Dungeon Siege III Reviews

We have some more new reviews for Obsidian and Square-Enix's Dungeon Siege III which seem largely consistent with the trend of the reviews we've seen so far, with good but not exceptional scores and some gripes with certain design choices.

GameInformer, 8.00/10.
In the single-player campaign you fight side-by-side with an AI companion. I found that having Legion swordsman Lucas Montbarron at my side made life significantly easier, thanks to his tanking abilities that complemented my more mage-like skillset. I didn't have any direct control over Lucas, though I got to upgrade his abilities and equipment. I was surprised (and impressed) by the amount of autonomy he displayed. He used his various abilities effectively, waiting for enemies to cluster together before attacking groups with his special sword slashes, or making sure that the area was clear before attempting to revive me if I was down. He even picked up gold on his own at the end of skirmishes, though he left the loot on the ground.

Alas, loot management is a major weak spot, which is a problem for a game that showers players with all manner of weapons, armor, and goodies. Weapons are ranked in a variety of attribute-enhancing categories, but optimizing between piles of gear can quickly become a headache. You can compare items against what you have equipped, but you can't sort your gear according to different bonuses, which would have been a tremendous help. After a few hours, I stopped looking forward to incrementally better gear, which is a problem when nearly every chest or enemy encounter fills your sack with more. If you like playing with a spreadsheet in your lap, however, more power to you.

Multiplayer is a big draw for Dungeon Siege III, and it's handled fairly well. Players are tethered to one another, whether in the two-player local co-op or through four-player online matches. Because of the small size of some of the areas, it can feel constraining at times especially when there isn't consensus on which direction to explore next. It's also easy to lose your character amid the various spell effects and trap displays. It doesn't help matters when the targeting system occasionally has a mind of its own; in a few battles I aimed at where I thought the enemies were and hoped for the best.

PC Gamer, 78/100.
The real shocker for Dungeon Siege fans is the terrific 18-hour story's memorable characters and choices, where a spared enemy might turn out to be a convenient ally later.

But adding story depth seemed to cause Obsidian to forget some action-RPG fundamentals. The mini-map provides no indication of which direction you should be going, convoluted stats (such as Doom and Withering) are never explained, and you have to press E to retrieve every single piece of loot you want to grab.

Finger cramps aside, fighting through this imaginative, stunningly beautiful world is good fun. There are better single-player RPGs out there, but if you hunt for loot in a pack, Dungeon Siege III is a satisfying battlefield to conquer.

Destructoid, 7.5/10.
Every ability carries with it two potential extra enhancements that are unlocked using ability points. These enhancements can be improved with further points, but you may only improve them up to five times. You can also choose to mix the enhancements. For instance, Katarina can earn the ability to summon a wolf. The wolf has two enhancements -- one that boosts its HP and attack power, and another that gives Katarina HP every time it attacks. You can choose to sink all five of your enhancement points in boosting the wolf's strength/HP, or you can sink all five into gaining superior health regeneration. Alternatively, you could sink three points in the wolf's HP/attack, and two points in the health regain, so the wolf becomes slightly stronger and heals your character.

Despite that in-depth description, it's a very easy and intuitive form of character progression, though one that is very restrictive. Dungeon Siege III's playable characters are strictly predetermined and your only real choice is the order in which you unlock skills and the minor way in which you enhance your pre-set abilities. It's easy to get into, but there's a definite lack of meat on some particularly solid bones.

Those looking for deep skill trees and manual stat tweaking will not get what they want out of this game. In what is both a blessing and a potential curse, Dungeon Siege III is very much a "casual" role-playing experience, in which most of the thinking has been done for you and your only concern is amassing vast quantities of loot while kicking the crap out of giant spiders and goblins. This approach will be seen by some as a "dumbed down" experience, but if you want a game that dispenses with busywork and gets right down to the acquisition of riches and power, then Dungeon Siege III provides the instant gratification you're looking for.

ActionTrip, 7.8/10.
Orbs left behind by fallen enemies provide a substitute for potion consumption, which admittedly isn't the most effective way of regenerating HP or Focus during battles. The issue stems from the fact that the game drops these orbs randomly, so you can't really depend on it. Three types of orbs are usually found on the battlefield - green (health regen), blue (Focus regen) and purple (charges the character's special attacks). Healing may prove difficult if you're a warrior, especially at the beginning. Healing is either done by collecting orbs or by leveling up and investing into a healing spell or certain skills that increase health regeneration through combat. This seems like a cool substitution for stereotypical potion usage, although in practice it doesn't feel right. The amount of damage points dealt by most enemies is high above the amount of HP that are regenerated through the main character's spells or skills. This often causes frustration during combat, something that could've easily been avoided by including potions in the game.

To bring the matter into perspective, for a game that forces real-time combat, the orb scheme and skill-based health regeneration frequently fails in battle, causing the death of your character more often than it should. This is often the case when you come up against more powerful opponents, most especially large boss creatures that cause critical damage with almost every attack. If it's down to just you and a large boss, who often deals out area damage as well, the battle becomes very difficult because there just aren't any orbs to help you heal and if you want to recover through basic strikes and attacks that won't be easy, because one attack from the enemy can kill you instantly. So, at this time, you revert to, what we like to call, a "dodge-and-poke" tactics, which denote a lot of dodging, blocking and running the hell away from whatever your foe tosses at you. Dodging isn't too difficult, but you may also get confused between dodging and blocking, because you use the 'Space bar' to block and dodging is carried out by pressing the 'Space bar' and direction key. To put it another way, if you want to block an incoming spell with a shield, you'll probably end up dodging instead of blocking (it's only possible to block while standing still). It sounds absurd, but that's how it works, believe me.

Sestren, 7/10.
When setting up a multiplayer game, you select new game and then change your multiplayer settings to public or private. If you have played the game for awhile and want someone to join you in your current single player game, at any time you can make your current game an online co-op game.

When it comes to multiplayer, all you have is the campaign to play. Something not so great about it is that if you join a game, you don't get to save anything. You are basically helping the host complete their campaign which they are the ones that get to save. You get nothing out of it except for fun playtime and achievements. So playing in random rooms is of no use to you unless you just want to play some of the game with someone and to get those co-op achievements.

What I would recommend is that you play the game by yourself first, single player is the best part of Dungeon Siege 3 unless you get a friend to join you in your campaign. Then once you have beaten it, you can start a new game to play online or just play random games with people if you wish.

While playing multiplayer, everyone remains on the same screen. This causes it not to be the smoothest experience at times. Especially when you are in a hurry and wanting to head in one direction and the other guy isn't moving or trying to head in the opposite direction. Now imagine that in battle, you're trying to run away from an enemy heading one direction and your partner or partners heading in their own directions to avoid taking a critical hit. Sometimes it just doesn't work the best, especially in tight places. That's with a full party of 4 though. Playing with just one friend can be much easier on you.

And finally, IGN has some early impressions before their final review.
Powering all these special skills is focus, basically mana, that regenerates as you land regular attacks. That means recouping enough focus to lay down more fields of fire and spawn hell dogs is pretty easy. It's a fluid, cyclical system of resource regeneration and gameplay reward that doesn't rely on potions, which quite frankly is appreciated. Potion spamming in an action role-playing game at this point feels a little archaic, though I'm sure some hardcore gamers out there may miss it simply for nostalgic reasons. Continued use of special skills is further rewarded with power orbs, which charge up through skill use and when consumed allow for a single, significantly powered-up attack to be unleashed.

The enemy encounter design seems nicely varied, with dumb grunt enemies that charge directly at you mixed with spellcasters that fire off orbs of magic that knock you around combat arenas. There's thankfully a dodge function to duck under bristling spheres of magic and away from groups of murderous spiders, which helps give you some breathing room to trigger regenerative abilities or scoop up health and focus restoration orbs that drop from the dead. It makes Dungeon Siege III feel more like an action title than an ordinary loot crawl, and can get more exciting during some of the well-designed boss fights that force you to often move around or suffer heavy damage.

What I'm not especially impressed with so far is the loot. Gear comes in various shapes and sizes, but so far equipment upgrades don't feel like they have much of an effect on my character's overall performance. I'm sure they do, it's just tough to notice. This is probably the hardest part about a loot game to get right considering the sheer number of items packed in, but one I feel is important when so much of the excitement of killing things and opening chests is to see what kind of items will spill out.