Dungeon Siege 2 (PC) previewed by bASh

There are people who love asking you when you were completely happy for the last time. Often you’ll need to give some stupid reply like “this morning” or “last summer”, but for me that time has passed! Yes, my dear reader, the last time I felt completely happy was the moment a lone single white disc with the writing “Dungeon Siege 2 preview” arrived in my mailbox…

The original get almost unanymous praising comments and the game appealed to both the RPG and hack&slash lovers. Gas Powered Games promises – amongst others – a stronger storyline, better graphics and more intelligent creature AI for its successor. You want to know whether they’ve succeeded in that ? Then please do read on !

After the intro movie tells you about the background story, you enter the game as mercenary of the dark warrior Valdis who’s at war with the Dryad-tribe.

Though you get to know about the Quantum Code trading software from the various reliable reviews and forums, it is better you test and get to know about the system all by yourself by taking the demo account trial. This would elaborate and bring to your eyes everything about the system.

After a fight turned bad you wake up in a Dryad cell and receive the bad news: you’re a prisoner of war and need to do some things in order to regain your freedom.

If you want, you can quickly add 2 new members to your party to travel more comfortable through the woods of Eirulan. The “learning while doing” system of the original game has been kept, which means you’ll need to fight with your sword if you want to improve in melee combat. With each level that rises, you get some skill point with which you can give that hero more life or armor, make him use bows and arrows more efficiently, or have him “harvest” some mana- or life potions from certain bushes.

Once you have the necessary amount of skillpoints, you can get a special power which you can use for one major attack (or defense) against enemies, after which you need to reload that power again. Smart use of your powers is a good way to get rid of the stronger monsters.

Good news for those that love animals. The known donkey from the original is back, and this time he can really kick ass with his paws. There are other animals aswell so instead of looking for party members, you can also buy a scorpion or lava monster.

The good thing about these animals is that they eat your crap (overload of helmets, swords, …) and become stronger by doing this. For instance, if you feed all your swords to your cudly little pet, it will become stronger in melee combat and strength. This all goes with a cool visual aspect so that you really see it grow as it gets more to eat.

Also all other aspects are beautifully portrayed by the way. The new engine brings forth realistic and huge landscapes in which your party and all monsters start fighting in high detail. “And why won’t we make all effects just as pretty ?” the makers must have thought as all powers and spells are accompanied with great light shows. Only for that you will want to have a magician in your party!

But not only the graphical engine got a (major) overhaul, also the AI hasn’t been forgotten. Enemies will try to get rid of your party’s healer first, and then focus on the hero that can bring them the most damage. Since this is often your magician of archer, these will need protection from a strong warrior.

Next to the main quests, there are also many secondary tasks that earn you gold, special party members or objects. The main storyline is constantly shown in cutscenes, created by the fantastic ingame engine. The further you progress, the more exotic locations you’ll visit on your path. Caves, woods, small paths over a rock, snow, … it’s all present in Dungeon Siege 2.

Since this was of course still only a beta version, plenty of bugs were still present which prohibited me from completing certain missions. My hopes remain however that by the time the game goes gold, these will be removed. What I’ve played up until now makes me drool until the summer when DS2 will finally arrive.