Dungeon Siege III Reviews

We have our first batch of reviews for Obsidian and Square Enix's first stab at the hack'n'slash genre, Dungeon Siege III, which seem to point to a good, albeit unenthusiastic reception.

NowGamer, 8.0/10.
Either way, among the humans because let's face it none of us really expect the goblins or Cyclopses to look like individual characters as we slay them there's a uniformity that tells you this wasn't an area considered to be a top priority with the development team.

Those efforts have gone into other, perhaps more important areas where time and polish actually make a difference to your experience. Besides, the peculiar-looking NPCs and characters add to the comedy factor.

One of those areas and the one we came to appreciate immensely was the looting and item management. We love a good looting game and Dungeon Siege III is jam packed full of little items for all four of your warriors to collect and use.

Balancing out your HP, Agility, Armour and everything else with every new helmet and pair of stockings you retrieve from a dead body or treasure chest.

It's an addictive process in most games like this and Dungeon Siege III manages to get it spot-on. We spent about as much time in the early part of the game flicking back and forth between the world and our menu screen as we did battling with our enemies.

Official Xbox 360 Magazine complains about what likely will be a low point for many gamers and reviewers alike, the multiplayer design, and awards it a 7.0/10.
The script starts off without a trace of humour - just knightly pomp and sassy bra-maidens. The Kingdom of Ehb has very little in the way of gender-based enlightenment and a useful memo to developers everywhere - women don't keep their personality in their chest.

But there is, however, a sense of humour at work. The loading text is playful, silly and self-deprecating. Eventually, in-game, that spirit of fun finds its voice. When you get to Stonebridge, a town policed by automatons, and inhabited by humans and nauseatingly Uncanny Valley goblins, the tone lightens considerably. And that's when you start enjoying yourself again.

Obsidian even make jokes about the game's inability to deal with more nuanced morality. Conversations can never be used to avoid a battle - they're just various inconsequential ways into that fight, with a "what did we learn today?" conversation at the end. Take one mission, in a underground factory operated by slave cyclops. As it's an industrial dispute, you're told to keep casualties to a minimum.

But this is a game where every creature that's not giving missions is set to attack. So you have to kill every cyclops you see. Then, you meet the boss, and lay into him until the cutscene debriefing. "Why don't these people talk to us before we've fought them?" asks your companion. It's odd, seeing a game try to disarm you by making a joke out of its own irrationality. But in terms of generating a sense of begrudging fondness, it kind of works.

Brutal Gamer, 8.5/10.
Personal choice is an ongoing theme throughout the game. While Dungeon Siege III is not an open sandbox, where you can wander around aimlessly for hours on end, you are given a lot of freedom to choose how your character will interact with the other characters in the game. Of course, there is the option to take on side quests or not, like most rpgs, but Dungeon Siege III also gives you a lot of choice in how you deal with both your friends and enemies and that goes a long way towards alleviating the feeling of being led down a path.

Loot junkies will fall in love with Dungeon Siege III. There is loot everywhere, if you choose to look for it, and most of the items are specific to each of the characters. You can pick up items for your own character, and for the other characters as well, which comes in handy when they drop in for some multiplayer. Like Baldur's Gate, players can choose to work their way through the game with another player. Unlike Baldur's Gate, that second player can drop in and out whenever they like. The game AI is very good quality, and having your wingman drop out doesn't really affect your gameplay negatively at all. The second player can choose their character each time they enter the game, choosing to continue leveling up their original character, or start on a new one. I found this feature to be particularly helpful in our household full of games, as each of the players could work on their own characters each time they played.

You have a lot of control over your character. Not just in what types of weapons they carry and armor they wear (although of course, you have control over that), but also in the way they develop. When you level up, you are given points towards purchasing proficiencies, talents, and abilities. These can make your attacks stronger, your enemies' attacks weaker, enrich your healing abilities, and much more. You aren't able to just max out on everything, so you'll have to pick and choose which ones are right for your style of play.

CVG complains about the targeting and framerate (weirdly enough calling them "bugs"), but liked the co-op and awards it a 7.9/10.
Every game is better in co-op. Because nothing spices up a digital world like a jerk. A jerk who spoils the moment when the story gets too emotional. A jerk who scoffs up all the loot. A jerk who dances around your fainted body, refusing to cast a healing spell. AI? AI's just too... polite.

So it's no surprise Dungeon Siege III works best with pals. Alone it's a merry hack-and-slash; well written enough to hold one person's attention and rammed with juicy experimental loot (vampiric shotguns, anyone?).

Only the gormless AI companion holds you back, refusing to employ the awesome magics you so carefully levelled up for them.

Adding a local player to the battle injects the moronic aide with some smarts. They can snipe as you pummel the enemy or conjure flames to cauterise your wounds. Developer Obsidian's ability tree champions individual taste - focusing on adding perks to nine foundation moves - so it takes an individual to appreciate them. On the downside, this TV ain't big enough for the both of us, and the camera can struggle to frame two players at times.
GameRevolution too dislikes the choices Obsidian made about the multiplayer and wonders whether the game is worth its price tag, score is a B.
The backstory for Dungeon Siege III doesn't go far beyond the standard fare. Thirty years ago, the 10th Legion, the knightly protectors of the kingdom of Ehb, was accused of assassinating the king and was expunged by the mobs led by Jeyne Kassyndre. As one of the last remaining sons and daughters of the Legion, it is your charge to reclaim the Legion's honor and uncover the truth behind the conspiracy. While every line of text and exposition is technically adequate, it does not stretch enough past the trappings of cliché. The timeline of events and the various peoples and monsters living in their appropriate environments - the primitive jungle, the bustling city, or the everyday township - all fit in their respective holes.

This borderline creativity extends to the dialogue and the choice of words, which you may have already gathered by the awkward spellings of Ehb and Jeyne Kassyndre. Certainly, Dungeon Siege III is not the first fantasy universe to invent unusual proper nouns, but it's disheartening when the most original parts of the story rests on the pronunciations of the dakkenweyr, Vaclav, Lescanzi, and Rukkenvahl. Conversations employ the same radial system as Mass Effect's with the player allowed to ask various questions in no specific order, but except for the humorous responses of the guardians automatons in the city, answers are rarely interesting or have any personality.

It isn't from a lack of trying, though. Each of the four protagonists - the sword-wielding Lucas, the gun-toting Katarina, the fiery archon Anjali, and the logic-minded Reinhart - all make witty comments at times and choosing the right dialogue option can help you gain influence with them. Accomplishing certain feats earns your character Deeds that award permanent stat bonuses as well. But compared to the dialogue trees and the quest branching of Dragon Age: Origins, the attempt here is at best a passing grade. Up close, NPCs look like they belong in an early PS2 title and any conversation with more than one NPC feels like you're talking to a throng of quest-giving scarecrows whose heads and bodies are held by an invisible stick in the ground. It's just a case of a game rushing to keep up with modern video game storytelling.