Dungeon Siege II: Broken World Review

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:2K Games
Developer:Gas Powered Games
Release Date:2006-08-22
Genre:
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Introduction

In Dungeon Siege II (released in August of 2005), you led a group of adventurers on a quest to stop the evil prince Valdis from taking over Aranna. However, at the end of the campaign, just when it looked like you were about to prevail, an ally of yours revealed himself to be something else, and he caused a great cataclysm to usher in a new age. Valdis died in the encounter, but the pretend ally escaped, and the world changed -- but not for the better.

In Dungeon Siege II: Broken World (released in August of 2006), you're on the hunt for that former ally of yours, who you now know as the Overmage. It's a year later, but the world is still in a certain amount of chaos. The elves were almost completely decimated in the cataclysm, the humans are in disarray, and the dryads are keeping to themselves. Worse, many familiar enemies from the first game have become twisted and have gained new powers. But all is not lost. Your companions have survived, and new allies have emerged, and with them you'll need to hunt down the Overmage and put a stop to his evil plan, whatever it might be.


The New Campaign

Among the many additions in the Broken World expansion pack, the most important is the new campaign. The campaign adds a final act to the story with a definitive ending for you and the Overmage -- you won't have to worry about onion rings and a fade-out here. The new campaign is much shorter than the original campaign, but it should provide you with 10-20 hours of gameplay.

Unfortunately, the campaign isn't very exciting. It's like developer Gas Powered Games knew that they had to create an expansion pack, but they didn't have any good ideas for it, and so they just plopped down a bunch of monsters for you to kill. As a result, there is plenty of violence, but there isn't much interaction with your companions, there is only one puzzle sequence (with a joke -- literally and figuratively -- as a reward), there are few books and no chants to find, only one chest turned out to be a mimic, there weren't many secret doors, and so on.

Or consider the quests. Most of the quests involve you hunting down and killing creatures, including new (surgeon) enemies, but very few of them add anything to the story, and about half of them end badly, so you don't feel good about completing them. One of the quests takes place in the Aman'lu Arena, and it works exactly the same as the Aman'lu Arena quest in the original game, just with tougher enemies and better rewards. How unoriginal and unexciting is that?

Worse, while the focus of the campaign is on combat, the combat is pretty easy. I started a new party and played through the Dungeon Siege II campaign before playing the Broken World campaign. I struggled quite a bit at the start of Dungeon Siege II (most of the skills were (rebalanced) to make them less powerful at early levels), but I cruised through Broken World without a single party wipe. The end battle in particular was sad. Fighting Valdis at the end of Dungeon Siege II was interesting because he was a tough boss and there were some puzzle elements to the fight, but the final boss in Broken World is boring. He has a lot of hit points and does a lot of damage, but defeating him is just a matter of beating on him for a long time until he finally keels over dead. Ho hum.


Other Additions

Besides the new campaign, the Broken World expansion pack also adds an assortment of other new things to see: a skill trainer who can reset your skill points (for a price), enchantment recipes that can create unique items, new pets and companions, a new race and new classes, and more. Some of these changes aren't especially meaningful -- your starting race, for example, makes almost no difference in your character development, and so adding a dwarf race doesn't do a whole lot -- but a couple of them, the recipes and classes, are significant.