Dungeon Siege combines the immersive elements of a role-playing game with over-the-top
intensity and non-stop action. Dungeon Siege plunges you into a continuous 3D fantasy
world where you face off against an army of evil that has been unleashed. You begin
as a humble farmer, and as you travel through the world and gain new skills, you
can gather a party of up to eight characters to aid you.
Dungeon Siege came out on Windows a year earlier than the Mac, and I had the chance
to play it on Windows XP. This review is for the new Mac version of the game, published
by MacSoft, and is for OS X only.
To those of you that have played Diablo
or Diablo II, Dungeon Siege will have a very familiar interface. You determine what
your character will equip (armor and weapons), and as your character gains experience,
better things can be equipped. You travel through different areas, killing enemy
creatures, and picking up goodies that they leave behind (gold, armor, weapons, etc.).
Dungeon Siege is broken down into chapters, and within each chapter are various quests
to complete. You obtain information about your quests from people you meet along
the way, mostly in towns. Some people want you to rid their basement of monsters,
or retrieve some lost books, while the bigger quests focus on long term goals of
fortifying a fort, retrieving an important artifact, or hunting down an evil enemy.
As the overview states, you start off as a humble farmer, with minimal armor and
weaponry, embarking on a wild and exciting journey through mystic lands. Similar
to Diablo, you can only get new armor, weapons, potions and spells at a shop, either
in a town or a secluded trading post, or find the items left behind from fallen enemies.
Unlike Diablo, there are several towns that you can visit (Diablo II has two primary
towns), and the journey is more linear rather than "spider-like" (Diablo
centered around the town, going back and forth between it in various areas of danger).
In Dungeon Siege, the game focuses on the story, and on progression. When you start
off, the monsters you encounter are easy to kill. You gain experience as you go along,
which improves your performance. The strength of the enemies parallels your own experience
and armory (i.e., monsters become much tougher as you become more experienced).
In Dungeon Siege you encounter other characters who are welling to join you on your
quests (some for free, others for a sum of gold). In addition to your comrades, you
can also purchase mules in certain towns, providing you with extra capacity for collecting
items as you go. I found the mules quite useful, as it meant less effort picking
and choosing what to keep when my inventory was full... just throw it on the mule.
Your game party has a limit of 8 characters, including mules. In the beginning it's
not an issue, but once you have 6 characters and 2 mules, and then encounter another
character, sacrifices have to be made (lose a mule or a weaker character to accept
a new character).
What really sets Dungeon Siege apart from other RPG's I've played is the interface,
graphics, and soundtrack. The interface is something you notice immediately, as everything
uses true 3D modeling, and zooming and angling is as simple to control as moving
the mouse. You can change your perspective 360 degrees at any time, and zoom close
enough to see the details of your characters, or far out enough to see all your characters
as well as much of the terrain. The 3D graphics are unbelievable. Great detail has
been given to every object, creature, plant, building, and rock. The terrain effects
are five star. There are areas where it is raining, snowing, or fog drifting in,
and the translucent affects of the weather, as well as obstacles which might otherwise
block your view, are done fantastically well. For instance, you may be heading into
a forest area thick in trees, but once you get right up on the trees, the translucent
effect allows you to see past the trees, providing you better visibility and creating
the next best thing to peripheral vision. And while the effects enhance the visual
experience, they don't impede on the game play, as most of the "eye candy"
you can virtually walk through (such as trees, plants and small rocks). The larger
items, such as buildings, cliffs, boulders, fences, and other objects that are intended
to block passage must be ventured around.
The sound effects in the game are great, as is hinted immediately when you start
the game and watch and listen to the effects of the game menu. Once in the game,
everything comes to life. From rivers to rain, critters to characters, everything
has a sound, and there is a strong sense of a living environment that you travel
through. Added to the great sound effects is perhaps my favorite part of the game,
the music soundtracks. The music is original, intense, and wonderfully integrated
into the story. From one area to the next, the music transitions perfectly, and each
area has it's own theme, some are variations of earlier themes, while others are
completely unique. You can be walking through gorgeous and spooky caves with eerie
music, or traveling along steep cliffs with fog rolling down the mountain side with
suspenseful music. The main theme of the game (or the character's theme as I interpret
it) resonates in various renditions throughout the game. By virtue of the long adventures,
you become familiar with it, and so while all the music is nice, the character theme
brings added excitement upon each return (for movie buffs, it has a similar effect
as the Indiana Jones theme).
The "cut scenes" are another thing of beauty in Dungeon Siege. Cut scenes
are those movies that are breaks between chapters and at the start and end of certain
quests. In most other games, especially older games, these cut scenes shift from
the game screen. They are usually movies which are of a greater and completely different
style and quality from actual gameplay, often showing generic scripted scenes regardless
of the player and game progress. In Dungeon Siege, this has been taken to the next
level. Utilizing the amazing 3D engine in the game, Dungeon Siege plays the cut scenes
live, right in the game, with the scenes and characters that are already in use.
During the scene, it pauses the player's ability to control any of the characters,
as angled shots shift and slide, like in a movie. Text scrolls at the bottom along
with a scripted voice describing the scene. These characters that you dressed, trained,
and befriended during your journeys become the stars of each cut scene! This was
a nice treat.
In the very end, after completing the final quest, I was actually sad to see the
game end. But that's when you can take your highly experienced character (either
your main one, or any of the other characters in your party) and journey out onto
the internet to travel with other Dungeon Siege players through a whole new map.
As with any internet play, you are at the mercy of the internet throughput, and your
co-players can enter or leave any time they choose (unlike your faithful comrades
in single player mode). I found the internet play interesting, but it didn't keep
my attention or fascination as much as the single player game.
I was hard pressed to find anything to fault in the game, but after playing all the
way through (and half way through a second time), it does fall just a hair short
of perfection. Some interface functions could be made a little more friendlier. For
example, when going to shop, I often loaded one mule with everything I wanted to
sell. Rather than having to click and drag each item one at a time, I would have
liked to have just sold everything in one step, either a "Sell All" function,
or the ability to highlight multiple things and drag them over for one big sell operation.
There were also some minor and infrequent graphical glitches I noticed from time
to time. For example, when ascending stairs back to level ground, the map would sometimes
be reluctant to switch from the lower level to the upper level. The overview mapping
function is somewhat limited as well. In areas where things are dark and the path
is not as clear, the overview map does not provide as much help as you wish it would.
The scope of the map is centered around the current character, and it is not resizable.
When lost, I would have preferred seeing much more of the terrain in the map mode
to figure out where I was.
I'm ecstatic to see this game ported to
the Mac. Unlike some delays in Mac ports that have taken years, this port has come
relatively quick. This was a favorite of mine on Windows, and now it's a favorite
of mine on the Mac. The port to the Mac was flawless. Playing the game on the Mac,
I could not tell the difference, in terms of graphics, sounds, interface, the whole
works. Of course, on my G4, it shines more with my LCD 17" screen and iSticks
/ iSub sound devices.
Dungeon Siege for Mac OS X is an RPG game that
takes the tediousness out of the RPG experience with a streamline interface, allowing
you to focus on the story, battles and character statistics. It emmerses you into
a living world full of beautiful graphics, sounds, and music, and challenges you
with interesting quests and a huge variety of enemies to fight against. It is one
of the most rewarding gaming experiences I've had in a long time. With the exception
of a few slight interface quarks, Dungeon Siege provides a masterful gaming experience
that seems to focus on the player having fun more than anything else. Originally
released for Windows, the port to Mac OS X is brilliant. Whether you're a fan of
RPG's or action games, Dungeon Siege does not disappoint.
- Streamline interface with 360 degree perspective
- Awesome sound effects and music soundtracks
- Gorgeous 3D graphic game play and integrated cut
- Hours and hours of fun RPG adventures
- Limited overview map function
- A few interface quarks
1/2 out of 5 Mice