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PC Reviews: Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna (Addon)

 

Dungeon Siege: Legend of Aranna Screenshots


 
The Final Say!
Gameplay
8.5
Graphics
8.9
Sound
8.5
Value
8.7

Dungeon Siege: Legend of Aranna - Andrew B
Review Date: December 2003
Review Score: 8.7/10 
Distributor: Microsoft

Return once again to the magical world of Chris Taylor's Dungeon Siege in Legends of Aranna

Dungeon Siege was probably one of the best role-playing games of 2002 that pushed the limits of the genre with an amazing graphics engine and some of the most entertaining gameplay in a long-time. Gamers once again return to the Kingdom of Ehb that after years of peace is once again going to return to violence and bloodshed. This time a dark insidious creature named the Shadowjumper by the ancients has vowed to unleash the staff of stars on the Kingdom of Ehb. This weapon is so deadly that it threatens the very existence of the Kingdom of Ehb and only your small band of heroes stands in the way of the Shadowjumper and the very fate of mankind. Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna is available in two different versions, the first version is solely the expansion pack that requires the original game to play and the second version is a combination package of the first game with the expansion pack.

The storyline of Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna (now known as Aranna for this review) is a much more in-depth story than the previous instalment of the series. One of my biggest gripes about the original Dungeon Siege game was the lack of solid storytelling, fortunately for Aranna... the story play a pivotal role in the gameplay. Although the very fate of the world is at stake in Aranna, the game offers a variety of mini-quests throughout the game and one of these quests is to avenge your parents death. The developers have done a great job at linking all the storylines together without it become too convoluted as some of the more current role-playing games.

The interface is extremely similar to the previous game but the developers have tweaked quite a few of the features in the game. One of the most noticeable features in Aranna is the improved artificial intelligence of the enemies in the game that now perform a variety of tactics when in battle. The control interface of Aranna uses a combination of the mouse and keyboard to move your party through the Kingdom of Ehb and you can even create your own shortcuts in the game that not only limits repetitive moves but also increases the playability of this title.

Graphically, Aranna is virtually identical to Dungeon Siege and contains a variety of special effects from powerful magic spells to some amazing use of lighting, Aranna, although the engine is probably over two years old is still a very impressive looking title. One of the most impressive features of the game is the use of real-time lighting that actually changes as the day moves on. 

There is also a plethora of weather effects from light rain to mysterious fogs that help drawn the gamer into the world of Dungeon Siege. The game also uses a real 3D engine that allows you to zoom in and out, rotate the camera angle and gives the gamers total access to the gaming environment. As with the previous game, Dungeon Siege only loads once so as you walk throughout the game and enter new areas, you do not have to wait for the program load because of the inbuilt cache that allows for flawless gameplay.

The musical score of Aranna sounds like it has been taken directly from a fantasy movie such as Dungeons & Dragons or The Lord of the Rings and actually changes subtlety while you are playing the title. That is, when the action heats up in the game, the music changes to match the tempo of the gameplay and when the battles are over, the music returns to a very soothing and relaxing tune to help calm your wits and return to exploring the huge world of Ehb. The sound effects of Aranna are also top class and contain all the sounds of swords hitting swords, the sounds of demonic monsters screaming and of course the background sounds that often get missed by gamers such as the sounds of rivers, the winds through the leaves or the sounds of birds. The game also supports some professional voice acting that matches the characters perfectly without any over the top acting.

Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna will take the average gamer around 25 hours to complete and is the perfect accessory to the original game with an interesting storyline, the same impressive graphics as the first and a plethora of new creatures and weapons to help increase the enjoyment of the title. Aranna pays homage to all good role-playing games, create a varied party of heroes to help defeat an ancient evil and once again return order to the universe. Those that love games with multiplayer options will be happy to know that Aranna supports a very in-depth multiplayer mode that is sure to give gamers a few extra months of entertainment. Recommend to those that loved the original or for those that want a robust RPG to help them through the hot months of summer.

- Andrew B

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