Dungeon Siege III

Dungeon Siege 2 was a lengthy title with tons of gameplay on offer. How does its sequel stack up? Read on to find out

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Dungeon Siege III When the action gets intense you’ll see some awesome visuals onscreen. The graphics here can easily singe your eyeballs
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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  September 20, 2011

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Key Specs

Number of players: 2
Online play: N
Price: $73

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PC gamers with an interest in action role-playing games have exclusively been able to enjoy the Dungeon Siege series of games, as they were only released on the PC gaming platform. With Dungeon Siege 3 however developer Obsidian Entertainment and publisher Square Enix have brought the game to the masses by releasing the game on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms as well.

Dungeon Siege 3 takes place roughly 150 years after the events of Dungeon Siege and has players returning to the now familiar Kingdom of Ehb. Players can choose to play as one of four playable characters; Lucas Montbarron, Anjali, Reinhart Manx and Katarina. Once you begin playing you’re given a brief tutorial on how to play and, before you know it, you’ll be playing through the game’s main storyline.

This was our biggest niggle with the game because while Dungeon Siege 3 has a fairly decent story with solid pacing, it’s all over way too quickly. Despite not attempting a mad dash for the finish line and doing a fair bit of exploring, we were able to complete the game in no more than 15 hours. When you consider that the older Dungeon Siege 2 could take as long as 45 hours to complete, the sequel immediately feels less of a game than its predecessor.

Unfortunately, if you’re a hardcore RPG fan you’ll find yourself getting bored rather quickly with Dungeon Siege 3. This problem is that while the game’s basic mechanics are fairly solid and aren’t too fiddly to use, there’s very little character and ability development on offer; you’ll very quickly be able to level up your character and then having nothing else to do but hack and slash. This is far from ideal given that games like Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 2 can have you fiddling with your character’s various traits and abilities right up to the very end of the game.

Being a RPG game there are plenty of items on offer and while this will encourage you to explore the world around you in greater depth, it’s a shame that the non playable characters have barely any depth. As a result you never really care about what happens to them. Playing the game on your own is also a somewhat limited experience because whereas its predecessor allowed you to have parties of up to four characters, this time around, you can only have a maximum of two.

As you’d expect you can play through Dungeon Siege 3’s campaign with a friend using the game’s cooperative multiplayer mode. This is infinitely more enjoyable than going through the game on your own purely because you don’t have to rely on the sometimes completely useless AI to get you out of trouble.

As is the case with the rest of the game in general, Dungeon Siege 3 is somewhat unbalanced on the visual front as well. The characters, be they the ones you choose to play as or the ones you encounter through the game, aren’t dripping with detail and this is obvious whenever you’re given a close-up view. That said, when you equip your characters with some of the advanced armour and other knickknacks you happen across during your journey, you won’t be able to do anything but admire just how cool your character ends up looking.

One area the game really excels in is with the look of some of its environments. While you will, of course, come across a few dark, desolate areas such as old mines, more often than not, we found ourselves staring in wonder at some of the colourful and superbly illuminated areas. Dungeon Siege 3 uses lighting brilliantly to give real personality to crypts, dungeons and other such environments.

At the same time, the camera can be quite a pain in that it can do completely the wrong thing at the wrong time and leave you reaching for your save game. On more than a few occasions in tight spaces the in-game camera decided to zoom in too much on our character, which meant we could only see our character’s head, rather than the group of foes we were trying to vanquish at that exact same moment.

Audio is a mixed bag as well because while there’s decent ambient music on offer and fairly interesting and unique sound effects, the voice acting is average at best. This combined with the rather stiffly animated characters mean you’ll find it hard to really connect with the characters you play or come across. They seem just a bit too robotic and soulless.

Pros: You’ll come across some serious eye-candy in Dungeon Siege 3. It’s worth playing the game just to see all of the game's environments.
Cons: Camera can be annoying at times, not as lengthy as its predecessor.
Verdict: The transition from PC to console has stripped Dungeon Siege 3 of some of its past greatness. That said this is still an action RPG game worth trying at least once.

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