That’s the odd question that I had to struggle with when I first got into Dungeon Siege in 2002. As I recall, it was a fairly anticipated title from Gas Powered Games that claimed to have innovative ideas for the action-RPG genre.
You start out as a farmer whose village comes under attack, kicking off a tour of well-worn fantasy tropes that will continue through your linear tour of the world. So you pick up a weapon and go fighting, and depending on the weapon you use, you get better with it. You eventually find party members and recruit them. You can even get a mule to carry your junk.
But the weird thing is that while Diablo was a mouse-click-fest, Dungeon Siege was almost the opposite — an action-RPG on auto-pilot. You see, your party just auto-attacks as you progress, leaving you with very little to do unless you want to micromanage movement or skills while the game is paused (and there’s little reason to do that). And because you’re pretty much locked into a development path per character, there isn’t much in terms of character choice and diversity.
So your job was… to move the party. You move them near bad guys, they fight, you hit a button to vacuum up all of the loot, and you move some more. I’ll admit that there was a relaxing bit of fun to it all, but it wasn’t long-lasting. I never finished the campaign because I got bored long before I neared the end. And I never picked up the sequels, either.
I look back at Dungeon Siege as an interesting experiment in how fun a game can be when you take control away from the player and automate it. Sometimes that can be a hoot, as in Majesty, but I believe you need to still give the player agency and choice. Movement wasn’t enough for me.