Dungeon Siege III Previews

Details on Obsidian's soon-to-be-released Dungeon Siege sequel continue to spill onto the Internet, with three more hands-on previews showing up over the past couple of days.

GameSpot Asia starts us off:
Leveling up also lets you allocate more points into boosting up current abilities to give additional properties via the Proficiency tab and activating Talents. We dabbled with the Proficiency tab and had a choice to tweak Heartseeking Shot: either we allocate a point on the Rapid Fire proficiency, which makes every kill from the shot give back six focus points per rank, or we put one on Magic Bullet, which makes every shot have a 5 percent chance per rank of ricocheting and hitting an additional target. Katarina's other abilities are up for modding: her Caress of Suffering spell can either reduce an enemy's defense and offense power or act as a mark that makes her leech life and focus points from a slaughtered enemy.

Talents beef up your characters passively. Each character gets 10 talents to choose from, with each talent being upgradable up to five ranks. In Katarina's case, we focused on Steady Aim (gets an additional 4 percent agility per rank), Thrill of the Hunt (buffs her power stat for each critical hit inflicted), and a few others that make her normal shots ricochet and hit additional targets and make her dodge roll damaging to those within the roll's path.

Games On Net continues the pace:
The fact that there are no potions in the game and the only instant heals come from green orbs dropped by slain enemies ensures that you have to approach combat differently from the previous games you can no longer just sit back and regenerate health, or spam potions in the middle of the fight. Outside of the green orbs, the only way to heal is to be lucky enough to pick up a vampiric weapon that siphons health from the enemies you hit or by using special heal over time abilities. When a character levels up they are given a point to spend on tailoring their abilities to suit their specific needs. Each special ability has two sundry effects that you can put points into. Anjali's ring of fire, for example, could either be specced to do more damage and increase the agility of any allies standing within it, or to slowly heal any character standing within it. Any ability can have up to 5 points allocated to it, so you can really specialise I put all my points into healing so I could drop the ring in elemental form then switch to human form to AoE down mobs of melee enemies or put a few points into each specialisation to be more of a jack of all trades.

One thing that became quite apparent during our hands on session is that Obsidian aren't shying away from their usual RPG approach with Dungeon Siege III. Conversations abound and a dialogue wheel allows for some pretty interesting conversation mechanics. The relationships between the player character and companions develop over time, and can unlock bonus abilities or attributes for the party. The story, even though we've only just scratched the surface, seems to be vintage Obsidian territory, with betrayals galore and some very pleasing shades of grey. It seems like an entirely new game, but Nathan Davis ensures us that it is still very much a part of the Dungeon Siege franchise, saying, (There are a number of things that come into play when you're making the third instalment of a game. The second instalment came out a number of years ago. There have been a lot of advances in the way that action gameplay has moved forward. We wanted to incorporate those new advances into the new Dungeon Siege game as well as making it truly an Obsidian game, meaning you get that depth of story and that depth of character and the depth of RPG mechanic involved. We got all those things together and then consulted with Chris Tayor a lot to make sure the things that we were doing and the choices we were making still fit the Dungeon Siege brand well enough that we could still call it the name. It Chris Taylor has his stamp of approval on it we feel pretty good about it and even very early on he was very excited with the things we were doing with it. In fact he was even talking about thing that we were doing that he wished he could have done in the original games.)

And Stuff wraps things up:
This combination of character attributes, understanding abilities and using them to their best advantage has always been a feature of the Dungeon Siege series and the newest entrant looks to be no exception. "We took this action RPG that has always been on the PC and took all of the complexities that you would expect from a PC RPG and brought it onto the consoles so that we have a fun and visceral game," added Davis.

Playing the game cooperatively with Davis, the hectic pace of combat is readily available to see. Davis has assumed melee duties as I'm playing the role of a supporting caster. In a set piece featuring a miniboss, his warrior is dodging and charging around the room collecting up and bringing low scattered ranged enemies while my focus is on keeping him alive and putting some serious hurt onto the main enemy. Switching stances is crucial. I enter my fire elemental form to drop area effect healing and damage spells and, once those are on cool-down, quickly switch to my human form to unleash some spear-based hurt.