Dungeon Siege III | Zombiegamer Review

In short

Dungeon Siege III is an action-rpg that even us junior RPG fans can play without wanting to rip our hair out. It’s a straight forward design yet a rewarding experience. It doesn’t break any new grounds, but does what it’s supposed to well. The few annoyances I had with some elements weren’t enough to detract from the enjoyment I got out. Simple, fun, rewarding.

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Publisher: Square Enix

For fans of: Lighter RPG’s, Action RPG’s

Reviewed on: Xbox 360

Also available on: PS3 and PC

If we had to give it a numerical score: 7.5 out of 10

What I Really liked

  • Light RPG Elements, therefore very playable
  • Design
  • Controls
  • Character Design

Not so much

  • Background music
  • Camera view
  • Weak AI partners
  • Co-op mode not the best

 

Overview

Dungeon Siege III is an action-rpg set in the fantasy Kingdom of Ehb featuring interesting, mystical characters. You play as one of four Legionnaires, a powerful Frey who are tasked with rebuilding the Legion, saving the kingdom and bringing the main enemy – Kassynder to justice.

Dungeon Siege III is a narrative RPG with a fairly simple story, but an interesting one nonetheless. Each of the four characters is very unique in their abilities and powers consisting of hack n’ slash weapons, guns and magic. While some of the characters abilities or powers overlap, playing with the different character will offer a unique experience from one another.

Gameplay and Features

One of the best aspects of the design for me is the character design. I took no less that around half an hour weighing up the differences and strengths of the four diverse characters before choosing whom to go with. Lucas is the sword swinging warrior who uses force and shielding mainly in battle. The exotic Katarina bears firepower and is well suited for striking from a distance. The powerful Reinhart uses magic in various form, while Anjali is the all-rounder. She can use various staffs or spears in up-close battles and can switch her ‘darker’ side which allows her to use fire, either shoot or incinerate the ground beneath her. The characters develop as you level up, allowing for various combinations of skill enhancements.  The intuitive skill menus allow you to choose what to allocate the unlocked skill-points to. Do so wisely as you cannot maximise all the skill sets.

The user-interface was another highlight for me. The interface was well designed and easy to work with, keeping me in total understanding and control with the various menus and sub-menus. The ease of navigation further adds to the faster pace of the game, you can still spend allot of time ‘fiddling’, but you shouldn’t be confused thanks to the intuitive design.

The battle or gameplay design is just about flawless, with only the dodgy camera keeping me from being in total control in battle. The button layout is simple and solid making the enormous amount of battles a pleasure, albeit a little monotonous. The simple combat mixes hacking n’ slashing up close with shooting from afar while attacking, then you can block or dodge when on the defence.

If you choose to play by yourself you will be accompanied by an AI controlled character, one of the other four which you can flip between. The AI can be frustrating at times but generally necessary – the character accompanying you will not only help in battles but revive you to if need be. Multiplayer mode offers drop in/drop out co-op which I found pretty pointless. I don’t see the point of just taking control of a random character in someone else’s game; I want to build on my own character. On the other hand, if you are playing just for the sake of experiencing an RPG title with three other mates, then this might not bother you as much.

Graphics and Sound

Obsidian used the Onyx engine which treated Dungeon Siege III well, delivering a good, not stunning, looking world. The graphics are generally very good with only the character’s animations taking it down a notch. I have no visual bugs to report, but the camera was a little dodgy for my liking. The view was just too high in my preferred zoomed-in camera view. The zooming in also left me completely out of view in some scenes, needing me to rotate the camera just to see what was going on.

While the sound effects themselves are good the ambient music was a bit of a let-down. The music is simple does not do enough to set the mood, I think allot more could have been done in this department to help create a more submerging experience. Then the voice acting is of an adequate standard but again, not a highlight.

So generally speaking, the graphics and sound are completely acceptable, far better than the last Obsidian title I played [Fallout: New Vegas], but not the highlight of Dungeon Siege III.

Conclusion

What some might consider negative aspects, were positive for me – the linear gameplay and lighter RPG element kept me moving forward in the story without frustration. The fact that the RPG element was not the deepest [still well designed though] kept me in tune with my characters development as I got instant gratification when upgrading. The well executed, fast paced-action kept the gameplay feeling like a typical hack n’ slash game and the RPG elements kept me addicted to levelling up my character, customising the abilities all along the way.

So while the more ‘hardcore’ RPG fans might say Dungeon Siege III is a little ‘watered down’, I say great, an RPG that anyone can play. The co-op could have been better so it was an addictive and satisfying singleplayer experience for me.

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For more about Dungeon Siege III, see the official site.

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