Dungeon Siege 2: Broken World Review
Ah, the genre made famous by Diablo, the Action RPG. Sure, there’ve been others on the PC, but almost everyone has heard of Diablo. This game, on its release in the mid 90s, had a huge impact on the gaming industry – it helped to keep a genre going that many saw as dying. Sure, it wasn’t as deep as most RPGs in the sense of gameplay but it did have a somewhat interesting story and was hellaciously addictive.
It was a no-brainer, then, that we’d end up seeing tons of Diablo clones. While most of them were pure crap, a couple of them stood out, Dungeon Siege being one of them. The game took an interesting spin on the formula – it added the ability to pause the action, the ability to have multiple party members (in the single player game) and a different leveling system. A few years later, a sequel was released and it met with similar success to the first.
And now, Dungeon Siege 2: Broken World has been released. This expansion really doesn’t pick up where the last game left off. I mean, really, how could you when the great evil of the world is destroyed? Simple – create a brand new great evil to contend with! Needless to say, Broken World’s story isn’t much to write home about.
However, I’d guess most aren’t buying this game for the story and are interested in the other things that it brings to the table. The first one and what most will likely buy the game for are the two new classes. Blood Assassins are a ranged offense class while the First of Stone is a melee-oriented character. Both of these characters will prove to be valuable to your party both in the new areas and, once you manage to get the skills to unlock them, in the old areas as well. Are these classes any fun to use, though?
The Blood Assassin requires ranged and combat magic skill to unlock. Naturally enough, the class is composed of a ton of abilities to let you beat up your enemies from a ways away. You’ll also get some abilities that play off of Marks, a system similar to the one used for Diablo 2’s assassin -- the marks are put on enemies instead of the Assassin. To mark an enemy, you just buff your weapon and shoot. Marked enemies will get hit harder when you shoot at them and then you can make them explode into a bloody mess with the Execute ability. The class really encourages you to think a bit more about how you play instead of just going on autopilot and shooting at all the monsters coming your way instead of just one of them.
The First of Stone is about as much of a polar opposite of the Blood Assassin as you could get. Instead of being ranged/combat magic based, they’re melee/nature magic based. The abilities you’re going to find in the Fist of Stone tree boost hit points and armor or help to enhance your regular melee attacks. All of them, though, seem to be geared around helping you get beat on better. There isn’t an interesting idea here like the Blood Assassin’s marks, though – it is straight-up enhancement of skills you’ll already have as a defensive warrior.
While both of these classes are fun, they both present one major problem with Dungeon Siege 2’s leveling system – you have to spread points. At the beginning of the original game, you’re warned quite a bit about spreading your points out. The game tells you it will make you far less efficient than if you just focused on one weapon or school of magic and went with it. If you use a sword half the time and a bow half the time, you’ll only be half as good in both as opposed to being a higher level archer. While this doesn’t make much of a difference for the first few levels, it becomes huge later on. With Blood Assassin and Fist of Stone being separate trees that require you to have two trees to unlock, you’re going to be spreading a lot of points. Some have argued that this alone makes the new classes not worth trying out. In my experience, though, spreading the points to get Blood Assassin and/or Fist of Stone didn’t hurt me all that much – I just wish they would have been, say, their own new trees that you could get from the beginning and be fully fleshed out that way.
The expansion also adds Dwarves to the game. This addition isn’t as big – as the game goes on, it just becomes another visual option for your character since the bonuses he gets really don’t help that much when your armor provides tons of stats and skill boosts. Also added in this pack were a ton of new quests and new areas to explore. These new areas are more difficult than the original game – considering the original DS2 was pretty difficult as is, Broken World’s difficulty may get a bit frustrating at times. In the end, though, it boils down to how well you can click your mouse.
Overall, Broken World makes for a good, fun expansion. While I feel that the new skill trees should have been added differently, I don’t see it as anything game-breaking. If you enjoyed DS2, you’ll probably enjoy the expansion too. It isn’t going to make you a rabid fan of the series, though, if you hated the original.