Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna review by Al Giovetti


By Al Giovetti
Price:Estimated Retail Price $29.99 USD
Release:November 12, 2003
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Developer: Mad Doc Software LLC
Core Team:Peter Calabria, Edmon Carreon, John P. Cataldo, Mathew Corthell, Dr. Ian Lane Davis, Scott Downey, Jason Craig Dunlop, David J. Fielding, Nick Greco, Brian Mysllwy, Tom Murray, Matthew Nordhaus, Paolo Piselli, Ron Rosenberg, Tara Telch, Mike Tuohy, Pat Williams, and hris Wyman
Additional Work:Diane Capen, Michael A. Furstoss, Tim Jones, Anu Kirk, Dan McClure, Jackson Hale Mysillwy, Jennifer Lee Mysllwy, Cynthia D. Pape, Matthew Persing, Frederick Rice, Jennifer Robb, Jerry Robbins, A. J. Sullivan, Christopher Wisner and Joe Wyman
Business & Legal:Shaun McDermott, Melinda Gavin, and Nathan Raymond
Mad Doc Special Thanks:Sandy Davis, Jaime Lane and Duke, Grace Miriam Karr, Erin "No Guns in Class" Maguire, Christine and Max, Melina Murray, Jennifer and Jackers Mysllwy, Lee Rosenberg, Sarah "VV" Vivenzio, Joyce and Art Wyman, and Beaujomoe
Co-Developer:Gas Powered Games: LOA Team
Executive Producer: Chris Taylor
Art Director:Steven Thompson
Art:Kevin Pun (Lead), Dave Dunniway, John Gronquist, Scott Kikuta, Joe Kresoja, Darren Lamb, Carlos Naranjo, and Jason Robertson
Design:Jacob McMahon (Lead), and Daniel Achterman
Engineering:Mike Biddlecombe, James Loe, Chad Queen, and Eric Tams
Level Design:Sarah Boulian (Lead), Christopher Burns, Morien Thomas, Dave Tomandl, and Ruth Tomandl
Network Administrator:Marshall Macy II
Production:Bert Bingham, Jeremy Snook, and Steve Wartofsky
Testing:Paul Dahike (Lead), and Matthew A. Gillikin
Administration:Michelle Lloyd and Greg Stackhouse
Special Thanks:Dave Timoney
Original Team:Gas Powered Games
Designer & Project Leader:Chris Taylor
Producer & Designer:Jacob McMahon
Art Directors:Stephen Thompson and Mark Peasley
Engineering:Mike Biddlecombe, Scott Bilas, Bartosz Kijanka, James Loe, Chad Queen, Rick Saenz, and Adam Swensen
Assistand Producer & Network Administrator:Marsh Macy
Concept Artists:Joe Kresoja, Kevin Pun, Darren Lamb, and Dave Dunniway
Terrain & World Modeling:Dave Dunniway, Kevin Pun and Brett Johnson
Animation, Modeling & Texturing:David "Lee" Phemister, Joe Kresoja, John Gronquist, and Carlos Naranjo
Textures & Foliage:Darren Lamb
World Designers:Sarah Boulian, Jason "Ernsie" Ernsdorff
Special Effects and Content Engineering:Eric Tams
Office Administrator:Michelle Lloyd
Production Assistants:Carlos Naranjo and Michelle Lloyd
Level Designers:David Tomandl, Greg Romanszka, Christopher Burns, Erik Johnson, and Ruth Tomandl
Production Coordinator:Bert "Sleepy" Bingham
Story & Dialog:Neal Hallford, Sarah Boulian, Bert "Sleepy" Bingham and Evan Pongress
Technical Documentation:Jeremy "Snooker" Snook
Community Coordinator:Darren "Guttyr" Baker
Additional Engineering:Jessica Tams
Original Music Composition:Jeremy Soule, Julian Soule, and Steve Smith (Scoring Engineer) www.jeremysoule.com
Sound Design:Frank Bry
Earthgate Team:Richard Smith, Steve Parrott, Pasha Smith, Beau Brennen, Kalev Tait, Travis Gray, and Laureen Hart
Test Team:Jeremy "Snooker" Snook (Lead), Jason "Freeze" Moerbe (Test Lab Lead), Jonathan Burns, Jason Clark, Jim "Corpse" Clark, Steve "BK" Crawford, Paul Dahlik, Joshua Drollman, Doug Jacobs, Jason Kles, Brian Moore, Buddy Phillips, Ted Snook, Eric "Guideon" Snyder, Matt Szuch, and TJ Wright
Special Thanks:Amy Baker, Staci Cearns, Stephanie Dunniway, Jennifer Kijanka, Eddie Lloyd, Danica Macy, Collin Martin, Tami McMahon, Deb Meyer Snook, Donna Morina, Carolyn Prentice, Sophia Pun, Lindsay Saenz, Misty Silver and Kimberly Taylor
Additional Thanks:Cheryl Askeland, Don "Argyle" Jacques, Microsoft Hardware Division, Casey Muratori, Greg "NAFDA" Osterloh, Brett "Bambam" Parsons, Steve Rabin, Steve Snow, Dan Strandberg, and Paul Tozour
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Program Management:Bartosz Gulik
Product Planning:Jon Grande and Brett Schnepf
Marketing:Christopher Lye
Testing Leads:Daland "Strider" Davis, Chris "Duckman" Liu II, and Jennifer Boespflug
Testers:Michael Brisset, Brant Schweigert
Volt Testers:Larry Bridges, Benjamin "Bone Crusher" Brodsky, Sean Epperson, Jeremiah Foco, Greg "Porkfry" Hjertager, Mark Medlock, Michael L. Tom, Eric Vaughn and Gayle Wiler
Excell Data Corporation Tester:Stephen Musch
Volt Recon Testers:Jeff Cloud, James M. Costello, Blake Dodson, Chris Green, David Green, Dotstry Jackson, Chris Killian, Nick Klein, Karl LeDoux, Vincente Lujan, Mori Marchany, Travis Needhan, Christian Novembrino and Dustin Worrell
Manual:Laura Hamilton, John Sutherland, and Tyler Mays
Manual Print Design:Todd Lubsen and Doug Startzel (ArtSource)
Print & Packaging Operations:Liz Corcoran, Errnst Janson, and Darin Stumme (ArtSource)
User Testing:Ramon Romero, Jun Kim, Elizabeth Fitterer (Siemens)
Localization:Dectan MacHugh, Kazuyuki Kumai, Lana Peng, and David Serra (S&T Onsite)
Customer Support:Greg Frankovic
Legal:Jama Cantrell, Hubert Cheng, Sue Stickney and Judy Weston
Geopolitical Strategy:Tom Edwards
Press Relations:Annie Eckles (Edelman), Eric Kwan (Edelman) and Steve Cherrier
Phone: 425-637-9308 (USA), 905-568-3503 (Canada)
Website: http://support.microsoft.com/, http://microsoft.ca/support/
Requirements:333 MHz processor, 8MB 3D graphics videocard, 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB of available hard-disk space, 8x CD-ROM drive, DirectX 8.0 comptible sound card, 56.t kbps modem for one to four players, broadband or LAN for five or more players in multiplayer
Recommended:1 GHz Processor, GeForce 16MB videocard, broadband for multiplayer

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Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna

Summary * History * Company Line * Game Play * Plot * Graphics * Animation * Voice Actors * Music Score * Sound Effects * Utilities * Multi-player Features * Cheats, Hints, and Walkthrough * Journalists * References * Letters


Gas Powered Games Corp. was founded in May 1998 by Chris Taylor, creator of the award-winning "Total Annihilation." Located in Kirkland, Washington, "Gas Powered Games is staffed by top talent and is devoted to creating immersive, cutting-edge games theat push technological boundaries." What else would any self-respecting game company want to do today?


Company Line

Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna returns players to the world of Aranna and an all-new adventure that is an extension of the original game's storyline. Players are drawn outside the original Kingdom of Ehb into the wilds of Aranna to solve an ancient mystery. The adventure reveals the origins, lives and eventual downfall of the ancient Utraean civilization. Building on the critically acclaimed gameplay found in "Dungeon Siege" the expansion pack features a new part of the world to explore, fantastic creatures to battle, treasures to loot, mysteries to unlock, weapons to weild, armor for protection and unique item sets.

You will find the following key features in the Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna:

  • All-new campaign: The Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna" expansion pack challenges players to journey, explore and fight their way through nine spectacular areas, including an all-new jungle region, as they unravel the rich history and mystery of the world of Aranna.
  • Additional Spells, weapons and armor: Mages weild dozens of new magicks, including spells suck as Diminution, Animal Rage and Zorkon's Bonecrusher.
  • New half-giant character: Standing over 9 feet tall, the new half-giant player character towers over the rest of the characters and attacks with primal ferocity.
  • New cooler treasure: The player can find rare and powerful treasure sets among the spoils of battle in the "Dungeon Siege" expansion. These sets are made up of individual items, powerful in their own right, that when combined grant the owner new and wonderous abilities.
  • Even more intense battles: As players adventure through Aranna, they encounter previously unseen species of creatures to battle, including the reptilian Zaurask and the giant catlike Hassat.
  • New pack animal: This pack animal fights back, defending the player's treasure to the death if necessary.
  • Multiplayer capability featuring Veteran and Elite modes
  • New world map
  • New "Group Awareness" functionality
  • Seamless world environments
  • Original "Dungeon Siege" included: The expansion pack will also include the original "Dungeon Siege" for the same price. Players will be able to discover or rediscover the mystery, intrigue and excitement of the original world of Aranna in addition to the new world enabled through the expansion pack.

Game Play

There are many new features in the game. These new features include improved control groups, redistributable potions, transformation spells, orb spells, imbued items, treasure sets, localized attacks, backpacks, a sell all button, auto-arrange improvements, multiplayer save, world map, distinct party members, and pack animals. These new features make the game easier to play and a more rewarding experience.

The designers have listened to the complaints of their players and have made an attempt to correct these problems. Unfortunately, in several areas the improved features do not do much to fix the complaints of the players. For example, inventory is still too small. It is really a pain, to return to vendors to sell repeatedly.

Control groups allow you to select one of ten spells even if they are not active. Control groups link ten different slot combinations to a number key by using control and a number to activate. The system for setting and activating is similar to how character groups are set up with real-time strategy games.

Using the R hot key code or the redistribute potion icon in the lower left of the screen head's up display. Redistribute potions will distribute potions to your group so that melee characters get more health potions and all the mana potions go to the casters. Use of potions by your characters is automatic when needed.

New spells called transformation spells can transform your magic users into powerful melee fighters. The Rock Beast and Scorpion are two of the melee transformations that your magic users can transform into.

Orb spells create powerful magical orbs that target nearby enemies. Your hands are left free to melee, use ranged weapons, or cast spells.

Imbued items, armor and weapons can be found as loot during the game. Imbued items have larger magical effects than normal magic items. Imbued items have a purple background to distinguish them from blue background magic items.

Treasure sets are a set of three to fie pieces of weapons, armor or other equipment that have an aqua background in inventory. The pieces of the treasure set are powerful by themselves. When combined together as a set the armor obtaines special bonuses for the player.

Localized attacks prevent your character from running into the midst of a group of powerful monsters. Localized attacks is activated by using the shift key when moving forward. When using localized attack, your character will target or engage the closest enemy rather than running into and through trouble. When there are no enemies near, using the shift key will cause your group to break open treasure containers. Localized attack is particularly useful when advancing while using the overhead map, where you cannot see the treasure containers.

One backpack can be carred by each character increasing the carry capacity of each character by about 50%. Unlike Neverwinter Nights which has many screens of items and can use mulltiple packs and magic bags, your character still has a very limited carry capacity.

The sell all button does just what you would suppose, it sells all nonequipped items. You can set the sell all to four different modes: sell all but potions, scrolls and unique spells, sell all but scrolls and potions, sell all but unique spells, or sell all. A very nice feature of the selling interface is that if you sell something by accident to the shopkeeper and you want to buy it back the shopkeeper will sell you the item for the same price he or she paid you.

Items disappear from the vendors and the ground and shopkeeper's inventory after ten minutes. This can be a problem when a party member dies in a particularly dangerous spot. You may be unable to rescue the party member without the rest of your party dying which may cause you to loose items, since they will disappear given time.

One major problem with these games that use inventories that use item shape to determine what items will fit, is that you are constantly rearranging your inventory to make items fit. This was particularly annoying in the original Dungeon Siege due to the small inventory of the characters. Now items auto-arrange as you pick up new items, eliminating the need to manually rearrange character inventory to make room. This feature makes the small inventory a bit more tolerable.

Dungeon Siege still is a pain due to the small inventory size. You cannot access parts of your inventory, specifically the contents of backpacks and spellbooks, when conversing with a shopkeeper. A larger size inventory that has pages would be a better idea, something like Neverwinter Nights.

Multiplayer save: Every time your group exits a mutiplayer gaem, the Journal state of your character will be saved. When you play through the game with friends, your progress is saved letting you complete all the quests together. Your position in the game is not saved when you exit a multiplayer game. When you return to the game, you can select from the menu a place of your own choosing.

The world map is new to Dungeon Siege. The world map is activated by shift+tab or using the icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen. The world map has no autotravel it merely shows you your location in the world to give you some perspective.

Each party member has a distinct personality, which is really nothing new to gaming, but it is new to Dungeon Siege. Your characters do not comment on places that you go or things that you do so the feature is not really developed well. You can turn off the voice-over acknowledgements if they get tiresome by going to the options menu, selecting the audio tab, clicking the more button and then finally clicking the voice overs button.

New pack animals have been added to the game. These pack animals are the Tragg. Unlike a packmule pack animal, Tragg can fight against the attackers.

The game has no autotravel even though it has an automap. Autotravel saves a tremendous amount of time. The game does use teleporter devices, but they are too few to be really useful.




Voice Actors

Music Score

Sound Effects


Multi-player Features


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