Dungeon Siege III
|Game Name:||Dungeon Siege III|
|Platforms:||PC / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3|
|Genre(s):||Dungeon Crawl / RPG|
|Big Ups:||Loot, Fun and addicting combat|
|Big Downs:||Story takes a back seat, No new game +, Online is a bit odd|
When I first heard of Dungeon Siege III and found out a little about it, my mind quickly went to the fine loot gathering days I had with my friends. Not only does Dungeon Siege bring the addictiveness of loot, but it also brings quite a good bit of modern sensibility in terms of game design. Obsidian Entertainment has clearly taken a few steps for the console versions to make it a more well defined experience. While they are small, they add up. For example, things like pressing left and right on your d-pad are used to pull up the quest and equipment menus respectively. Also, the inclusion of clicking in the left stick to gather all the coins and health around you is fantastic!
While having multiple spells hot keyed and at the ready is nothing new for the genre, Obsidian did hide it in quite a clever way. While you’re still basically pushing a button to switch between a predefined set of spells, you’re also switching stances which changes the way you attack and changes the weapon you’re using. For some characters it is a drastic change in the way your character plays, for example some characters are up close and in your face in one stance, but in the other stance they are more of a long range character. There are three different stances: two of them are offensive and the last is defensive.
There are a few things that, while admittedly are good game design, I can’t help but disagree with. The lack of potions of any sort seems to bring a bit of randomness that while it brings a nice chaotic feel to battle, it also makes things feel like their slightly out of your hands. Obsidian tries to remedy this with random health drops, and the fact that every character has a healing spell, but all the spells are a heal over time deal which can be insanely annoying if you’re trying to get that quick fix. While I said I disagree it is indeed good design. Console players are not exactly adept to micromanaging, and with the lack of inputs on console controllers health drops was by far the best way to go.
The bigger messed up problem is that with games today people are used to being able to have constant character progression. Or in other words if you play online with me you would expect your leveled up character to transfer to your own game… That’s not the case here. What happens is that in the single player campaign you always have another character with you that is the same level. Anytime a person wants to join your game they just choose a character and just continue where you’re currently at. Obviously Obsidian did this because they didn’t want other player’s overpowered characters blowing through other’s campaigns, but it is a huge upset for multiplayer.
Now I don’t know about everyone else, but with a loot crawl type of game I fully expect that when I beat the game I would be greeted with a new game+ option and I would get to play through it again… That was not the case. Now this is not a deal breaker or anything, but again it is also a big upset for me because I like playing though with a super beefed up character and the chance for better loot.
As far as presentation goes Dungeon Siege is an exceptional looking game. Every area within the game is completely unique from the other and the art style fits the genre perfectly. I do have a few gripes with the in game cut scenes though, or to better put it, anytime you talk to any character in game. Every character has about two animations. They are moving lips and some weird looking forearm flailing. I’m being 100% serious when I say it’s only the forearm that moves, it looks ridiculous. Again, besides the slightly weird animations, the game looks gorgeous. For audio you could easily say the same. Dungeon Siege has a great score that was a joy to listen to the entire way through. Sound effects absolutely capture the game. When you hear an effect coming from something, it has this magical moment where it sounds exactly how you think the action on screen should sound.
You will notice that I have failed to mention any story elements up to this point, and that’s on purpose, because it takes a back seat in the game. You’re one of four characters who has a unique opening cut scenes. They all also have a small back story that is never fleshed out to any degree. But besides that, there isn’t much different about each character besides their abilities. I feel that if you had played the other games there would be a bit more insight not to the characters, but the world it self, but unfortunately for me that is not the case.
Dungeon Siege while it is a very well made and fun game, has a few key choices that stop is from rising to the top. The lack of constant leveling while playing with a friend is annoying to the point I don’t think many will play online with people. Also, having no new game+ feature discourages multiple playtroughs with the same character. All that said and done I had a blast playing it. The gameplay if fun and addicting, and I’ll end up playing it with a different character for sure.