Dungeon Siege II PC CD-ROM
Published by Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by Gas Powered Games
Release Date: Out Now
Dungeon Siege II, an introduction.
Dungeon Siege is definitely one of the better hack 'n' slash RPG games we've seen here at Deaf Gamers. The game was both deaf gamer friendly and extremely addictive. We were impressed with the control you had over your party and how well the battles controlled. The great standalone expansion, Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna was also very enjoyable and we've been waiting patiently to get our hands on this hugely anticipated sequel.
What's the game about?
Once again we're back in Aranna and this time you and your party will have to stop the evil Valdis who is determined to seize power during Aranna's civil war, whatever the price. The game is pretty much the same kind of game play as the first Dungeon Siege so if you enjoyed that game you're going to enjoy what's on offer here. The single-player game is quite large, around 45 hours or so and you can play co-operatively over a LAN or the Internet which is an excellent inclusion.
What's good about the game?
Dungeon Siege had a great hotkey configuration that made controlling your party a cinch and the same can be said for this sequel. As well as the formations, you can order you party (which can contain up to 6 members) to expand their formation, to regroup and to fight in rampage or mirror mode. All of these commands can be carried out with a single button press and it makes combat uncomplicated. You can actually configure more hotkeys for further commands if you wish. The game retains the same addictive nature of the first game and the combat is just as enjoyable. Once again what weapons and magic you use will determine how your character turns out. You'll get to pick either a male or female Human, Dryad, Elf or Half-Giant as your character but race and looks aside, everything else about your character will be determined by how you play the game. As your characters level up, you'll get to choose their new abilities and it's pretty amazing just how many character variations can come up playing the game through a couple of times. Your characters will also obtain Hero Powers as they develop, which adds a further twist to the game.
What's not so good about the game?
If you're an experienced hack 'n' slash RPG gamer the chances are that you'll want to jump right ahead into the most difficult of the three difficulty settings in order to challenge yourself. Unfortunately you won't be able to do this. Initially you'll only have access to the easiest difficultly setting and you'll have to complete the game on this setting before the second difficulty setting is available. Likewise you'll have to complete the game on this setting before the most challenging difficulty mode is finally unlocked. Essentially then you're looking at around 70 hours of play time before you can jump into a game with the difficulty setting at its highest which is kind of strange. Playing the game on the easiest difficulty setting is actually a problem because it's just too easy. Before you know it your characters will be so strong that very little you'll come across will represent a problem. Useful items are scattered all over the place and before you know it your characters will be seemingly all powerful.
How does it look?
Dungeon Siege II can be considered only a minor upgrade of the graphics that were in Dungeon Siege. Whilst the game does look good the character models could have been more detailed. However as you'll play most of the game from a zoomed out viewpoint it probably wouldn't have made much sense to have had overly detailed characters and it would have had a poor affect on the frame rate which as it stands is pretty impressive. The multitude of environments that you'll come across in the game do look very good and definitely improve the atmosphere of the game. The camera control is pretty much how it was in Dungeon Siege and won't cause you any problems at all.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
We had no complaints with Dungeon Siege in regard to how deaf gamer friendly it was. However we cannot say the same for Dungeon Siege II. Unfortunately the cutscenes are not subtitled, which is very disappointing to say the least. This error aside though, the game is fine for deaf gamers. Tutorial messages are shown in text. Objectives are shown in text and recorded in your journal so you can access them at any time. The in-game dialogue is shown in click-off dialogue boxes so you are able to read the text at your own pace which is excellent. As before excellent use has been made of icons, which also helps to make the game more deaf gamer friendly.
Dungeon Siege II is definitely one of those games that can be classed as a solid sequel. Whilst there have been some new additions to how the game plays, it's pretty much a slightly refined version of the original Dungeon Siege. This is no bad thing of course. However if you didn't like the first Dungeon Siege there's little here that will change your opinion but those who really enjoyed Dungeon Siege should see Dungeon Siege II as an essential purchase.
Overall Game Rating: 8.2/10
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Dungeon Siege II is just as enjoyable as the first Dungeon Siege and definitely one of the better hack 'n' slash RPG games out there.