Dungeon Siege II: Broken World Review

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

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

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.

Enchantment recipes are sort of fun things. There are about 45 of them in the game, and they drop like books (and are stored as such in your journal). Each recipe lists an item and a group of reagents, and if you enchant the item with the reagents, then you end up with a new, unique item. If you've played the original campaign then you know that unique items are usually pretty good, and the recipe items are no exception.

The problem with recipes is that it's sort of a pain to track down the item to be enchanted plus all of the necessary reagents. Gas Powered Games didn't change in any way how shops work, and so it's tedious to an extreme to visit a shop, exit your game, load your game, and then repeat until you find everything you need for a recipe. I have no idea why they didn't modify shops to improve their selection (especially the reagent shops) to make recipes easier to manage. As a result, recipes are nice but also annoying.

The two new classes work a little better. The new Fist of Stone class is a combination of the Melee and Nature Magic classes. It's basically a tough fighter who can do some healing, and who can also inflict some area-effect earthquake damage. The new Blood Assassin class is a combination of the Ranged and Combat Magic classes. This class can (mark) its enemies and then (execute) the mark for additional damage and other benefits.

It's sort of funny; if you play the original Dungeon Siege II campaign, part of the tutorial cautions you against multi-classing, but the two new multi-classes provide a nice mix. They get to use the skills and powers of their core classes, and they also get skills and powers of their own, and so they can be pretty powerful. They also get special (weapon enhancements,) which are buffing spells that give a nice bonus to the character, and which also automatically split experience (using a 70/30 split) to the core classes, so you don't have to micromanage the experience on your own. I tried out both new classes when I made my way through the campaigns, and I thought they were fun to play.


Overall, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the Broken World expansion pack. I liked some of the changes, which you can use during the original campaign as well as the new campaign, but mostly the expansion pack left me underwhelmed, especially in comparison to the Titan Quest expansion pack, which did a lot to revitalize the game.

Nothing in Broken World is overly creative or exciting, and it seems like the expansion pack was created because everyone expected it to be there, rather than because there was any compelling reason for it to be made (sort of like Shrek 3). So be wary if you're thinking about buying it, even at this late date. Broken World isn't horrendously awful or anything, but there are probably better ways out there for you to be spending your time.