Dungeon Siege III (PC) Review

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Updated Wed, Jun 22, 2011 by Stow


Dungeon Siege sure as hell isn't just dungeons.  You'll run into some pretty colorful segments like this too in your travels.

Instead of having total freedom with your characters, each character has a limited range of equipment and skills.  Being an Obsidian game, the personality of the characters themselves have undertaken an exponential improvement over the previous installments.  You’ll notice several big trade-offs as you go, making this a Dungeon Siege game only in name.  Gone are the ridiculous skills and huge variety of magic spells, and gone are the huge treks without shops or towns.  Save points are common place.

Yes, that’s right, I said save points.  Nothing says ‘designed for consoles’ like save points.  While they don’t exactly detract from anything, seeing one every 2 screens gets annoying and leads to you skipping them, but if you die, you go all the way back to your last save.  Not your last checkpoint, your last save.  With three difficulty settings and even Normal giving you a run for your money depending on your character and ability to defend yourself, death happens often if you’re not paying attention.

So with a combination of increased rpg elements, decreased freedom, console-ification and a new developer at the helm, do we have a winner on our hands?  To be honest, it depends on your patience for the initial gameplay.

Cautions

Blood and profanity will happen in your travels, but nothing too graphic. If the kids are playing any other RPG, they can play this one.

Gameplay

80Good

The first thing you have to do in order to have any fun with this game is get accustomed to the controls.  If you’ve got an Xbox 360 controller you can hook up to your PC to play this, you’re golden.  Otherwise, you’re controlling from one of two views, both fairly close to your characters, and fighting with a camera that will sometimes get stuck behind terrain in the middle of a fight if you maneuver in the wrong direction or even while attacking at range.  Of course you can control the camera, but let me give you a brief overview of how you control the game.

If you get surrounded, you will die.  Fast.  The moment someone is in your face, you need to stun them or move!

 
W moves you forward and S moves you backward. A and D control the camera rotation. You can also use the right mouse button to move in the direction of your cursor.

What the hell?  Did anyone play this and said “wow, this is easy to get into!”  The controls are quite possibly the most counter-intuitive setup I’ve ever experienced for an RPG with some action element to it.  With your hand constantly over WASD to control the camera, I found my left hand getting confused and sometimes slipping into moving my character with both methods at the same time.  This is after several hours of gameplay, and I’d like to think my hand-eye coordination is pretty good.  It’s just a silly setup, and while it DOES work eventually, as you work your way through the intro you might just want to call it off right then and there and uninstall.  I highly recommend you give the demo a try and see if you can tolerate it.

The story itself plays out in typical RPG fashion, with you returning to your legion brothers and sisters to find the majority of them murdered.  You then go about a ‘putting the band back together’ sequence and while you control the same main character at any given time, you will add companions as you go.  These companions cannot be controlled and perhaps the biggest oddity, you can’t even control their combat preferences.  So if you want to take one character and specialize them in one specific form of combat, you can’t tell them to use only it.  Good job guys.

Each character has 9 skills, each which can be specialized in with points gained on level up.  There are two primary styles for each character, and everyone has a defensive setup that can be used to trigger skills as well.  Switching offensive stances is as easy as pressing Q.  Using a defensive ability requires you to hold space and press a number.  It’s awkward to say the least.  Just like how rolling requires you to hit space and click, with your cursor in the direction you wish to roll.  Good luck establishing a whole lot of offense versus bosses when you have to constantly not target them to roll.

These all sound like jarring, terrible decisions, but once you spend a couple hours and actually get accustomed to the system, the gameplay is actually fun.  It’s just a matter of having the patience to keep going until you hit that point.

Graphics

90Great

Player models and people you speak to are on par with Mass Effect 2 at best, and the combat graphics are reminiscent of Darkspore.  Some of the later spells, such as PIllar of Flame, look absolutely great.  Unfortunately, you’re not going to get a lot of stellar mid-combat eye candy until multiple hours in.  Otherwise you’ll just be slashing and shooting your way to victory like the old days. 

The character models aren't going to blow you away, but they're not going to make your eyes cringe either.

The cutscenes have a good art style to them, and while they lack animation, they’re still damn pretty to look at.  This game also doesn’t require a whole lot to run--my Radeon HD 4870 has had its fair share of problems with some games lately, but not this one.  Everything is smooth as silk.

Sound

90GreatYour party has a variety of silly accents, so don’t expect to evoke a ton of emotion from the voice acting of your characters. Music-wise, you’ll get a lot more emotion from the soundtrack here than you will most games of this genre. You’ll hear lots of good background music for your travels, whether they be between dimensions or through haunted manors. To accompany the music of combat, the wind howls, gunfire and fireballs ignite and crackle with enunciated crispness, and the sound of combat is spot on.

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