Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna Review

Duke Ferris
Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 8

Publisher

  • Microsoft

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

Your right to party.

Ever since the very first days of role-playing, there has been a fundamental

split between the single character games, like Ultima, and

those where you had a party, like Wizardry. By and large, it

was always less complicated to play and in turn to design the single-player

RPGs, which often left the party out in the cold. Managing eight characters

simultaneously is exponentially harder, but it’s always a little disappointing

when you find that Mighty Battleaxe of Smiting and just throw it away because

you’re a wizard.

Then

Dungeon Siege showed up and streamlined the

RPG party system so gracefully, you barely noticed it was there. Your characters

would so smart things, like heal each other or attack monsters even if you didn’t

tell them to. Press the healing potion icon, and everyone who needed to would

automatically drink a potion. “How are you feeling, Stig The Barbarian?

Fine? Great!”

Baldur’s Gate micro-managers,

who were always pausing the action to consider all possible spell-and-sword

combinations, might have felt that Dungeon Siege was a little

distant, but I was thrilled. It was great to see all my little guys taking some

initiative for a change.

Fans of the original should be pleased that the expansion is here, but it’s

not really an expansion, because you don’t need to have the original Dungeon

Siege
to play. That’s because the entire first game

is included with Legends of Aranna, making it an especially

good deal for people who have never played Dungeon Siege before.

So what’s new in Legends of Aranna? How about a new

single player campaign? Venture out of the Kingdom of Ehb and into the wilds

of Aranna to try and unravel an ancient mystery. Like the first one, this campaign

is for new characters and is about the same length. And while it’s a good,

classic dungeon crawl, it’s also disappointingly linear, again, just like

the first one. Of the three worlds available to explore in Legends of

Aranna
, it’s the more open-ended, multiplayer Utraean Peninsula

that is my favorite.

Of

course, there’s plenty of new stuff inside the Aranna campaign: new spells,

monsters, weapons and armor. A notable addition are magical sets of items, which

become more powerful with every part of the outfit you find. There’s also a

new half-giant race that can join your party. Towering over all the others,

it looks as if Shaquille O’Neil has joined the team.

Legends of Aranna has fine-tuned the slick interface ever

further, with smarter inventory management, a button for distributing potions

and lots of other little tweaks. Unfortunately, what’s still

not included is a toolset for making your own adventures. Giving the tools to

the fans is like throwing gasoline on a fire. You’re practically guaranteed

unlimited new content and creativity.

Everything else is exactly the same as the original. The graphics hold up surprisingly

well for a year-and-a-half old game. The sound is still great, with a good score,

plenty of clanging metal and fighters that don’t shout their battle-cries

too often. The most impressive part of Dungeon Siege’s

technology is still very cool: no loading. Once you start playing, you’ll

never see a loading screen, ever. Very nice.

However, Legends of Aranna’s best selling point might

be how much of a bargain it is, at least if you never bought the original game.

Since it’s priced as an expansion at $30 but actually has two full games,

it’s one of the best PC deals this year. So go buy yourself an early Christmas

gift and get this party started.



 

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

4
Rating
The party is back
Smart characters
Never a loading screen
Two games for $30
You might already have one of them
Still no toolset