Let’s be honest: the PSP has had very little to offer fans of RPG games. Other than Untold Legends and its sequel, I can’t think of any other hack-and-slash RPGs for the PSP. Now, however, that has all changed thanks to Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony. But can the popular Dungeon Siege franchise live up to the high standards on a handheld that it is known for on the PC?
Throne of Agony retains the same look and feel of the PC games, but everything has been tweaked and scaled down for the PSP. The character selection only gives you a choice of three different pre-made fighters. Mogrim, a half-giant Warlord who is capable of wielding massive melee weapons, can dish out some serious hurt on the baddies. Allister, the Battle Mage, is well-versed in all forms of combat magic and can master many different elemental types of attacks. Last but not least is Serin, the Elvin Shadow Stalker. Serin is blind, but she doesn’t need a guide dog to help her get around because she has adapted powers that allow her to see in other ways. She can use her special vision modes to perform ultra quick and deadly hit-and-run attacks with dual weapons, and is a master with the bow.
Although you are limited to one of three characters, they are diverse enough to make you want to try them all out. You can select your character’s hairstyle, color, face and skin tone, but that’s the extent of the customization options you are offered.
Once you have decided what character you will be playing, you get to choose a companion or pet. You will need to choose a pet that is best suited to play along side your main character. If your main character is Mogrim, for instance, it is probably best to choose a teammate who uses ranged attacks. One the other hand, if you are playing as Allister the Mage, it would be a wise decision to choose a pet that can tank for you as you attack from a distance. As you progress through the game you will unlock more pets, each with its own set of abilities and powers.
The combat in Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony is fast and furious just as it is in the PC games, but instead of a point and click battle system Throne of Agony uses a more hands-on approach. You assign your attacks and powers to a combination of the shoulder triggers and the face buttons you then have to manually execute each attach by pressing the corresponding buttons, and are very simple to use. This setup allows you to string together some very powerful combos, there’s no boring auto attacking in this game.
Another nice feature is that you don’t have to access your inventory screen every time you need a health or mana potion. Simply press the left shoulder button to drink a health potion, and hold down both shoulder buttons to take a mana potion. This keeps you in the action without having to pause the game every time you need to heal.
The game looks great on the PSP; as a matter of fact it looks as good or better than the PC versions. The character models look very sharp, and when you equip a new piece of armor or weapon it is shown on your character in great detail. The environments offer a wide variety of backdrops from deserts to swamplands, forests and dimly lit dungeons. The spell effects are impressive as fireballs leave small trails of smoke in their wakes and lighting arcs outward in a realistic manner jumping from one enemy to the next. Let’s not forget about the gore, be prepared to witness plenty of blood gushing and head splattering as you battle your way through the games three acts.
One small annoyance that’s worth mentioning is that the camera seems a little “too close” at times. I would have been nice to have a zoom in and out function. You will encounter an occasional slow-down or pause when you enter a new room filled with enemies, or when you change between your inventory screen to your character screen. There are also some very long loading screens when you leave a town or enter a new dungeon. They can be anywhere from 20 seconds to close to a full minute, sadly long load times seem to be the normal for most PSP games.
The orchestrated soundtrack changes as you go to different locations, the music perfectly sets the tone for each area. There’s not much recorded dialog in the game, but it’s well done. Everything sound great such as swords clanging, spells crackling, bad guys grunting and screaming as you rid the lands of them. The music and sound effects are as good as I’ve heard on the PSP.
Throne of Agony includes multiplayer via ad-hoc wireless, allowing two players to play co-op through the main quests. Each player can bring his or her favorite pets along to join in on the fun. But even if you don’t play with friends, Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony offers a very entertaining hack and slash dungeon crawler that will keep you busy for around 15 to 20 hours. Its addictive gameplay and pretty graphics will leave you wanting more well after you have beaten the game.
- Overall: 8.5
- Skepticism would normally be justified regarding an RPG on the PSP, but Throne of Agony is amazing.
— Randie Kilgore