Dungeon Siege

Dungeon Siege (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So it turns out that when I imported “All” the content from K3 to Epistula, and from there to WordPress, over the last ten years, some stuff didn’t actually make it though. Specifically, it appears that the content of the Reviews system has gone. Now, since I have a backup of the KLIND/KLIDE/KEWL database you’d think it would be there somewhere, but apparently not. Archive.org has it, though. So, my review of Dungeon Siege from 10 years ago. Today, I finally completed it.

I know, ten years is a long time to finish a game. I wrote the original review about halfway though the game, and I agree with almost everything it says. It’s a multi-party Diablo-style dungeon RPG. You click things, they die. This is the evolution from Diablo with nicer graphics, the ability to hire a dedicated pack-mule into a character slot, and a button to fetch all the loot around you. Torchlight took the game a step further later on. (DS2 might have, too. I bought that on Steam this weekend, so soon I get to find out).

Anyway, in nine hours spread over 30 hours, I went though the main campaign of DS1. The plot, as 10-years-ago-me noted, isn’t the shining beacon of narrative you might hope for, but it drives the player and her band of mute misfits though forest, snow, desert, jungle, industrial, castle and hell zones to the final encounter with the big bad. So far, so hoopy.

A thing I didn’t mention then, but noted at the time: As in all these games, your character is defined by you, be it a brown-haired unshaven early thirties action hero or a kick-ass redheaded girl. However, in almost all of these games the “canon” version (see Mass Effect, Neverwinters, etc.) are all male. For DS and the expansion pack, the girl option gets the spotlight. It shouldn’t be notable, and it shouldn’t be unusual. But I do, because it is.

Oh, the expansion pack. The “complete Dungeon Siege” pack currently on sale on Steam doesn’t have it. Doesn’t have the one for DS2 either. Also the co-op campaign for DS1 doesn’t work. But most of all, the biggest disappointment, and the thing that turned this from an enjoyable romp though an old game to a frustrating exercise in retro-gaming is:

The game crashes at the end, before the final cut scene.

Now, the story isn’t going to win the game any originality awards. The resolution isn’t exactly a sudden surprise, and the final twist ending is so subtle and careful that it’s not there, but the amount of narrative frustration that this sudden crash brought was exceptional. I play for stories, a lot of the time, so the final crash was so surprising that my jaw literally dropped as I was presented with the faux-mechanical animation of Dungeon Siege’s menu system instead of some kind of resolution. I was so surprised that I played though the final battle again, although when the crash came I was less shocked.

Fortunately, the ending’s up on Youtube, so I got to watch it as I would have done ten years ago. With pixels the size of lego bricks.

So, no ending, no expansion. A half-arsed conversion just enough to generate the cash for a “complete” trilogy edition.

Play it, but get an old copy from Amazon or something instead.

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