Dungeon Siege 1 and 2 achieved a cult status when they were released on PC back in 2002 and 2005, respectively, finding their target audience amongst those that had probably played a few loot-drop RPGs before. But it’s 2011 now, and whilst PC gaming is arguably still going strong, the console market is ever so appealing, and why not? It’s even less of a worry for consumers when buying a game as they needn’t worry if their console is good enough for the requirements and there’s no need to keep a tidy bedroom to enjoy a bit of split-screen. That said, porting a much-loved PC title to consoles can raise a few eyebrows amongst the more hardcore PC gamers. Lucky it’s Obsidian on board then, as they’re pretty adept when it comes to sequels to other companies’ IPs.
We get plonked into Dungeon Siege III some time after the second in the series, quite typically in the middle of a war (blasted writers and their drama). It seems that the Kingdom of Ehb, which some time ago was all fine and dandy has become a playground for factions of the public to engage in civil war. Unfortunately the king died and the poor 10th Legion, a noble bunch of well trained fighters who had protected the land in times of need, were blamed for the atrocity. In an effort to take advantage of the general suspicion and unrest in the air, some horrible woman named Jeyne Kassynder had to go and get the public organized, bringing about a massive hunt for the 10th Legion. Smart move, now everyone’s all up in each others’ grills and nobody’s happy.
So it’s up to you, as one of the surviving members of the 10th Legion to go and put things right. It wouldn’t be possible, or perhaps noble to just go hunt down Kassynder to make yourself feel better about the way things have gone though. No, the peoples’ trust must be earned once more, impressions need to be made, and then Kassynder’s army can be taken on.
You’re given the option of playing through with one of four characters, all pre-defined in background, personality and combat-style, though all three of these can be built on as you progress through the game.
Lucas Montbarron is the son of the last Grand Master of the 10th Legion and has been trained by his father in the arts of sword-fighting. He’s basically the Warrior class fighter with the expected shedload of strength and armor to boot.
Anjali is a female fire demon of sorts without a clue as to where she came from, though was brought up to be nicey nicey and use her powers for the greater good by someone known as the Venerable Odo. As you could probably guess, she has some pretty good fire spells in her arsenal.
Next is Reinhart Manx, also a 10th Legioner and a mage with some interesting powers. Finally comes Kararina, a witch capable of long and close range attacks keen on both magic and guns, a powerful combo if I ever heard one. She’s also Lucas’ half-sister.
Between them, the four characters manage to make up the character classes seen in the first two Dungeon Siege games, which will hopefully please some older fans. What’s quite different in this incarnation is that there’s only the possibility of controlling one character, and once made you’ll have to stick to your decision.
The game’s menus have and combat system have been adapted to make play on a control pad possible. To quickly have a look at your active quests just tap the left button on your d-pad.
A press of the up button shows where you should be going via breadcrumb trail while the right button on the d-pad brings up your equipment screen. To talk to someone or open a chest just click in the right bumper button, simple.
Once in battle a quick-block mechanic is mapped to the left trigger and a basic attack on the right. Changing stance will alter your basic strike, amongst other things, and is performed with a tap of the left shoulder bumper.
The aforementioned stances are an important part of Dungeon Siege 3. Lucas flips between two-handed broadsword or a shield and sword stance and Katarina has a choice of a ranged carbine or a shotgun for close combat. Anjali switches between a defensive and nimble human mode and a brilliantly lit floating mass of a mystical fire being.
Reinhart Manx is pretty unconventional in his approach and alternates between a stance made for close-range electric-charged melee attacks and a long-ranged stance made for barraging large groups of foes with magic.
You’re never playing too long before encountering a new location and quest, though it’s not often you’ll be doing too many at once and lose track of where you should be going. The range of places to visit is varied, and each of these hasn’t been rushed into existence in order to create masses of land.
Instead, substantial effort has been put in to create some pretty elegant scenes. A pleasant surprise always then to learn that these detailed locales are discreetly loaded without a pause.
Fortunately for those with a sense of humor (hopefully that’s all of you), DS3’s not quite as dry as so many RPGs can be and features a healthy spattering of the funny stuff throughout. This presents itself in some pretty amusing dialogue along with the odd reference to Dungeon Sieges of old. I won’t spoil any surprises.