Sunday, November 10, 2013

Kate Reviews: Dungeon Siege III

Four heroes with stories of their own.  What will yours be?

GAME DETAILS
Release Date: 6-21-2011
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: RPG
ESRB Rating: T for Teen (Blood, Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes)
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Original Sale Price: $59.99
Reviewer Purchase Price:$11.68@Amazon 

Back-of-the-Box Info
  • Players 1-2
  • Co-Op 2
  • 2 MB to save game
  • In-game Dolby Digital
  • HDTV 720p/1080i/1080p
  • Online multiplayer 1-4
  • Co-op 2-4
  • Voice
Game website: www.dungeonsiege.com 
DLC available at the time this blog is written:
  1. Treasures of the Sun (avail 10-25-2011) $9.99


Now, I realize this game was released a long time ago and I am just now playing/reviewing it, but a good game is a good game, right? I got a sweet deal on it and I was a fan of the first in the series on PC in 2002, so I figured it was worth a try.

Starting point in Dungeon Siege III
Starting point in Diablo III
The moment I took control of the character I had chosen and headed up the pathway toward a dilapidated mansion gate, I got the distinct impression that this was a very Diablo-esque game.  Boy, was I right.  From the top-down perspective to the lighting in the dark environment to the join-in-progress cooperative gameplay, this game kept reminding me of Diablo at every turn; not that that's a bad thing.  Even my husband who has only watched me play Diablo III a few times and played the original one himself many years ago, asked if I was playing D3.  It was, in many ways, a departure from the gameplay of the original Dungeon Siege, but not to its detriment.  It kept enough to be discernibly Dungeon Siege but changed up some of the more grueling aspects of the original.  The pack mule and the difficult inventory limits are gone and there was even a comical nod to the beloved mule from the previous games.

"The pitiful corpse of a mule has been left at the roadside.  Other travelers have wandered off with the many suits of armor, sacks of gold, and impractically large battleaxes that collectively crushed the poor beast."


There are four playable characters from which to choose to start the game.  They fall into the typical archetypes:

LUCAS
sword & shield master
ANJALI
elemental magic / melee shape-shifter

REINHART
magic user
KATARINA
long-range huntswoman

This game has some great RPG elements. 
Skills can be upgraded with an easy-to-learn system.  Better weapons, armor, and items are plentiful and are acquired though looting dead enemies, treasure chests, and from item shop vendors.  Each character follows the same overall tale, but the story is personalized to tell how the events have and will affect that character.  Dialog options will appear and will often affect another character's feelings and reactions towards you.  Your choices can also affect events in the game.  Even if you choose a callus or hard-hearted response it never feels like you made the wrong choice.  It feels just as organic to the character and story as if you were to choose a neutral or more positive selection.  I thought the story was pretty well thought out and it was entertaining and had the right level of drama and tension.  I particularly enjoyed the way in which much of the main story was told: with charcoal-type drawings and by a wonderful storyteller.  It was somewhat reminiscent of the storytelling in the Fable series. 

An interesting feature that I haven't been able to delve much into because of the age of the game is the co-op feature.   I did get into a few other players' games and it was pretty fun, however the camera angle becomes locked making it difficult to see exactly where you need to go or treasure chests that might be hiding just out of sight.  It was thoughtful design to make it so that if your partner got too far away or behind, they would be transported to your location.  Co-op was drop in-drop out which was pretty helpful.  Overall I like it, but it was a bit frustrating trying to find a co-op partner.  Local co-op was fun as well. 


 Pros
  • Almost no loading
  • Nice visual effects
  • Decision-based story lines
  • Fantastic storyteller
  • Superb audio
  • No inventory shuffling
  • Plenty of replay value
  • No wrong choices
  • LOOT!
Cons
  • Square-Enix registration doesn't work (at the time of this review)
  • I didn't buy this sooner when more people were online to play Co-op with

The Wrap Up

This game was worth every penny of the almost $12 I paid for it and then some.  One of my biggest complaints is not really being able to play co-op which held the promise of fun adventures.  I absolutely recommend this game to RPG fans and gamers who just like a good story.  With 3 difficulty levels, this is a challenging adventure for most everyone.  Oh, and I definitely recommend playing it with your headphones on.  Even the main menu screen sounds amazing.