Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna review by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti
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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?
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:
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.
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