Dungeon Siege III Reviews

We have another batch of critiques for Square Enix and Obsidian Entertainment's take on the Dungeon Siege franchise, Dungeon Siege III, which seemingly confirm the initial impressions from the press of a solid albeit flawed title.

Eurogamer, 8/10.
As in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and other co-op action RPGs in this vein, the combat isn't demanding or unforgiving. Instead, it has a very clear goal in mind: to be playable no matter how much attention you are giving it.

With the exception of a handful of tough fights spread throughout the game, it's possible to go tumbling through Dungeon Siege III with half of your brain playing and the other half chatting idly to your co-op partner. You simply tap away at the attack button, dodge on those occasions when you see an attack being aimed in your direction, and fall back and use your healing ability when you're hurt.

But don't think this means that Dungeon Siege III is a brain-dead game. It's just an adaptive one. Because your character has up to 11 abilities, as well as charged versions of each of those, and each is best used in a slightly different scenario, trying to play Dungeon Siege III perfectly is a totally absorbing dance of glossy particle effects, small victories and even smaller failures.

If you play on Normal, you're never in too much danger of dying, but you'll have plenty of occasions where you spot at the last second that your health bar is a shred of its full self - and you'll duck out of the fight sucking air through your teeth the whole way.

GamrReview, 8.3/10.
Obsidian, the developers, managed to take a Diablo-style game and build in cooperative multiplayer that feels more like the endlessly-fun Gauntlet Legendsgames. Up to four players (two on a couch, up to four online) share the same screen, gold, and inventory. In conversations, the lead player makes decisions, but the other players can use the conversation wheel to tell the lead player what their choice would be.

This multiplayer experience is easy to drop in and drop out of and works great most of the time. In the campaign, a companion constantly accompanies you, which is one of the other three characters you didn't choose to start the game with. This means the game is already balanced for two characters. The AI just shifts to focus on both players instead of just you. When you jump online and exceed two players, the enemies level up to keep the challenge alive. The multiplayer is hampered occasionally if you drop into a game as a character the lead player has never kept or purchased equipment for. Then you're a proper level character with basic starting equipment; an unenviable position.

Speaking of decisions (back a couple sentences, it's up there), there are many in Dungeon Siege III and they have significant impact on the game. They don't just contribute to the ending movie: sparing certain characters or forging certain alliances will have an effect on the game as you progress. This makes for a different experience every time you play the game, particularly if you have a friend make all the decisions the next time through. The game is also populated with numerous side-quests that you can take or ignore at your leisure.

PSX Extreme, 8.0/10.
In addition to having a party, there are other unique gameplay alterations to the tried-and-true hack '˜n slash formula. For instance, you can roll-dodge with the L2 button, and you switch stances with the L1 button. This is important because not only does your stance change the weapon(s) used in combat, it also affects the skills you have at your disposal. For instance, one of Katarina's special power abilities with her rifle sends a supercharged bullet that knocks over an enemy. When you switch your stance to dual-wielding the sidearm and shotgun, her power move causes her to spin around and fire quick shots in all four directions. So stance is crucial.

The controls just bug me a little bit, that's all. The camera can be frustrating, and it took me a while to get the button layout through my head. Having to hit R1 to pick up any equipment is only a minor annoyance, but I had to really pay attention to both my stance and the types of magic and skills I would use based on that stance, and what I had been working on in my proficiencies. In truth, I actually think there's a little too much depth; for a game like this, it feels overdone. Some hardcore RPG fans will disagree, though. It just drove me a little nuts to have so many pieces of equipment, and they're different for each character.

Thing is, because you can pick up a lot at once, this affects the pacing because then you have to go in and see if anything you snagged is a better fit on one of your party members. I'm also not the biggest fan of the story, and having block be the same button as roll-dodge (you just flick the left analog to roll) seems like a bad idea. I also didn't like the fact that most enemies typically seem to key on me, regardless of how far away I am, or what type of fighter I am. Other than that, the game is entertaining and relatively well designed. Having green and blue orbs that replenish health and magic feels too (action-y) to me, but I'll let it slide. Heck, you could jump in Dark Alliance.

Australian Gamer, scoreless.
The interface nearly needs its own review itself, especially for the PC version. LMB for attack, RMB to move your character - this seems simple enough at the start. Then add in the space bar for block / dodge and the 1,2 and 3 buttons for your spells for your current weapon stance and you start to get a bit more complicated. Then you realise that while holding down space bar you have access to your defensive spells, so you need to push space bar and a number button. Ok now we are getting there, but wait - then the Q button will change your weapon stance, so there is a whole other set of spells and abilities on the 1,2,3 keys now. Confused? Well we are not done yet. While holding down shift each weapon stance has its own special move which can be done with Shift + LMB, but only while you have a full ability sphere. The ability spheres are easy enough to acquire, simply attack enemies, but the defensive spells also use the ability spheres, so use them wisely. Fret not though readers, you DO get the hang of it (or you can just press LMB until everything is dead).

For a game called Dungeon Siege 3 you spend amazingly little time within dungeons and even then most of them are either crypts or caverns - but there is the odd dungeon. That is not to say that the environments are all the same, in the first couple of hours expect to see no less than two separate forests (one haunted), an abandoned mage mansion, a plundered heroes crypt and a swamp. While these levels are fairly linear they are very nicely designed and beautifully textured. Not to be outdone, the musical score is just fantastic - rising crescendos in the heat of battle, subtle sinister music as you descend an old stone staircase to face a boss monster, its touches like this that really make the game shine - in your ears.

Forget hailing to the king baby, its time to hail to the return of local co-op - or couch co-op as they love to call it now - and it is as easy as plugging in a controller and pressing the start button. Your best bet is going to be with one of those fancy Xbox 360 controllers for Windows, however I am sure other controllers will also work. DS3 also supports 4 player online co-op and this is something I am very keen to try out, but I haven't been able to yet. While couch co-op has been available in recent 3rd person action adventures like Fable 3, there is no need to marry or form a partnership or anything stupid like that in DS3. This is because loot is mainly character specific, so there is no need to madly pick up everything as soon as it drops as players have a shared inventory.

VGRevolution, 8.4/10.
While the game is great as a single player title, I really suggest playing it with friends to fully enjoy it. Not a lot of people were playing the game online this week, so I didn't get a chance to play it online for too long. I did, however, enjoy playing it to its entirety with my brother since we were able to communicate our battle strategies and make the most of our attacks. Some bosses are tricky and can only be exploited with two or more people communicating their strategies with each other.

Small issues aside, Dungeon Siege III is a great multiplayer RPG game any player will enjoy. The game is long enough to engage you in its storytelling, but it's short enough to have you beat it several times with different characters. The game's leveling up system and its three difficulty modes let you customize it to your liking. Dungeon Siege III is the first game of the series to make its way to consoles. What a great way to make a debut.