New Games: Demon Stone and Dungeon Siege II

Demon StoneDemon Stone (Xbox)

Demon Stone is a Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms adventure. The story was written by popular D&D novelist R.A. Salvatore, and the game features the voice talent of Patrick Stewart and Michael Clarke Duncan. The game was designed by the same folks who did the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers game, and it shows; the control scheme and combat systems in the two games are nearly identical.

I’m normally not one to buy an Xbox game unless I’ve had an opportunity to play it first, but my decision to purchase Demon Stone untested was driven by three factors:

  1. It’s a Dungeons & Dragons game. This is nowhere near a guarantee of quality (see Eye of the Beholder for the GameBoy Advance), but I’ve had very good luck in the past with D&D titles for the Xbox (Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes, for example).
  2. I ran out of free game rental coupons for Blockbuster. Now that Blockbuster has brought about “the end of late fees,” they’ve also brought about exorbitant rental prices for video games. Eight bucks to rent a video game? I’ll pass.
  3. It was cheap. Thirteen bucks cheap.

I would have added “Patrick Stewart” to the list, but I didn’t learn that he was involved until I started reading the manual.

Demon Stone follows three heroes (a fighter, a mage and a Drow elf rouge) in their quest to defeat two warring bad guys who have escaped from the demon stone in which Professor Charles Xavier imprisoned them n hundred years ago (where n is either 1 or 4, I can’t remember which). When these two bad guys (they have names, but I don’t remember those, either) first appeared, Jean-Luc Picard realized that if either of them triumphed over the other it would mean the doom of Faerûn, so he imprisoned them in the aforementioned demon stone. I guess he was a pretty badass wizard back in the day. How the two bad guys managed to escape has yet to be revealed, but I’m guessing that Superman destroyed the demon stone in deep space, unaware of the danger imprisoned within. We’ll see.

I’ve only played Demon Stone for about twenty minutes, but in that time I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of each character’s strength. The fighter, obviously, is good at melee combat, while the mage is better at range, firing a sort of mystical projectile (or “magic missile,” if you will) from his staff. The rogue has the ability to hide in the shadows, and when she is successfully doing so she appears to be transparent. She is then able to sneak up behind enemies and dispatch them very quickly with her twin scimitars. Snicker-snack!

As with Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, each character has upgradeable combat and/or magical abilities. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of inventory management mechanism, so I’m guessing that their effectiveness in combat is based solely upon purchasing upgrades to those abilities, and not at all on acquiring the legendary +4 Broadsword of Killing the Living Hell out of Your Enemies.

Demon Stone looks like it could be promising, though it would have been nice if the developers had included a multiplayer mode. I’m not sure whether The Two Towers has such a mode, but I know Return of the King does, and it’s pretty enjoyable when it’s not making you want to launch your copy of the game into geosynchronous orbit.

Dungeon Siege IIDungeon Siege II (PC)

The original Dungeon Siege (which I have finished) and its expansion, Legends of Aranna (which I have not), have provided me with many, many hours of enjoyable gameplay. With that in mind, I jumped at the chance to snag the sequel for thirty bucks. Yeah, it’ll be twenty bucks come August, but I’m Señor Gratificación Instantánea, and I’ve already held off purchasing it for a couple of months.

Dungeon Siege II is a four-CD install, which is fairly significant. One of these days I’m going to have to get me one of them fancy DVD-ROM drives for my computer so I can go back to single-disc installs (though I have no idea whether DSII is even available on DVD-ROM). I’d love to elaborate on the story and gameplay of Dungeon Siege II, particularly how the latter compares to that of the original Dungeon Siege, but I can’t; not yet.

See, it’s a four-CD install, and by the time I finished I was too tired to actually play the game, so I just went to bed.