It’s been six years since the last Dungeon Siege was released, and even though the game is several steps away from its formers, it had no trouble keeping me entertained for the 13 hours it took me to complete it.
Actually, let’s talk about that first. Thirteen hours? The original game was massive. I can recall chipping away at it daily for a month or so before finally completing its epic story arc. I feel like a measly thirteen hours for the core experience of the game (and there is only one singular game mode, mind you) is a bit of a cop-out.
Still, for a game that you can complete in a day with minuscule effort, those thirteen hours were pretty great. The sweeping story kept me engaged for its entire duration, a story which tells the tale of the 10th Legion’s rebirth. It starts with your character visiting the burning house of Hugh Montbarron, and quickly you are swept away to the Venerable Odo, who tells you that he needs your help in returning the Legion to its former glory. With his guidance, and whatever choices you make along the way, you will forge alliances, gain (or slay) potential allies, and eventually challenge the tyrant who slew the rest of the former Legion: Jeyne Kassynder herself. But the best part isn’t the proper storytelling, it’s the elements that carry it. Every choice affects the ending in some way, with a long and satisfying cutscene following the completion of the game detailing what those choices led to, ala Fallout. It’s beautiful.
When you decide which of the four characters you want to play as (sorry, no character creation or visual customization this time around), you essentially decide the party leader and main character for the rest of the group. The other three characters will be picked up somewhere along the way, depending on your choices, and all of them carry unique perspectives with which to play from. My favorite is Reinhart Manx, an arcane mage that wears various pieces of magical clockwork and has an extreme atheist/humorous viewpoint that makes me giggle whenever he spouts a line. For more specifics on characters and gameplay, check out my overview of the demo.
The game plays differently than its predecessors, and more like Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance or Heroes of Norrath. Run around, hit things, get loot, complete quests, move on. It’s simple, but it works. Characters level up quite quickly and you will have access to everything your character can potentially earn by level 20 (I finished the game around 27). At that point, you will have your nine different abilities, which handle different situations with varying degrees of effectiveness. I initially scoffed at the idea of having a maximum of nine total abilities, but they don’t define your playstyle at all. A majority of the game, I stuck to one-two abilities per form, and saw no reason to utilize the others that I didn’t care for. The game gives you the tools you need to play the game however you want, and because you have access to everything you can potentially utilize, this leads you to play the game how you want. Yes, most characters will be cookie-cutter variations of each other by the end, but this game isn’t about using the same character over and over, beating the same levels and bosses and rummaging for loot like the previous iterations. It’s about telling a story, seeing it from various points of view, and changing the outcome of the game as you see fit.
And for those of you who remember Heroes of Norrath or Dark Alliance, I’m sure you remember what made those games great. Co-op. Dungeon Siege III takes that into consideration, and blows it out of the water with what amounts to allowing your friends to jump in and play the game with you whenever you want them to. Up to three of your friends on Steam who own the game can join at any moment you deem fit, and enemies and loot tables adjust on the fly. They take over one of the NPC’s you have been traveling with, and bam, right into the action. The only downside is that whomever is hosting the game is the only one who benefits tangibly from playing co-op. Your saved game records all loot and levels that were gained, but the other players don’t even get a copy of whomever they were playing as to take elsewhere. A bit silly, but that is how the game was designed.
Graphically, the game is by far the prettiest dungeon crawler I’ve ever played. Spell effects and animations are detailed and gorgeous. Music is typical RPG fair, and no tracks I can think of really stand out, but it sets the mood and allows you to achieve immersion exceptionally well. You are the dungeon sieger!
For all of the reviews I have seen thus far, I’m a little disappointed. People are judging the game for what it lacks from its predecessors. This isn’t what you should care about. You should care about the experience it provides. And it is damn fun. Don’t shy away because Dungeon Siege III isn’t like I or II. Give it a try, and blow up some skeletons with your friends.
|On the fly co-op, depth and interesting storytelling mechanics, very fun combat, lovely graphics, immersive, well-developed characters||Campaign mode is all we get, approximately 13 hours of playtime, limited character variation|