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Dungeon Siege II
Dungeon Siege II is finally out!! This is computer RPG gaming at its finest. The graphics are great, the gameplay is addictive, and there's even a storyline!
First, you create your character. You can be a human, an elf, a dryad (wood / nature spirit) or a half giant (large, brawny type). Each race of course has its strengths and weaknesses. There is some basic customization of how you look - light / medium / dark skin, hair style and color - but really, your character on the screen is about 1/2" tall on good resolutions. It's not worth obsessing much over how those teeny pixels look :)
Off you are launched into your world. You don't choose class or profession or anything like that. In a style that I really love, what you do determines what you progress in. If you do a ton of archery, your archery skills increase. If you do a ton of combat magic, your combat magic skills increase. It makes sense.
You start off as a mercenary assaulting a village area. I have to admit that I didn't like this beginning. First off, it says you and your blue-haired elf friend have been mercenaries for many years, yet they have you hitting training dummies. I realize this is necessary for helping newbies learn the combat system, but really, they could have had a pre-assault training area, instead of landing you on a beach and then saying "Oh wait we have some training dummies here for you to play with" :). Also, having the instructors call you "maggot" and "worm" incessantly got a bit much. Someone was watching a few too many old boot-camp movies.
However, soon enough you are free of the mercs and off on your adventure. The characters you interact with seem real, they have their motivations, secrets and goals. It's up to you which people you want to help out. I really would have loved more options in the dialogue - sometimes they only give you one option and I really don't agree with it. It made me feel like my personality was cemented in a style I did not enjoy.
The combat is great, of course, and as you build up party members, you really get into some massively fun fights with spells flaring, arrows flying and swords swinging. You have to learn what area the large creatures are weak in, and exploit those weaknesses to win. You can't just hack and slash your way through if you want to do well. By customizing your party members, along with pets, you can really have the combat experience match your individual style.
Add in the armor / weapon enhancements, the ability to resurrect or to have corpses brought back to safety (for a small fee), and general teleportation fun, and the game really does address many of the annoying issues that make other, similar RPGs a bit cumbersome. For example, if you leave a corpse in a field of battle, it still of course has your "stuff" on it. You can choose to try to wade back into battle with a "fresh you" to retrieve your stuff, or you can pay to have the corpse brought back into town magically.
Once you finish the main game on all 3 difficulty levels, there is endless fun in online multiplayer action!
Buy Dungeon Siege II from Amazon.com
Dungeon Siege 2 Walkthrough - Tips - Hints
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