Dungeon Siege III Previews

With the North American Xbox 360 demo coming out today and some European magazine reviews already out, very few sites are still giving Dungeon Siege III the preview coverage, but for those of you that still haven't had the chance to sample Obsidian's titles in some way these two previews should serve as decent refreshers.

Shacknews likes the gameplay, although they find the story difficult to get into:
Having already spent some time playing as Lucas (the warrior) and Anjali (the Archon), I began by trying out the characters I'd never seen before. Reinhart Manx is a mage that channels his power through an arcane gauntlet, and Katarina, who is a gun-wielding Lescanzi witch. Both are interesting additions to the playable roster, requiring slightly different play-styles. Katarina and Reinhart are much stronger at range, but do have serviceable close-range capabilities. As with the other characters, it's easy to see how some abilities might be more useful when combined during cooperative play, but I still found all of the characters to be perfectly capable choices for single-player adventuring.

I hold some misgivings about Dungeon Siege 3, however. During my first couple of hours, I found it incredibly difficult to get invested in the story. It's not that the dialog sequences, cinematics, and bits of text-based lore that you'll find aren't well written; they just seem a bit dry. Much of the information relayed (at least early-on) contains a wealth of detail about the world and its inhabitants, but, to me, much of it felt like exposition for its own sake. It got to the point where I became reluctant to ask characters for supplemental information, and found myself wanting to skip through the blocks of text that are presented when a new piece of lore is discovered.

While XboxAddict finds little to complain in the core experience:
Each character has two fighting modes which essentially comes down to and offensive and defensive (or long and short range) style. You can instantly swap between these stances (and appropriate weapons) to take care of enemies however you see fit. A great example is with Katrina; you can use your rifle to snipe from long range, when they get in close you can swap to your dual pistols to damage them then cast a knock back spell and swap back to your high powered rifle to finish them off. It adds more variety than most simple button mashers in the genre and some bosses will have you swapping stances and using skills varyingly.

While you are able to block, it has to be the direction you are actually getting hit from which I found was a little frustrating when being surrounded constantly by swarms. Gone are the days of health and mana potions, now you pick up orbs as you slay enemies to fill your respective bars. This also will have you watching your character more so than usual as you can't just hit your potion when needed.