Dungeon Siege: Always winter, never Christmas

(This is part of my journey going playing through 2002’s Dungeon Siege. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

The painstaking crawl through Wesrin Cross, the second major underground dungeon, continues. Room by room, my group clears out the packs of mobs. Individually, the spiders, skeletons, and other assorted mobs wouldn’t be much of a problem, but the game keeps throwing them at me in huge packs. The real troublemakers are the ranged mobs, because you can’t easily kite them and if your melee are set on attack freely, they’ll run right into the middle of a whole mess of danger and get themselves killed without healer support.

One small but actually useful and neat feature is the ability to move, attack, and command from the overhead map view. This works well when you’re trying to finish up a room or see where everyone is or make sure you got all of the fog of war cleared.

No big surprise here — the boss of the spider-themed Wesrin Cross is, in fact, a giant spider who is really cranky about being confined to this small hallway without company. He’s a big softie and goes down in a minute or so, leaving behind a really nice pair of gloves.

It’s back into the sunlight… for about three seconds! Before the crew dives into the Glitterdelve Mine, I have an opportunity to sell excess inventory, rearrange gear, and even pick up a new (free) party member — a dwarf fighter. All I want now is another ranged and another healer, and I think I’ll have a perfect party setup.

The more I play Dungeon Siege, the more I’m finding that while the default view offers the best in terms of exciting visuals and combat, the overhead/map view is much easier to work with, especially for exploring dungeons. There’s not as much fiddling with the camera, it’s easier to see where you’ve been, and it strips away a lot of the clutter so to give you more of an RTS feel. I definitely notice that I’m going faster through the dungeon in this mode. For the time being, I keep switching back and forth.

The underground dungeons are so long that I feel a palpable sense of relief when I’m finally through them. The Glitterdelve Mines weren’t that tough, all things considered, but they were twisty and confining. I was happy to get out and see… a lamppost? Snow? Folks, we’ve hit Narnia!

In SnowLand’s outpost, I decided to change things up a bit. I ditched the pack mule, for starters. It was great for inventory but horrible for everything else, and I’m tired of babysitting it. I’d rather have another party member. I also picked up two more teammates — a guy I’m training to be an archer and a combat mage — bringing my total up to seven. Now we’re bringing the pain!

Unfortunately, after several more play sessions, I found my interest in both playing and writing about this game waning. I hit the same wall that I hit in Dungeon Siege oh-so-many years ago — sheer repetition without much of an interesting narrative to enjoy. So that’s it on this game for me. Tune in next week for a different retro title!

4 thoughts on “Dungeon Siege: Always winter, never Christmas

  1. bhagpuss July 15, 2020 / 1:52 pm

    I hit that wall in the first half hour. One of the most disappointing games I ever paid money for.

  2. Joe Ursic July 15, 2020 / 11:50 pm

    This is the first time (at least in a very long time) that I can think of you quitting a game early that didn’t have some sort of technical issue. I remember having a PC gamer or similar subscription back then and the big deal being made about the seamless transition between the dungeons and overworld. I can’t remember if I own the original or DS2, but I am pretty sure the overall concept of what you are doing doesn’t change throughout the game.

  3. Pallais July 16, 2020 / 8:01 am

    I wish multiplayer was still an option. I had a lot more fun playing the various campaigns & expansions in coop mode with my son. That said, I might have to try it again, but do it in 30 minute or so chunks. That way the repetitive stuff won’t be so strong in a short amount of time.

  4. Syp July 17, 2020 / 12:05 pm

    Yeah, I didn’t really see much of a point to continuing. Wasn’t having fun and there wasn’t that much to comment on. But don’t fret, after this I have three full game playthroughs finished and scheduled, so I do actually get to the end of stuff!

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