Nostalgic games: Dungeon Siege / Hebrew

Short description

Dungeon Siege, developed by Gas Powered Games and released in 2002, was a highly acclaimed game with many award nominations. The game, set in the world of Arana, follows a farmer-turned-savior who must travel through the seamless world to defeat evil creatures attacking the Kingdom of Eb. Unlike other RPGs of the time, Dungeon Siege does not require players to return to town to sell loot and complete quests. The game uses a unique leveling system where skills are improved through use, and there are no classes. A 2003 expansion pack, Legends of Aranna, adds new content and improvements.

Nostalgic games: Dungeon Siege / Hebrew

The beginning of zero – a time when the game market was not yet so strongly monopolized by large corporations that stamp the same game every year without trying to come up with something new and unique. Most of the game companies were small by today’s standards, so the developers, united for the purpose of implementing their ideas, were not afraid to take risks and experiment. That’s exactly what the guys from Gas Powered Games did, releasing Dungeon Siege in 2002 – their first, quite ambitious and interesting product, highly appreciated by both critics and players. The project received many awards, as well as nominations for “Game of the Year”.

Many journalists called the game “Diablo Killer”, then it was fashionable to call almost every Action RPG that way. But it is interesting that even today there are observers who consider her a diabloid. In my opinion, this is a misjudgment. Despite some similarities, Dungeon Siege doesn’t have any randomness in “knocking” things out of enemies. In addition, the game is party-based, although the option to play as a single character also exists. Gameplay the game is like a very simplified Dragon Age: Origins, but fans will forgive me.

I would really like to talk about Dungeon Siege, because for its time it was a very iconic product that was loved by a large number of players around the world.

It’s funny, but I don’t remember my first acquaintance with the game well, while remembering it now, a pleasant warmth arises in my soul. That is why I wanted to write this review and introduce this project to new players. We would like to remind “seasoned” gamers about the times when a 333 MHz processor and 1.5 GB on a hard drive were enough to have a great time)))

Who

The creator is Gas Powered Games, known mainly only for the series of games Supreme Commander and Dungeon Siege, headed by Chris Taylor (author of the iconic game Total Annihilation). Unfortunately, the studio was no longer distinguished by any really hit projects, and in 2013, it was bought out by Wargaming.net and renamed Wargaming Seattle. Since 2017, the company has been working on a new part of World Of Tanks, in which players would be able to face in battle on modern combat vehicles, but the project was not destined to come true. In 2018, it was announced that the studio would be closed and 150 employees would be laid off.

Plot

You will have to plunge into the world of the game called Arana, where the Kingdom of Eb has known neither wars nor misfortune for three hundred years. Life flowed peacefully until all the lands of Eba were attacked by evil creatures – krags, undead hordes, goblins, druugs and many other dangerous animals. Many believe that it was all the fault of the mysterious Sik race, which disappeared for hundreds of years, almost forgotten by people and remained only in their folklore.

An ordinary farmer who survived an attack by Krags on his village must warn the people in the nearest town about the danger that threatens them. Thus begins the story of a simple peasant who later became the savior of an entire kingdom.

This is how our adventure begins

Gameplay

The world of the game is completely seamless, and travel through it without downloading. Let’s not talk about any “open world” (all locations are quite corridor and linear), but in 2002 the very possibility of traveling without eternal downloads between locations was surprising. It also contributes to even greater immersion, because you will be pleased to look back and remember the beginning of your journey, receiving moral satisfaction from the path you have taken. You will have time to visit different regions of the world with a unique climate and environment, fight with thousands of different monsters, and find many treasures.

If it were a movie, I would say that its genre is “Road movie”, and if you choose an association with the book, the first thing that comes to mind is the prehistory of “The Lord of the Rings” – “The Hobbit, or There and Back”.

Most RPGs require you to return to town to sell loot and complete quests, but Dungeon Siege is designed so that you don’t have to. Anything extra is sold upon arrival in a new city, or turned into gold by a special spell. In addition, there is an opportunity to hire donkeys for the team, which will help carry all the loot.

The only thing that distracts you during your travels in the world of Arana is additional tasks. Let them be quite banal, but allow you to liven up with new weapons, armor or spells. Also, the game has a very large number of different secrets and hidden passages. Where will the inconspicuous path in the forest lead, what will be in the secret cave in the basement, and what awaits you behind the old wall in the dungeon that can be demolished? All these questions only ignite a sense of excitement and a desire to explore the world, and the game, in turn, will surely reward you with some interesting loot for your curiosity.

In addition to the unusual for the genre of those years traveling the world, I really like the mechanics of evil. Unlike Diablo, where the character drinks them by the liter, Dungeon Siege, when using potions, you spend exactly as much as you need to restore. For example, if you have a bottle of 100 mana and you only need to restore 45, then after drinking the potion, you will have 55 charges left. To free up the inventory, pour the liquid from the small bottles into one large one. It seems like a trifle, but the mechanics are quite interesting and original.

As you explore the world, you will regularly encounter hostile representatives of these lands. At such moments, the game turns into a pure Action RPG, where you are free to pause to issue commands (for example to your wife =)). You start the game as one hero, but as you travel the world you will meet other characters who want to join your travels. A squad can consist of a maximum of 8 units, but you can also play alone, although it will be a little more difficult.

If you don’t want to play alone, and you don’t want to take additional characters into your team, you can start your journey with your friends, since the game supports a cooperative mode. You have the opportunity to go through both the original company and a special multiplayer one. If that’s not enough, download fan creations.

Role system

Starting out as a simple farmer rather than a great warrior saving the world, your hero is a test that you are free to mold into what you will. There are no skill points or levels here, and the leveling itself is similar to The Elder Scrolls series: by using a skill, you improve mastery. There are also no classes, there are only formal designations that do not affect anything. Yes, an archer can cast spells, and a mage can carry a heavy ax, but it is not recommended to do this, since the main ones will be idle when spending on pumping other skills. As a result, you may face the problem of not being able to wear new found items without the necessary qualifications.

By using a melee weapon, you will pump the corresponding skill and also increase the power level. Shooting with bows will increase shooting skill, and with it, dexterity. Well, using combat magic and nature magic, the skills and intelligence of the same name will progress. I would like to note that in parallel with your main attribute, others will grow. For example, a warrior’s strength level will increase quickly, but agility will increase much more slowly, and intelligence will increase very slowly.

Addition

Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna is an expansion pack released in 2003 that adds new content and improvements to the game. The main plot of the expansion is that the player must travel to the northwest of Arana to explore its secrets and stop a villain who threatens the world.

In addition to the new company, new item categories have been added – enchanted and complete. Teleporters appeared, allowing you to move between locations, which, in my opinion, had a negative effect on the atmosphere. Dozens of new monsters, items, and spells have been introduced, as well as other minor tweaks and fixes like the ability to increase inventory. The expansion includes a new multiplayer game mode that allows players to battle each other in PvP combat.

Sound accompaniment

In Dungeon Siege, the soundtrack plays an important role in maintaining the atmosphere and helping players feel the depth of the world they are in. Accompanying sounds enhance the impression of the environment and the events taking place. Depending on the location, the music can be intense and energetic or calm and melancholic. Meanwhile, she unobtrusively plays in the background, without distracting from the gameplay component.

The composer is Jeremy Soule – the author of music for such hits as Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls series and a dozen other games.

Interesting fact

Did you know that the game was made into a movie by the “Great” director Uwe Boll. Jason Statham starred in the main roles, and in addition to him, Uwe was able to drag into his work such actors as Ron Perlman, Matthew Lillard, John Rhys-Davies, Christina Loken, Burt Reynolds, and Ray Liotta! And he did not stop there, shooting the second and third parts of the film! Of course, I am not a film critic, and the review is on a different topic, but judging by Kinosearch or IMDB, neither the first nor the following films were appreciated by the audience…

Jason Statham’s character is called Farmer))))

Cons

Dungeon Siege is one of those games that time has not spared. And if at the beginning of zero many decisions of game designers seemed logical, then nowadays not everyone will be able to forgive these disadvantages of the game. I want to say that despite everything else, I have been playing for the last two weeks, enjoying myself.

  • Additional tasks in the game are quite boring. These are banal “kill the enemy”, “find an item”. It’s nice that you usually don’t need to go back to the quest giver to hand in the completed errand.

  • The game world is quite empty, the locations lack details. But this can be explained by the weak capabilities of those computers.

  • Partners are empty fools who do not comment on anything that happens to them. You can’t even talk to them! At that time, it was commonplace, but nowadays it catches the eye.

  • There are no active combat skills, and they are sorely lacking. It is comforting that at least in the second part of the series they were added to the game.

  • Graphical archaism also makes its mark, but probably only the first minutes of the game.

  • Minor delays before your wards start executing.

Well, the last thing that really annoyed me was the elevators! I am sure that many fans of the series will immediately understand what I am talking about. There are quite a few of them in the game, but due to timing, I didn’t always have time to fit the whole group together. Therefore, the lift often left some team members behind.

Elevators are not always so spacious

Mods and localization

There are many mods available for the game that complement the game. These can be texture improvements, inventory expansion, new companies, changes to game mechanics, and much more. In general, mods for Dungeon Siege can significantly improve the gameplay and add new opportunities for players.

There are several pirated localizations for this game and one licensed one from the company “New Disk”. The translation isn’t perfect, as some things in the game remain in English, but that’s a drop in the bucket.

As in my previous review of Red Alert 2, there is no need to install any mods to increase the screen resolution, it is enough to correct the settings file using a text editor.

For myself, I chose the GOG version of the game, which was put on top by the Russifier from New Disk. The Telegram channel posted the game installer with an add-on, as well as a Russifier. But I want to warn you that my localization does not work together with Legends of Aranna (the game crashes at the start of a new batch). In addition, there you will find instructions on how to increase the screen resolution without installing mods.

Result

After reading all the disadvantages that I have listed, a logical question arises: “Why play it?”.

I think Dungeon Siege, for all its flaws, has soul and atmosphere. The feeling of a long, interesting adventure, an interesting pumping system, many battles will be your companions for tens of hours. The game may not hold up very well, as many game mechanics are unfortunately outdated, but you’ll still enjoy Dungeon Siege and immerse yourself in its world.

I’ve been playing games for over 25 years, and I remember them as just that: soulful and addictive, with engaging mechanics and interactivity, no in-game currency, and no attempt to be anything but a game. In my Telegram channels not only game reviews are waiting for you, but also current news and thoughts about gamedev. Subscribe, it will be interesting!

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