Dungeon Siege II: Broken World First Impressions

We get a first look at the upcoming expansion pack for the action role-playing game Dungeon Siege II.

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Dungeon Siege II: Broken World is the expansion to last year's Dungeon Siege II, and while it will continue the epic story begun in that game, much has changed behind the scenes. Basically, the Dungeon Siege franchise has switched from Microsoft to publisher 2K Games. Not to worry, though, because Gas Powered Games remains the developer of the series. We got a first look recently at what 2K Games and Gas Powered have in mind with the expansion.

Dungeon Siege has a new publisher, but expect plenty of the same hack-and-slash action from before.
Dungeon Siege has a new publisher, but expect plenty of the same hack-and-slash action from before.

Broken World pretty much picks up where Dungeon Siege II left off. The world is a broken, shattered wasteland following the cataclysmic events of Dungeon Siege II, and it's up to you to carry on the fight. This means that you'll once again pick up your sword or staff and battle countless enemies in this hack-and-slash role-playing game. Unfortunately, the race of familiars, long the enemy of the elves, have returned, and they have an incredibly nasty habit of tearing their enemies apart and reassembling the pieces in different ways to create a twisted army.

The entire expansion could almost be thought of as a graduate course for Dungeon Siege II players, as you'll encounter a range of difficult opponents to battle. Since you'll start the expansion with a high-level character, you can expect some equally high-level enemies. Some opponents take a page from Halo's Flood and will explode at death, which means they'll try to use that against you. The behaviors and artificial intelligence have also been tweaked, so you'll see enemies that spawn other enemies, and the spawners will stand off and try and let their minions take care of you. The only way to deal with them is to take out the spawners first. Meanwhile, other enemies may lay dead and wait for you to come close or pass them before raising themselves up to strike.

Good news! There are bigger, tougher, and uglier monsters to put down.
Good news! There are bigger, tougher, and uglier monsters to put down.

There are some improvements to the class system in the expansion, designed to make multiclassing more effective. Before, you had to split your experience up among your character's various classes, which meant that they couldn't max out their potential. That's been changed, and now you can combine classes to create new class types. There's also a new player race that hasn't been revealed, but which should give you a whole new side to explore.

We saw various intimidating environments, such as a huge underground city to run around in. This was the ancient city of the overmages, which was slowly unearthed by the dwarves, and now you'll have to stomp out the evil growing there. The graphics engine will feature a few enhancements and improvements. For example, now there are lip-synching animations on all the characters. It's a cosmetic change, but it should allow for better cutscenes. Broken World should pack about 10 hours of gameplay in it, but given the nature of Dungeon Siege II, there should be plenty of replayability as well. The expansion is on track to ship sometime this summer.

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