Dungeon Siege First Impression

This third-person action role-playing game allows control multiple characters at once. Its continuous 3D fantasy world provides seamless transitions between above- and below-ground adventuring.

Dungeon Siege is a third-person action role-playing game set in an expansive and continuous 3D fantasy world. Gas Powered Games has also added a number of interesting features to the game, including pack animals, partial potion use, store returns for armor, weapons, and other items, an innovative inventory management interface, and more.

You begin the game as a simple farmer, and can develop your character according to the choices you make throughout the game. Your farm is being attacked by an evil dog-monster, and your mission is to first defend your farm, and then to stop the monsters. This adventure will take you to all the extremes: mountains, deserts, forests, the arctic, dungeons, mines, caves, and more. One interesting feature of this 3D world is that it is completely continuous. The developer claims that this world will virtually eliminate loading pauses in the game. They demonstrated seamless transitions between the outside world and underground caves and dungeons, as well as transitions between inside and outside buildings. The world also features a limitless vertical axis, so that a world could be developed using the dungeon builder feature that included all vertical movement if desired.

Another interesting feature of the game is the inclusion of pack mules and "helpers," hired villagers that do not engage in combat, but will follow behind and collect gold and other items dropped by defeated opponents. The helpers will automatically load the mule and their own inventories, and can be instructed to inform you of any unusual items they come across. Every weapon used by an opponent will also be usable by the player.

The inventory management is handled in a very straightforward interface that allows the player to view all the inventories at one time and distribute items quickly and easily. Another useful feature is the option to drink only part of a potion, and combine and mix potions if necessary.

The monsters encountered in the game will vary a great deal depending on the location and point in the game. The demonstration featured a group of evil dog-monsters, an ice monster, and a number of skeletons. Two large monsters demonstrated the versatility of the 3D engine: a giant 3D spider that took up about a quarter of the screen screen, and a fire-breathing dragon that almost filled the screen. Both monsters were impressively menacing in both their size and their animation. The fire exhaled by the dragon lit the main character on fire in a realistic way, and a fireball cast on a group of skeletons earlier in the demonstration displayed the game's ability to have fire spread to adjacent objects.

Perhaps the most impressive feature in the game is the ability to control up to ten characters at once, all independently, and in different parts of the game world. Switching back and forth between characters in completely different areas was almost instantaneous, and allows the player to explore a variety of different strategic options. The game will support up to ten players in multiplayer mode.

Dungeon Siege is scheduled for release in early 2001.

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