Dungeon Siege 3 is the newest installment of the Dungeon Siege franchise, this time developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Square-Enix. For the first time Dungeon Siege is released on this console. Is this dungeon safe or should you turn back and run?
If you’re new to the Dungeon Siege series you’ll be happy to know that playing the other two titles is not necessary to appreciated this game. This is a new story with some new characters, although there are references to the previous games that will make fans smile and most likely will go right over the heads of the people who are new to the series. With that said, the story in Dungeon Siege 3 has you in control of one of four characters. It is up to you to choose who you want your hero to be. Your four choices are Lucas Montbarron, Anjali, Reinhart Manx and Katarina, all with their own unique fighting styles and interesting stories. Do you want to play as a swordsman or perform magic? The choice is really up to you.
The story goes that thirty years ago, the 10th Legion were the blame of the assassination of the King of Kingdom Ehb. The Kingdom was broken apart by Jeyne Kassyndre and all are separated. Now you are the last remaining son and/or daughter and it is your chance to uncover the truth about what really happened and to regain Kingdom Ehb and bring it back to the way it used to be. It is up to you to bring the Kingdom back to the way it once was. The story isn’t particularly strong but it is enough of a plot to keep the player engaged and want to continue the story.
There have been many games in the past that use the old conspiracy theory to push a main story or to stretch out the narrative. This isn’t to say it goes far off its rails as a Final Fantasy title would but it also doesn’t push the boundaries in storytelling. It’s definitely not the strongest part but it isn’t the worst either. It’s enough to push you to go on this linear adventure and for the sake of spoilers I’ll just keep it at that.
The graphics however are really hit or miss. Since this is an action RPG the point of view is third person, in the way that has been seen in titles such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance. This is fine considering that you must be focusing on your surroundings in order to see enemies coming from all sides. The problem really comes where the camera decides to stop. You have two settings to view the game, one is from a sort of bird-eye perspective and another is zoomed in. Both work fine but it feels like a full 3D camera is needed. You can’t really see what’s ahead of you, only your exact position and what’s around you. There were times that I felt like the camera should have been able to look up and down as well as do a full 360 but it’s more of an inconvenience than a big problem. For the most part the camera worked fine.
The lighting effects are nicely done with fire reflecting off enemies and walls. There are moments when the trees will flow in the wind and when water glistens which is a nice touch. When you are really zoomed in for a conversation however, the characters are lifeless and stiff, making the conversation look uncomfortable for the NPC that is speaking to you. Their eyes barely blink and their body language is stiff with the occasional (nervous?) twitch. The characters don’t look terrible up close since the artistic style is nice, but on the Xbox 360 I did expect a little bit more detail and not such awkward facial movements. It’s one of those cases that the characters all look better from afar.
Luckily for us every awkward looking conversation is paired with great voice acting. The voice actors in Dungeon Siege 3 actually sound like they were having a real conversation with each other. The conversations are quick and believable with no awkward pauses. The voices are paired well with each character. The ambient sound is mysterious and gives the game a nice dream-like feel, and the music does change as the situations change. It is a nice touch that Dungeon Siege 3 allows you to choose your own dialogue, sort of like in Alpha Protocol or Mass Effect although this is mainly used for some humorous conversation,occasional side quests or for a really big moral decision. Although most of the time you will end at the same point no matter what you choose. This is most likely in order to make the game progress. The game is pretty linear with exceptions like branching paths to explore and looting for Gold or weapons. There are also side quests -not a lot of them , but enough to keep you occupied.
The core game play of the game is a hack and slash with added elements of RPG to spice up the action. It is such a joy to battle the enemies in the game thanks to the cleverly laid out control scheme. You have two stances; e.g. if you play as Lucas you have a single handed weapon stance, which is faster but weaker and the two-handed weapon stance which will bring out a broad sword or something on that level, which is slower but more powerful. You also have your special attacks that you can use such as “Charge” that works with your “Will” meter, which can be recharged by blocking, attacking or being attacked. This fills up fast and is an important part of your strategy. Even if you do get lost the fantastic menu setup will easily let you know what quest you are on, and you can change it as you wish. If you’re not too sure how to get to your destination all you have to do is press “Up” on the D-Pad and a golden trail will light the way. This being a hack and slash game, I did find the aiming a little wonky and at times found myself between a bed and a barrel with my AI partner keeping me stuck until he/she decided it was the right time to move.
Speaking of AI, eventually you will team up with the other characters and they will aid you in battle. Luckily this can be controller with a second player, online or local, but of course you will both be stuck on the same screen with one character unable to take a branching path off course. Whether you play alone or with a friend the campaign becomes a lot more fun once you acquire an AI to fight because if you go down (and you will) your AI companion will revive you, that’s if it’s not circling. Luckily there are save points between major points of the game and they are separated perfectly. I’ve never encountered a save point that saves as fast as Dungeon Siege 3 does, and trust me you should save every time you see one, since when you do die you’ll restart from the last point . Still, having the choice to play online or offline is always a treat since this has become rare in gaming today.
Dungeon Siege 3 offers about 12 hours, give or take, of gameplay. This all really depends on how many sidequests you choose to embark upon , and there are a lot to keep you occupied.This game has a very detailed and simple menu to equip and maintain your character and a lot of replay value. There is a lot of fun gameplay aspects but the graphics are kind of disappointing at times. However, I really recommend this game. It’s a very enjoyable experience that will have you messing around to make your characters stronger without the tedious level-grinding. I think Square-Enix and Obsidian Entertainment did a great job on this console based game and for those of you that were worried about it, let me tell you, it’s great.
ProsGreat replay value Great control set up Great voice acting Always fun to kill a horde of enemies Local AND Online Multiplayer
ConsGraphics are really outdated when viewed up close
Camera could have been a little better Aiming could be improved Some awkward character movements and animation