Dungeon Siege 3 screenshot
Dungeon Siege 3 screenshot

Dungeon Siege began in 2002 under Gas Powered Game's watch, largely keeping in the style of the Ultima series, and to a lesser degree Diablo. But this is Obsidian Entertainment's first crack at the franchise, and the new studio's focus has moved to other areas.

Depending on which genre you normally identify with, Dungeon Siege 3 is either a diet RPG for loot enthusiasts, or a refurbished dungeon crawler catering to RPG-lovers. On the surface it delivers a sustained rumination on what the world would look like had BioWare radial systems been implanted everywhere, regardless of genre. But underneath this is an ambitious attempt to add narrative substance to what's typically a single-minded lootfest.

Encounters with NPCs can trigger multiple cutscenes, while interaction with quest-givers results in branching dialogue trees, and sometimes these dialogues will have an effect on the plot itself. Occasionally you can decide the fate of bosses you've defeated, although generally speaking the chatter merely exists to add exposition. Compared to fantasy outings that throws themselves at narrative full-force, Dungeon Siege 3's aims are slightly lower, but it still develops a presence that distinguishes it from the line-up of the genre's usual suspects.

Still, it's not quite perfect. Even after years of modern fantasy games trying to develop a darker, moody twang, Dungeon Siege generally remains stoically dry.

A brief in-game history lesson explains the gist of Dungeon Siege's story: The Tenth Legion is in a right mess. The ancient army of legionnaires has been hunted down across the Kingdom of Ehb by Jeyne Kassynder, and all that remains are a few surviving offspring who have inherited the necessary genes for fighting reams of enemy scum.

This setup introduces you to the four playable Legion survivors, each with their particular abilities and set classes. Lucas is the classic sword-and-shield warrior class; Anjali has the ability to switch between melee-oriented human and ranged fire-based Archon forms; Katarina is a ranged shooter, specialising in rifles and handguns; and Reinhart is your mage. In single-player you will collect each of the remaining three as you work your way through the quests, choosing one as your AI sidekick – a sidekick who fights alongside you, resurrects you, and can be swapped for any of the other characters at any point.

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Endless's Avatar

Endless

I cant think of a game where i've ever wanted to craft, so its absence suits me fine. I do think the lack of proper co-op is a bit daft, and if you're gonna have co-op it needs some kind of event or feature for players to repeatedly take part in. I suppose penny arcade sums it up fairly well :)

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Posted 08:35 on 22 June 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ Wido

Show Spoiler You cap out at level 30, which you should be able to do on the way to the final boss, so you need to be a bit picky about where you spend your points.

The ending is absolute, kill boss = roll credits, after which you can start a new game with one of the three other characters or go online to mop up the remaining achievements, or wonder what you just spent £39.99 on.


The game feels like a step forward in some places (Obsidian's storytelling really shines, combat is pretty good for the genre, impossible to get lost) and a step backwards in others (no continuation, short campaign, stat distribution is permanent with no option redistribute, limited xp in zones after which you get 0xp per kill whilst farming or have to move on, which keeps you on your toes for bossfights I guess).

Basically a cross between Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance and Dragon Age: Origins. If they'd added crafting it would have been worth £39.99, with hindsight I'd go £19.99 max.
Posted 00:20 on 22 June 2011
Geraface's Avatar

Geraface

I wouldn't say mentioning price is ever irrelevant for a review - hell, they're designed as critical analysis for consumers. Like you I'm wary of it though, and as I said I try to avoid the money word when I can. That's all down to journalist vanity on my part (leave the writing to me and the sales pitch to the PR, etc.). Generally speaking you really need to deal with issues like that on a case-by-case basis. It depends how the issue is framed in the review and whether or not it seems appropriate in context.

Character limits ftl :(
Posted 23:27 on 21 June 2011
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ Geraface

I wanted to go into more detail about the relevance of price when you consider what the aim of a particular review is, and who it's aimed at, and how it's more relevant in some circumstances than others. But I pretty much had to cut out any kind of elaboration on anything to fit in the 1000 characters. And I'm loathe to just post 2 or 3 times to fit it all in lol.

Out of interest did you try Hardcore difficulty? I have a feeling the level of difficulty drastically affects the way you play the game. It feels a lot more like Dragon Age and a lot less like Diablo and similarly 'dumb' crawlers where you simply pick a few good abilities and spam them till everything is dead. This is easily the best RPG combat i've come across, no question.
Posted 20:39 on 21 June 2011
Geraface's Avatar

Geraface

Hey Endless,

My bad for the confusion. In an earlier draft I went into detail about the pre-existing skills (resurrection and dodging) available to the player, which I cut in the final draft. There are 9 abilities that can be upgraded, along with basic a roll/dodge move and a resurrection spell that can be cast when your companion wipes out. I've clarified it in the text though :)

I'm with you on the money point though - I don't think cost has a place in critical analysis and generally I steer clear of it. But the fact that quality downloadable games like Torchlight exist for half the price is, I think, relevant to the fanbase.
Posted 16:24 on 21 June 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ Endless

Ah, you pipped me! I was just about to post regarding that point of discussion... :p
Posted 13:56 on 21 June 2011
Endless's Avatar

Endless

1000 character limit is really becoming tiresome :|

I was just going to add that it's almost comical to see the price of the game considered as a review-able point with which to judge a game's quality, especially considering the huge debate about it's inclusion in reviews over the past week or so on the forums.
Posted 13:46 on 21 June 2011
Endless's Avatar

Endless

I must admit to being somewhat confused; Are we playing the same game!?

My characters have 9 abilities, not 11.
Each of my characters' abilities have 5 specialisation points (not 3) between 2 distinct styles.
No mention of empowered abilities.
No mention of proficiencies to further specialise your character.
No mention of influence with your companion.
No mention of deeds that further develop your character.
No mention of how the combat system actually works, which you and I both agree is the selling point of the entire game!

It's certainly a beast of it's own making thats for sure. Dragon Age is probably the closest comparison for me. It feels like an RPG, it doesnt feel like a crawl-fest, every encounter you still need to manage carefully and apply different tactics for or risk being overwhelmed and defeated. Shame about the multiplayer aspects, disappointing. I do think the review could have had more indepth, feels a bit shallow having actually played the game.
Posted 13:30 on 21 June 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Awesome review Emily. I will be getting this game at a later date. How was the loot in the game, and when you have completed your first playthrough. Are you allowed to carry over previous saved files with that character/class, to unearth more loot with higher special attributes and a increase in enemy levels? Pretty much like Borderlands.
Posted 17:59 on 20 June 2011

Game Stats

Dungeon Siege 3
8
Out of 10
Dungeon Siege 3
  • Good combat system
  • No loading screens
  • Fresher take on genre
  • Priced too high
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 17/06/2011
Platforms: PC , Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Square-Enix Co
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 610
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