Dungeon Siege II Preview

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Eschalon: Book II

Developer:Gas Powered Games
Release Date:2005-08-16
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
In single player mode, your companions will fight based on a predefined set of orders you have given them (including (Hold your ground) and (Rampage)). Once you have decided on a set of orders, you will no longer have to give individual orders throughout the battle, although you're certainly welcome to if you'd like. In addition, using the game's autocast feature allows your healers to keep your party alive and your combat mages to roast enemies from a distance.

Combat will be seeing other enhancements, as well. Your character will attack with a normal strike when you click on a foe, but if you hold the mouse button, it will charge your attack for greater damage. You can also have your character attempt to block incoming attacks, which adds a certain level of strategy and finesse to the standard hack-and-slash combat engine used previously.

Companions willing to aid you in your quest can be found all over Aranna. Each companion will have his or her own voice, and they'll use it to both agree and disagree with the party's decisions. There are massive in-game dialogues that will spawn based on who is in your party and how they are doing. A rough mercenary may clash with an idealistic healer, and sometimes it will be up to you to ensure that a simple argument doesn't end in bloodshed. Choose companions wisely, because an ill-formed party will only lead to an early death.

Gas Powered Games hasn't forgotten about the part's pack animal either. The Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna expansion pack introduced the Tragg as an alternative to the packmule, and we'll be seeing these in the sequel as well. Traggs would engage in combat in order to protect their master, although they couldn't carry as much as the trusty packmule (which would ran away from combat unless there was no alternative). Dungeon Siege II promises more options than just Traggs and packmules, however, and these new options will all have a profound effect on the party as well.

Many combat items and weapons remain the same, with rare and legendary weapons popping up randomly for your party. However, weapons and armor will now wear down and will require repairing or even replacing. Additionally, some magical items can be used to enchant your gear, should you have the money and any other materials necessary.

New areas are all over the continent of Aranna, and many of them include massive dungeons you'll have to hack your way through. Shrines containing items of great power must be torn open so the power can be used against the common enemy, but these shrines were not left unguarded, nor will they always be easy to find.

Graphically, the game looks to be exceeding the expectations I had for it. NPCs move and react to their world, ducking down while running down a path to avoid a low branch, and falling as they misstep and inevitably twist their ankle. The jungles and forests are lush, winds whip around trees creating eddies in the fields, and the monsters are far more lifelike during your next excursion through Aranna.

Slated for release later this summer, Dungeon Siege II looks to be on track to fulfill the community's expectations. Aranna is in need of heroes, now more than ever. Who will answer the call?