Dungeon Siege II: Broken World PC CD-ROM
Published by 2K Games
Developed by Gas Powered Games
Release Date: Out Now
Requires: Dungeon Siege II
Dungeon Siege II: Broken World, an introduction.
Whilst hack 'n' slash RPGs have always been tremendously popular, quality titles have been few and far between. When you think about it this is really surprising as the most popular title in the genre, Diablo, doesn't make an appearance all that often. In fact it's still not confirmed that a third title in the series will be released (although we, like most fans of the series, strongly suspect there will be a third title in the series at some point). Fans of such games have had to rely on other titles to get their hack 'n' slash thrills and it's fair to say that Dungeon Siege (and its sequel) is one of the more successful games in the genre. Whilst Dungeon Siege II wasn't as impressive as the original Dungeon Siege, it was still an enjoyable game and fans will have been waiting patiently for an expansion pack which is exactly what we have in Dungeon Siege II: Broken World.
What's the game about?
With Valdis destroyed, you'd think Aranna would be safe and sound but sadly that's not the case. Broken World is set around a year or so after the final events of Dungeon Siege II. An 'unspeakable abomination' that's waited centuries for its freedom has finally been unleashed and darkness has once more descended on Aranna. Bound Elves, Familiars and other such monsters now walk the land and it's up to you to defeat these forces of evil and return Aranna back to its natural state. Dungeon Siege II: Broken World offers up to 15 hours of gaming time, two new playable classes in the shape of the Blood Assassin and the Fist of Stone, enhanced tactical combat options and you can now play as a Dwarf.
What's good about the game?
In truth Broken World isn't as thorough an expansion pack as fans of Dungeon Siege II would have hoped for. However, in fairness to 2K Games, this is reflected in the asking price of just £14.99. Indeed several online stores are selling the expansion at just £12.99 which does soften the blow of any disappointments you may have with the expansion. On a more positive note the expansion includes some welcome additions. The two new classes are enjoyable to play and contrast nicely with each other (the Blood Assassin offering ranged and magical attacks whilst the Fist of Stone offers mêlée combat as well as nature magic attacks). You can import your characters from Dungeon Siege II and should you have a highly developed character it's going to make playing this expansion much more comfortable. Should you not have a character from Dungeon Siege II, you'll be allowed to create a new character who will automatically be at level 39. The game includes six pre-created characters (a Sorceress, a Knight, an Assassin, a Grand Mage, a Preserver and a Sharpshooter), which you can select if you don't want to import or create your own character. Broken World is very challenging in places (particularly if you don't have a character from Dungeon Siege II and you'll find yourself making use of the battle tactics (rather than just rushing into battles), than in previous Dungeon Siege titles, which can only be a good thing.
What's not so good about the game?
Perhaps the biggest complaint Dungeon Siege fans will have with this expansion is the shortness of it. At best you're probably looking at around 10 hours (supposedly 15 if you do all of the optional quests) to complete the story, which does actually seem quite short with a game of this addictive nature where you can quite happily play for a few hours at a time. In fact it's quite safe to say that the expansion could be played through in a weekend, which is disappointing. The expansion's story just doesn't match up to the quality previously found in the series, which again is disappointing. Whilst you can play through the expansion without having a character to convert (as you're given a character who is level 39), it's really difficult to do so. A level 39 character seems underdeveloped for the challenge that Broken World offers and even on the easiest of the three difficulty levels it's going to take a cautious approach in order to progress.
How does it look?
Naturally with this being an expansion the game doesn't make any significant improvements over Dungeon Siege II. What is noticeable with this expansion though is how dated the game looks. The character models in particular haven't aged well and their block nature provides quite a stark contrast with recent hack 'n' slash RPGs such as Titan Quest. In truth though, this isn't much of a surprise as Dungeon Siege II didn't exactly represent much of a graphical upgrade over the original Dungeon Siege.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Broken World is exactly the same in regards to its suitability for deaf gamers. The major cutscenes aren't subtitled which is a shame (especially when you consider how deaf gamer friendly the original Dungeon Siege was). That said though, it's pretty much fine in other respects. Tutorial messages are shown in text. All conversations are shown in text. Quest details and objectives are in text and can be recalled. You can access your journal for any help you need during the game (in regards to the many game functions) and all of this information is in text. Once again a good use of icons has been made, which is beneficial. In short then despite the disappointment of the major cutscenes not being subtitled the game doesn't have any real problems.
Those looking to take their Dungeon Siege II characters into a new and more challenging adventure will surely enjoy Broken World. However, the problem is that the enjoyment will be short lived and after a few nights (or a weekend's) play you'll have finished Broken World. The brevity of the game wouldn't be so much of a problem if the game had maintained the quality of the previous titles in the Dungeon Siege series. In truth Broken World is a mediocre expansion that Dungeon Siege II fans will lap up (especially at the very reasonable price it can be purchased for) but at the same time it's doubtful many Dungeon Siege II fans will be entirely happy with the expansion because it seems below par for what we've previously experienced in the Dungeon Siege series.
Overall Game Rating: 6.4/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Broken World could have done with being a lot longer and having a much more interesting story. Still the low price tag does go some way to compensating for the games deficiencies.