Dungeon Siege III Review

16 Oct 2011

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Square Enix
Developer:Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date:2011-06-21
Genre:
  • Role-Playing,Action
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
The controls for the game are about what you'd expect, with the WASD keys driving your character, the middle mouse button rotating and zooming the camera, and the left mouse button causing you to attack.  You can also use the Q key to toggle between your battle stances, the spacebar to activate your defensive stance, and the 1-6 keys to trigger your abilities.  However, the game is much friendlier to play using an Xbox controller (where, for example, the LT button serves the same purpose as the spacebar).  I started playing Dungeon Siege III with a controller when I got it, and then decided I liked it better that way even after the PC patch came out.

As for what you do in the game, since Dungeon Siege III is still an action RPG like its predecessors, you spend a lot of time slicing and dicing and burning and shooting a multitude of enemies, including goblins, spiders, and cyclopes.  There aren't any potions in the game, but enemies drop health and mana orbs that you can use to replenish your character, provided that you're agile enough to claim them before they expire.  Enemies also drop lots of gear for you to collect, and the gear is easily identified by its color, from orange (unique) to white (normal).

Annoyingly, regular movements are sort of clunky during battles since you're not allowed to move and fight at the same time, but dodging is pretty powerful.  When you dodge (basically somersaulting away from your current position), you're invulnerable to damage, and so many battles involve you using a healing-over-time ability and then repeatedly dodging back and forth until you're healthy enough to fight again.  This strategy is kind of cheesy, but it's almost required for some of the tougher boss fights.

As you progress through the campaign, you also find numerous quests to complete, including required main quests and optional side quests.  Most of these quests involve you going somewhere and killing something, or going somewhere and collecting something, and, as you might be able to tell from the way I just described them, the quests aren't very creative.  There also aren't any puzzles in the game.  In other words, Dungeon Siege III pretty much focuses and battling enemies and nothing else, which is unfortunate because there isn't a lot of variety to the enemies or to the tactics required to defeat them, and combat gets a little repetitive by the end of the game's 20+ hour campaign.

Story

The story in Dungeon Siege III revolves around the 10th Legion, which was accused of killing Ehb's king 30 years ago, and which subsequently fell on hard times after a "saint" named Jeyne Kassynder rallied the people against them.  Each of the four characters you can control are involved in the Legion in some way -- for example, Lucas is the son of the former Grand Master, who was executed by Jeyne -- and your goal in the game is to defeat Jeyne and restore the Legion to power.

Unfortunately -- and disappointingly to me, since I had high hopes for Obsidian -- the story is pretty basic, about what you'd expect from an action RPG.  Obsidian did a nice job with Jeyne, developing her backstory and giving her some pretty strong reasons for wanting the Legion destroyed, but everything else is basic and shallow.  Worst of all is the characters you control.  They seem like they should be heavily involved in the plot, but they end up being anonymous killing machines, and the campaign barely changes for each one.  For example, when Lucas confronts Jeyne at the end of the game, I don't think he mentions his father at all.

On the brighter side, Obsidian does a nice job in referencing some of the people and events from the earlier games.  Some of these references are covered in the numerous lore entries that you can read as you make your way through the campaign.  Others are only noticeable if you're paying attention.  For example, at one point as you're traveling between towns, you pass by a dead donkey that was clearly overburdened by its master.  At another point, you discover the tomb of "the farmer" from the first game.
 
 

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