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Just another DS1 versus DS2 comparison (a review of sorts)


I had this discussion on my rips of DS1/DS2 music on youtube, and it was so long that I thought: "Why not share it elsewhere?" And yes, I can write REALLY fast.

The original message I was responding to, made by powerofberzerker9487:

"DS2 is incredible and I would say better than DS but the music in the first game is on a whole other level in terms of how iconic it sounds."

My response:

Originally, I had the same opinion as you do now, but after playing Dungeon Siege 1 LoA at the same time as playing DS2, I had to change my opinion.

You are correct about the music.

My other points are:

1. Locations - in DS1, you got the feeling that every tree was placed with love. That feeling is gone in DS2, except for a few locations (the mostly unused waterfalls for example, even though they were showcased prominently in the E3 trailer for DS2).
Most dungeons in DS2 are literally copy-pasted bits (and that is hardcore, as in entire sections) with sometimes altered textures. And sometimes not even that. Caves are even worse. Try going through DS2 analysing stuff - you cannot unsee it once you see it. It ruins the immersion most profusely. The map doesn't help either - while more useful than the DS1 map, it makes it obvious that ~90% of the game is one long corridor, breaking the immersion in a spectacular way.

2. DS1 has impressive specific atmospheres (called "moods" in the engine). So far it is the only 3D game I have ever seen putting the same emphasis and priority to setting an atmosphere (in a pragmatical manner) as having models and textures... it's on the same level. Different ambivalent sounds, different fogs, different types of lighting... those made a "mood".

3. Secrets. With the sole exception of the hidden mini-dungeon, DS2 has crappy secrets. You push a small button and a chest appears. Yay. DS1 (the vanilla campaigns only, though, not the LoA campaign) had MASSIVE secrets. Yes, it had an entire secret dungeon much like DS2 did (the chicken level. with a miniboss in the form of a rooster and a special super hidden boss that drops the chicken gun that shoots explosive chickens!), but it had just SO MUCH MORE. Did you ever find all three Aztec Ruins (or was it four) in the original Kingdom of Ehb vanilla campaign? The ones that are accessible through the ice caverns? Or what about the hidden basement and natural balcony in Glacern? What about the secret two Pyramids in the Endless Desert? One of which leads to the Eastern Island, a secret location (unfortunately it is empty), the second one leading to a super tower in the depths of a forest, which in turn leads to a secret merchant that should sell the absolutely best equipment of the game (but sells the worst, because the best equipment is ungeneratable - the values needed for some of these items overflow into the lowest numbers in the item generator in vanilla...)? Did you finish the secret Pit of Despair three puzzle parter? AND ALL OF THAT WAS JUST A FRACTION OF SECRETS IN THE GAME! (and I do not even mention bugs/exploits, those were legit secrets!)

4. Items. Items in DS2 suck. Let me elaborate... in DS1, the team went overboard with items, making hundreds and hundreds of sprites and such. A lot of the items are actually unavailable due to bugs in the item generator or the values set on the items. But playing the game, it was awesome, you constantly get (visually) new loot.
In DS2, however, I have played about 30 hours and only saw like 3-4 sprites for clubs (not counting uniques and set pieces). DS2 did the exact opposite of DS1's extreme - they made too little. It works like this - the team made a copy of the same item and gave it different base stats, but kept the same sprite. Thus you will keep seeing the same maces, the same clubs, the same hammers,... from the very start of the game until the end of the game. With them scaling, which means that unless you only use uniques and set pieces, you might be forced to equip an item visually identical to those you have started the game with, just with different base stats and different enchantments. DS1 has a little bit of that with swords, but even those swords tend to be visually different A LITTLE bit, i.e. they can be almost the same visually. Diablo 2 did the same thing, but the sprites started recycling on a new difficulty... not thorough the entire game!

5. The story is better in DS2. One could argue that gameplay in a hack&slash RPG is more important, however. Not always, but in DS games, gameplay is more important than the story.

6. The party is glued together in DS2. Do you know why you can have a party of 8 in DS1? The devs wanted 10. But when placing one character each in different parts of the game (with one character in the farmlands at the very beginning and one at the very end...), the engine cannot take 9 without having spasms. 8 it works fine. Which is amazing for a 3D engine. Meanwhile try getting one of your party members unconscious in DS2, teleporting the rest elsewhere and then try switching between them, moving, etc. The game will start to buckle at its seams. And the party size of only 4 for a normal playthrough? That is just horrible. And I can see why. I'm at the half of the DS2 game with a 12-character party (yes... two game clients, with 6 characters each, it is hardcore as fuk), and once buffs and stuff starts happening, the game framerate drops to like ~10FPS.

7. Gameplay-wise, DS1 was more unique and DS2 is a Diablo 2 clone. I liked being able to save my position in the world, with a fully persistent world. The skill trees are nice, though.

8. Spells in DS2 have the same problem items have - there is a massive copy-paste going on. Every spell is copied 5 or more times, with bigger numbers. Not only that, but when compared to LoA, there is next to no spell diversity. You have projectile spells, buff spells, curse spells... the orb spells from DS1 were made into a single ability for Combat mages in DS2. Look at the sheer amount of spell variety in LoA. I don't even remember having transformation spells in DS2!

By the way, I do have the beta version of DS1, the one that is completely different from the retail one. I am planning on recording an LP of it in the future.

Please note that I am always playing any DS1 campaign under the LoA executable, and any DS2 campaign under the Broken World executable. And I do not (nor will I ever) have Steam.

A reasoned comparison and balanced debate? Boo. We want Flamewars! DS1 is better!!

Ooh and I'm looking forward to that beta version playthru. So much DS content on Youtube is just KoE, KoE, KoE Wink