A PC-to-PSP port ? Not quite, but this dungeon crawler still captures all the addictiveness of its bigger brother.
A spin-off from a moderately successful PC series of action-RPGs (and not what you sit on after a questionable curry),
Throne of Agony brings the notoriously addictive dungeon crawler genre to the PSP. No, it doesn’t have the depth of its PC granddaddy, but barring a handful of unfortunate issues, it’s perfectly good at what it does: pass the time.
At the game’s opening, you choose your character from three options : a meatheaded barbarian, a wizard, and an agile, thief-like elfish chick. To its credit, Dungeon Siege plays very differently depending on your choice, even to the extent that you might want to play it through several times to see it all. As your character gains experience, you get to make the usual stats and skills choices – in fact, the only real twist to the system is that you get to choose a follower to accompany you on your quest, and level up as you do.
You’ll acquire quite a collection of these followers as you play, and you can swap them out to your heart’s content. They’re handy in a fight but none too smart – count on them too much and you’re liable to find yourself being pounded on by an army of lizardmen, while your henchman (or woman, or…thing) is stuck behind a tree you passed ten seconds ago. Bad luck.
On the other hand, we liked the way you can map your « active » skills – as opposed to the « passive » ones that are always active, confusingly — to your choice of button, switching them around when the situation demands. The on-screen map is too small for any serious exploring, though : for every positive in Dungeon Siege‘s interface, there’s a missed opportunity along for the ride. Such as the game’s responsiveness. Like so many PSP games, Dungeon Siege‘s loading times are excessive. Even the menu system, where you’ll check out your equipment, upgrade your character and review your quests, is far too laggy and unresponsive. It’s frustrating, but it’s worth gritting your teeth and ignoring it.
Action RPGs lend themselves to multiplayer, and in this category Dungeon Siege delivers admirably well. Ad-hoc wireless play is all there is, but grab a cooperative friend and the two of you can take on the entire adventure, one quest at a time, with your personal saved characters. Honestly, there isn’t much better than that.
Plus there’s that addictive, fruit-machine thrill of randomized loot, where killing even the most ordinary monster could, maybe, just maybe, award the player a tremendously powerful piece of kit. As the players of PC smash Diablo II (not to mention World of Warcraft, which is nearly the same thing) will attest, there’s little that does more to encourage miserable addiction than that. Dungeon Siege nails this feeling just right, making it the perfect way to kill a few hours without straining your brain too much.