as others. That's pretty much it. Alt-tab.


PS My alter ego will live. They told him so on the trauma.