Published By: Square Enix
Developed By: Obsidian Entertainment
Players: 1 (2-4 Online)
Rated: T for Teen (Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence)
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Screenshots: Link / Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty
August 21, 2011 – Being a fan of dungeon crawlers like Baulder’s Gate: Dark Alliance and 3D Dot Game Heroes, the prospect of Dungeon Siege III coming to home consoles was very intriguing. Though I haven’t played the first two installments, which were released for PC, the developers over at Obsidian Entertainment ensured me of a rich and fulfilling experience based on past projects. With every company working on or have already released an RPG experience this generation, where Dungeon Siege III fits into the fold is a question left to you to be answered.
Thirty years before the events within Dungeon Siege III, the 10th Legion, the protectors of the Kingdom of Ehb, were accused of assassinating the much loved king and were banished from the realm by angry mobs led by Jeyne Kassyndre. Outraged by the supposed actions of the Legion, chapterhouses and estates all across the kingdom were being destroyed and countless Legionnaires lost their lives in the process. The kingdom became fractured and Jeyne Kassyndre soon rose to power controlling the Church of Azunai and all of eastern Ehb. The royal court retreated to the mountain fastness of Glitterdelve and the last remaining powerhouse; city of Stonebridge, which could stand up against Jeyne Kassyndre, decided to declare itself free from the republic and independent.
Refusing to stand by any longer, the last remaining sons and daughters of the fallen Legionnaires decided to fight back against the growing threat of Jeyne Kassyndre, to reunite the Kingdom of Ehb and uncover the trough behind the murder of the king. And this so begins the journey of four brave Legionnaires the sword-toting Lucas, the gun-wielding Katarina, the fiery mythical being Anjali and the all powerful mage Reinhart into the realm of the unknown.
If you a fan of the RPG genre, you will notice that Dungeon Siege III doesn’t stray too far from the clichés that have become commonplace within the genre. You have your primitive jungles, your well-to-do cities and your normal run-of-the-mill towns that populate the Kingdom of Ehb. The people who populate each area are straight of the respective town. The only oddities to these vastly different areas are you and the Legionnaires as you set out on your quest for redemption and restoration. This formulaic presentation doesn’t hurt the game in any way; however it doesn’t help distinguish this title from countless other RPGs already on the market.
The combat system within Dungeon Siege III is solid and rewarding once you learn the ins-and-outs of it. You are allowed to develop your character however you see fit, however to make sure you succeed on your journey; no matter the difficulty, it pays to actually take a balanced approach to character development. When performing melee attacks, your character builds focus which is needed for special attacks that build power orbs. With those power orbs, you can utilize empowered special attacks and healing spells which will aid you and your companion on their journey. Couple that with different battle stances and various evasive maneuvers, you soon realize that there’s a lot of depth to your character, which in turn keeps the action and battle sequences interesting and unique. As you approach higher levels, your character will be able to utilize new and more powerful attacks; both of an offensive and defensive nature. Once reach level 20 (level cap is 30), you will have access to just about every ability possible within the game; depending on how you built them. It is here that some games become stagnant, however thanks to the integrated loot system, the combat stays interesting for the most part.
No matter what world you are traversing, there’s always an abundance of loot; either in chests, on fallen victims are simply lying on the ground. While most of it can be cast aside by either selling it or breaking it down in its elemental properties to forge new armaments, there are a few pieces that when equipped on your character(s), can and will give you the advantage in a heated battle. When it comes to equipping the random armaments you will come across, there are several stats to keep in mind – Attack, Armor, Will, Stamina, Block, Warding, Chaos: Fire, Doom, Momentum, etc. – when building the best character possible. Some will opt for a more balance fighter, while others will tip the scale in favor of one side. And if you are still overwhelmed by the opposition, you can rest knowing that you’re AI partner can and will come to your rescue reviving you.
When it comes to RPGs with grandeur worlds, very few of them can pull off the visual fidelity that is found in the likes of the Mass Effect series or even the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This is not a job at Dungeon Siege III in any way. The Obsidian Entertainment developed title was geared for a particular audience, whereas the likes of the other titles were designed the mass appeal. The environments within Dungeon Siege III are lush and detailed, however when you get to exploring some dungeons, the environments look a little bland and unappealing. In regards to the character models, they look they were taken right out of a PS2 title. There is a lack of detail within the character models and the NPCs are very stoic.
The music of Dungeon Siege III serves its purpose, however doesn’t help in lighting the fire under you in order to keep you engulf within the folklore of the game. The game utilizes the same branching lines of dialog that are found within both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series, however they seem to have no real purpose within this game. No matter which order you choose to ask your questions, the end of the conversation is always the same; except for those moments when you have to choose whether someone goes free or not. I know this addition serves as an enticing way to get more people to play your game, however it doesn’t work it was intended to and it’s more of a turn off if anything. The character dialog has some redeeming qualities. All of the protagonists deliver witty comments here and there and depending on how you respond to someone can determine whether you obtain favor with them or not.
Considering that there are four main protagonists, Dungeon Siege III takes a unique approach to replayability. Each character has their own backstory and own epic journey which spans 10-13 hours, depending on how you approach the journey. Taking this into account, you are looking at around 40-50 hours worth of gameplay. However, considering you will be traversing the same worlds over and over, it may get tiresome for some; an inclusion of multiplayer is a saving grace for this title. Before you get to excited, the online experience within Dungeon Siege III is one sided as if anyone joins your game, they can only further your cause, while on their end they won’t obtain any trophies/achievements, nor will they be able to keep any of the loot or money they collected along the way.
Dungeon Siege III is an ok RPG that had so much potential going for it. Considering there are other RPGs on the market today; the likes of Torchlight and Trine, requiring someone to pay $60 for this RPG experience seems a little too much. However, for those who invest fully into the experience that Dungeon Siege III brings to the table, you will be more than rewarded for your time and effort. Hopefully if Obsidian Entertainment works on the next installment within the series, some of the ideas they put forth in Dungeon Siege III will be fully realized.