With Dungeon Siege II: Broken World, Gas Powered Games is looking to close out the saga begun in last year's action role-playing game Dungeon Siege II. The story certainly needs wrapping up because Dungeon Siege II ended with a cataclysmic event that shattered the world. Talk about bittersweet. It turns out that your character's actions aren't exactly appreciated by everyone, and with a new threat on the horizon, it'll be up to you to pick up your weapons and armor and foray into a monster-infested world once again.
While the series has shifted publishers, from Microsoft to 2K Games, Gas Powered remains at the development reins, and the Dungeon Siege team has packed this expansion with all sorts of content geared toward fans of the series, as well as fans of role-playing games in general. Broken World promises lots of high-level content to enjoy, and don't worry if you didn't play or finish Dungeon Siege II, because you'll be able to select from a list of premade characters, which will let you jump into the expansion directly. Meanwhile, if you have an existing Dungeon Siege II character, you can transfer him or her to the expansion for new challenges.
The defeat of the warlord Vardis in Dungeon Siege II ushered in a devastating cataclysm. Lush and beautiful locales became shattered husks of their former selves, and giant cracks have appeared around the countryside. More importantly, your character has a rather mixed reputation, as many view you responsible for what transpired. Now, a year after those events, new monsters have begun to appear in the countryside. Or, more accurately, these appear to be modified versions of existing monsters, as if someone were tearing them apart and reassembling them with new pieces and parts. Someone has to look into this, which means you of course, and so it's off to save the world again.
Gas Powered has stuffed this expansion with lots of new content to satisfy Dungeon Siege veterans. There are new armor sets and weapons for each of the classes, as well as a couple of hundred new modifiers that can appear on items (such as "petrify for X seconds" if an attacker hits you). The new Blood Assassin and Fist of Stone classes are designed to get you to play roles you might not normally play. The Blood Assassin is a combination ranged attacker with a bow and arrow, but one that also has potent magical ability. The Fist of Stone is the combination of a fighter and a nature-magic spellcaster. Whatever you choose to play, one of the neat new features in the expansion is the ability to reallocate points to your skill tree simply by talking to certain characters in towns. This means that if you're not happy with your character's skills, you can redo them. Or, if you run into difficult opponents, you can redo your skills and change your play style to adapt.
Combat is as fast paced as ever, almost to the point that it's confusing. Thankfully, you can still pause the action at any moment to give orders to your characters. This makes targeting a lot easier, since the fast-moving enemies have a habit of darting around on screen, making it hard to click on them when they're in motion. When you do lock on, your heroes can unload with an arsenal of potent weapons and spells, such as the ability to create miniature earthquakes that continually damage opponents caught in the spell's radius. Expect battles to be tougher, as well. Not only are you battling higher-level foes, but there are new sorts of behaviors and tactical considerations to take into account. Some boss fights may require you to analyze what's going on to expose the boss' weakness, or some opponents will stand off and be content to continually spawn minions for you to battle.
The action is definitely gory, since the designers didn't really mind getting a Mature rating. It's not unusual to see fountains of blood on screen, so much so that it can actually damage your characters if they're caught in the stuff. The visuals aren't too graphic, though. Gas Powered pushes the aged graphics engine with tons of particle effects on screen, as well as higher-resolution textures and more detail on characters. There's also considerable improvement on the voice acting, one of the big criticisms in Dungeon Siege II. So a new voice cast was brought on composed of veteran voice actors.
All this new content should keep Dungeon Siege II fans happy. There will be new and sinister environments to explore, as well as hordes of high-level enemies to battle. Newcomers to Dungeon Siege will probably want to tackle the core game first, but when you do, you can graduate easily to Broken World. The expansion is scheduled to ship later this summer.