Dungeon Siege III (PC) Review

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style="font-style: italic;">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
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
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
ability to defend yourself, death happens often if you’re not paying

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.

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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 - 80 / 100

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,
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
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

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style="font-style: italic;">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? style="">  Did
anyone play this and said “wow, this is easy to get into!” style="">  The controls are quite
possibly the most
counter-intuitive setup I’ve ever experienced for an RPG with some
element to it.  With
your hand constantly
over WASD to control the camera, I found my left hand getting confused
sometimes slipping into moving my character with both methods at the
time.  This is after
several hours of
gameplay, and I’d like to think my hand-eye coordination is pretty good. style="">  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
murdered.  You then
go about a ‘putting
the band back together’ sequence and while you control the same main
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
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. 
are two primary styles for each character, and everyone has a defensive
that can be used to trigger skills as well. 
Switching offensive stances is as easy as pressing Q. style="">  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
you wish to roll.  Good
luck establishing
a whole lot of offense versus bosses when you have to constantly not
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
is actually fun.  It’s
just a matter of
having the patience to keep going until you hit that point.

Graphics - 90 / 100

Player models and people you speak to
are on par with Mass
Effect 2
at best, and the combat graphics are reminiscent of Darkspore. style="">  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

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style="font-style: italic;">The character models aren't
going to blow you away, but they're not going to make your eyes cringe

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

Sound - 90 / 100

Your 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.

Multiplayer - 82 / 100

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style="font-style: italic;">Bosses are intense on Hardcore,
but beatable if you're good at dodging their telegraphed attacks.

As the commercials say, “Couch Co-op
is back”.  Well, for
those of us playing it on PC,
you’ll need some friends.  Playing
ranged characters together is an exercise in frustration for some
bosses, and
enemy health increases in multiplayer and is multiplied by the
setting. If you’re fighting bosses on Hardcore with buddies, it’s going
to take
you a damn long time to bring them down! 
But if you have a balanced team and some coordination,
this is one of
the better co-op experiences on PC I've played in a long time.

Value - 82 / 100

With three difficulty settings and four characters to play as, there’s a fair bit of work to be done in Dungeon Siege 3. The skill variety may not be what it used to be as compared to previous games, but you’ll find that the action oriented gameplay now demands a new skill set and has its own satisfaction to it. Is it worth the 40-60$ price tag? Yes, but only if you download the demo first and ensure that you can tolerate the controls. If you can make it through the first hour, you can enjoy the next thirty.

Lasting Appeal - 70 / 100

Loot is everywhere, and everyone loves loot. There are a million stats in the game, so putting together various sets of armor for different areas will be common place as people tackle the game on Hardcore. It’ll need patches or an expansion in a hurry though, as the world isn’t randomly generated. Unlike Darkspore, the world gets old, and the backtracking sure as hell doesn’t help that one bit. For those of you looking for a little flavor text to go with your loot farming, this is right up your alley for a while.

Pros and Cons


  • Fluid and pretty on almost all
    machines, and lacking the
    Obsidian bug problems that they’re known for.
  • Combat feels much more rewarding
    than previous games
  • Multiple characters and
    styles add depth and


  • Pathetic skill depth-9 per
    character for an entire game!?
  • Control setup is absolutely
    infuriating at first and will
    turn most of you off this game immediately.
  • Doesn’t quite scratch the dungeon
    crawler itch after one


While it’s a departure from the
spirit of the first two
games, and lacking that Chris Taylor touch of over-the-top awesomeness,
Siege III
manages to be a good game. 
The words ‘good game’ are highly subjective though, as the
PC control
setup will have you close to rage-uninstalling more than likely. style="">  It may lack the character
skill depth of Diablo,
and the character development of Mass Effect, but
it strikes a strong
balance and the closest game I can possibly relate the frantic feel of
to is Phantasy Star Online 2 or Demon’s
games where taking
damage is not an option and you have to choose when to attack and when
to evade
very carefully.  If
you can stomach the
controls, you’ll find a well-polished action RPG beneath that ugly

Overall 82/100 - Good


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