PC Game -- Dungeon Siege II

Does Dungeon Siege II dethrone Diablo II? No. But the good news is that it comes closer than any game yet. Dungeon Siege II openly embraces its Diablo II lineage, making comparisons simply unavoidable. This isn't a bad thing at all - Diablo II was a brilliant game, after all - but it's a little disappointing that Gas Powered Games didn't stretch itself a little more in the creativity department.

But what Dungeon Siege II lacks in originality, it makes up for with fiendishly obsessive-compulsive gameplay. The game model of click, kill, loot, click, cast, click, and click is a lot like popping bubble wrap; it's senseless and repetitive, but that's part of the charm.

The party element helps differentiate Dungeon Siege II from the Diablo games, but it's both a strength and a weakness. Players can cobble together an array of various characters and sidekicks, but this can make battles chaotic and difficult to manage. If you're controlling a larger party, you'll occasionally find that characters get stuck or obstructed.

Online adventures are limited to four players, each of whom can control two sidekicks; it's a shame there isn't an option to play with eight humans and no sidekicks - the same modest number supported in Diablo II some six years ago. In the end, Dungeon Siege II's Gamespy-powered online modes don't even begin to stack up to Diablo II, which had the advantage of Battle.net (Blizzard's sublime, and free, gaming service) and much larger game sizes. This is a shame, but it's by no means a deal-breaker.

In these types of games, graphics and sound barely matter - they're essentially empty vessels for more clicks and more compulsive carnage. Nevertheless, Dungeon Siege II shines brightly. Though the textures and models tend to fall to pieces if you zoom in too closely, the special effects and environments look simply dazzling. They certainly put Diablo II's sprites to shame. On the audio side, it's pretty much what you'd expect to find: yelp, thuds, and thwacks, driven along by propulsive bongo beats. That, and some mediocre, but inoffensive, voice acting.

Diablo II is quite simply a legend, an effortless, elegant condensation of every compulsive act known to man. Dungeon Siege II is a variation on that premise, and an excellent one. Sure, the new skill tree system (which allows for more character-building flexibility) is a neat twist, and the streamlined inventory system represents a wonderful addition. In short, it's a great game, but it needs a more persistent online community to truly shine. But it's now clear that Dungeon Siege II is now one of the action RPG stars. It makes many welcome tweaks and improvements - far too many to list here - and is sure to thrill any action RPG fan. You'll find the demo on this month's cover DVD.

Click here to view a screenshot.

Visuals: Excellent, assuming you don't look too closely. Dazzling special effects.
Audio: Lacks Diablo II's audio flair, but a good mix of sound effects. Mediocre vocal talent.
Gameplay: Not quite good enough to topple Blizzard's epic, but great if you're a fan looking for fresh meat.
Score: 4
Developer: Gas Powered Games
Distributor: Microsoft
URL: www.gaspowered.com/ds2
Price: $99.95

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Vicious Sid

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?