Game Review: Dungeon Siege II

Dungeon Siege II
(7.9 of 10)
Platform: Windows (PC)
Developer: Gas Powered Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios


I've already mentioned it too many times, Dungeon Siege is, by far, one of the worst games I’ve played. That alone is my only reason to stay away from its sequel, Dungeon Siege II. However, I received an almost expired gift card (one week expiration date) on my birthday, and since there was no other game that interests me during that time; I decided to give Dungeon Siege II a shot.

Man the Ramparts, and hold the fortress. Adventure is coming!

Too my surprise, while Dungeon Siege II kept the charm of the original’s seamless engine, Gas Powered Games did a lot to improve the areas where its predecessor lacked: a strong story, and a more involved combat system.

Character Creation and Development
In any other RPG, you start the game through a character creation. Unlike most RPG though, character creation in Dungeon Siege II is less complicated and offers little choices. You can choose from four different Races: Humans, Dryads, Elves, and Half-Giants. Each Race has its own bonuses and advantages in several combat types. Humans are the most versatile, Elves are geared towards combat magic and ranged combat, Dryads are good candidates for a nature mage and ranger, and the Half-Giants are your typical, tank-type, melee combatant. After selecting your race, you can choose your gender and the appearance of your character, which doesn't affect the gameplay in any way.

Like in the original game, there is no typical class selection. Instead, you will choose and use one, or two, combat style(s) (melee, range, nature magic and combat magic) and will progress in character level with the continued use of your chosen combat style(s). Each combat style has its own “skill tree”, a new feature in the sequel, which allows you to specialize. In melee combat, you can either fight by dual-wielding weapons, use a sword and shield, or carry two-handed weapons. As a nature mage, you can focus on healing, ice magic, summoning, or enchanting. As a combat mage, death, lightning, and fire magic are at your command. The ranger can also choose between thrown weapons, crossbows and bows.

Heroic Powers, such as Waves of Power, will help you clear the battlefield of monsters.

Another new feature in the game are the Heroic Powers. Heroic Powers are powerful skills that are activated to use against your enemies, or to protect your party from harm. These powers are the result of specializing in one branch. For example, my human fighter specializes as a dual wielder. By combining a couple of skills in the dual wielding branch, I gained a power called Waves of Force, a devastating attack skill that could reduce a crowd of enemies into a pile of loot when activated.

(with your Henchmen and Pets)
You start the game with the party of two, you and your best friend, Drevin. As the game advances, and if your wealth allows, you’ll be able to buy extra slots for additional members to join you in your quest to save the land of Aranna. In Mercenary Mode, you can have a maximum of four members in your party, five in Veteran Mode, and six in Elite Mode. Your party can consist of either NPCs or Pets.

There are a handful of NPC henchmen throughout the game. There’s nothing special about playable NPCs except that you can customize each of their combat style the way you want it. They also have special quests that you can do if they are in your party.

Pets are one of the coolest things that happened in Aranna.

Pets are probably the nice addition to Dungeon Siege II. Although not as powerful as NPC henchmen, your Pet’s emanation power, an aura that boosts certain stats of the whole party, can be quite handy. There are many Pets in the game, each with different powers, and they can be acquired by purchasing one in a local pet shop. Pets starts out as babies, and they will grow into maturity if you feed them with items. They gain certain attributes if you continue to feed them with certain items. For example, if you feed them with melee weapons, they will gain strength. If you feed them with range armor they will gain dexterity and armor.

Technical Crap (Sound and Eye Candy)
In the post Source Engine era, where the characters have facial expressions, a graphics engine that is not capable to move the lips while the NPC is speaking is outdated, obsolete. The characters and models look blocky too. Though the whole world is detailed and everything is beautiful when the camera is zoomed out. Also, the lighting effects in Dungeon Siege II are quite mesmerizing to look at.

The music and sound of the game is excellent. The highly orchestrated music adds an epic feel to the game. That alone has urged me not to quit and continue playing on. Although the ambiance and music is great, the voice acting is horrible. Some NPCs have tolerable voice acting but for the most part they sound lifeless.

Storytelling and Role-Playing
What separates Dungeon Siege II from its predecessor is the better story and a richer game world. Albeit the story is mediocre at best, a typical fantasy type, in which a hero is destined to single handedly defeat an evil of great renown, it is better than none. The plot has a lot of unexpected, and yet shallow, twists and turns that somehow managed to capture my attention. The game also contains more than a handful of books, which are interesting to read, and casts a deeper hue to the world of Aranna.

The Archmage, protecting the Aegis of Life.

As a big RPG fan, I’m a sucker for good dialogue conversation that offers choices and options. Sadly, Dungeon Siege II has none of those. Although there are options in conversations to receive, or turn down a quest, but none really offered a choice that would alter the course of the game. There are no dialogue options to role-play, or change, an alignment either. He’s just one righteous hero who wants to destroy every evil that crosses his path. No dialogue options that offers a path to darkness, a path to neutrality, only a pre-determined path of being a goody two-shoes.


In the rarity of RPG these days, I admit that I gambled when I bought Dungeon Siege II, like when food is scarce and you don't have much choice but to eat what you have. I admit that I didn't expect to enjoy this game. For that, I applaud and thank Gas Powered Games for using criticism as a learning tool to improve their game. Although, I must say, the improvement wasn’t enough to meet my needs as an RPGamer. But if Gas Powered Games continues to take bad criticism in a positive manner, I’m sure Dungeon Siege III will be an awesome RPG.

I recommend this game to people who love Action RPGs such as: Diablo II, Sacred, Beyond Divinity, Divine Divinity, and Fate.