Dungeon Siege III

by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 75/100

Dungeon Siege III Review
Publisher: Squire Enix
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Format Reviewed: Playstation 3
Reviewed By: Wencke Schuncken

Squire Enix and Role Playing Games, a perfect match, proven multiple times in the past. Now Dungeon Siege III is available for all the fans that love to build up characters, have the patience and fulfillment of a decent game story, enjoys slaughtering enemies for a good cause and improving skills, experience and earn bonus material. Come along!

Thirty years before the game's setting, Jeyne Kassynder rallied the people of the eastern Ehb kingdom and the Azunite Church against the Legion who she blamed for the death of the king (her father). Following a long and brutal campaign, she managed to kill the entire remnant of the Legion in a battle in the Rukkenvahl Forest and the royalist army of young Queen Roslyn has been driven deep into the mines of Glitterdelve, losing almost all of their power. A small group of legionaries remained, lead by a man calling himself the Venerable Odo, a former Legion spy. He kept descendants of the Legion safe from Jeyne Kassynder and called them to meet in order to regroup the Legion. With a cooperation together with royalist soldiers and “Meisters” (people that controlled the city of Stormbridge) the Legion starts its mission to deal with Jeyne once and for all.

Dungeon Siege III is an action role-playing game with elements of the hack and slash and dungeon crawl genres. Don't be fooled that most of the story mode and actions takes place in dark, depressing dungeons. Of course lots of action going on in underground passages, crypts and dungeon like areas, but there are enough takes and gameplay above ground level. And more importantly there is enough action to keep you busy for a couple of hours. Start fighting the living dead, bandits, spiders, goblins and even robots (which was quite unexpected to these in this game).

You kick off with one character, but as soon as you've finished some quests, another character teams up / joins the party. It is important that not only your character is fully equipped with the best weapons, clothing and accessories, but also your team mate. All of these items can be purchased with coins gathered by conquering enemies and doing good deeds for all kinds of people. Of course you can purchase all kinds of items in stores, but it's cheaper to gather everything you can get your hands on during your adventure. Explore all areas to find treasure chests and coffins that contain useful items and coins. Even fallen soldiers / corpses still have items on them. If you think that bookcases are dull and dusty places, change your mind as they not only contain useful items and coins but also short background information / stories that contribute to the overall story. And while wielding a sword, who isn't tempted to break pots and barrels to see if they are hiding something useful.

But there's a downside on collecting items. Picking up coins is easy, just let your character walk over it and it will be in your pocket automatically, This also counts for your party member although they seem to take their time to do so. But items such as clothing, armory and accessories can only be picked up by using the R1 button, and only when the inventory isn't full, which most of the time I experienced. All kinds of items can be collected even if your main character cannot use / equip them. Party-members always can use some of the other items, so don't sell too many to clear up our inventory. Some could be useful at a later stage. Checking out the inventory and equipping the characters was a huge activity while playing Dungeon Siege, I couldn't get enough of equipping them the best possible way to deal with any enemy. And if not satisfied, there's always a salesman around to buy and sell items.

While hacking and slashing your way during the game, the characters can earn all kind of points to level up. Earn Ability Points, Proficiency Points and Talent Points and spend these to improve your character in different ways:
These are new actions that your character can take. There are nine abilities to learn and can be pre-set in one of your buttons for instant action.
These are upgrades for your abilities. Your character can customize the effects of your abilities to suit your play style.
These are general improvements to your character and are not restricted to specific abilities. There are three tiers of Talents in total.
And that's not all folks! By doing side-quests you can earn deeds, which are useful for your characters. Some deeds give extra stamina, experience, will and other important upgrades. It´s all about character creation!

Although there's the main quest to achieve, multiple side-quests can be accepted. It's a fun way to explore the game even more and extends the gameplay of course. Help citizens by tracking down relatives, gather special items from a crypt, make sure goods can be delivered again to town, and so on. Exploring the land and finding a way to solve the quests can be quite time consuming. But there's a little glowing helpful tool installed to help out. Just as in Fable, a glowing path can be followed when selected. This will save a lot of time, especially if you have such worse orientation mode as this reviewer.

From a female point of view this game contains powerful female playable and in-game characters. The ratio of female / male playable characters is 50 / 50. The most impressive and important in-game character to the story is Jeyne Kassynder. She is the daughter of the king, whose death lead to the downfall of the Legion, and an archon. Growing up as an orphan in the Azunite Church, she rallied the Church behind her after her father's death and led a crusade against both the half-siblings and the Legion.

Anjali and Katarina are playable characters. Choose one as your main playable character or team up later in game. let's take a closer look at these female characters.
Anjali is a playble character. She is an archon – a legend, come to life. In the old stories, archons were spirits of fire, who served the long-lost creator gods. But Anjali was raised by friends of the Legion, and she doesn't know how she came to this world, or what happened to the others of her kind. She can shift freely between her human form and an incarnation of elemental fire. In human form she fights with a staff or a spear, allowing her to fend off multiple attacks while leaping in and out of the fray. In her fiery incarnation, she can hurl bolts of flame at ranged targets, flood areas with heat and fire, or inflict searing wounds that injure her foes over time.

Katarina is the visual clone of Angelina Jolie, no doubt about that. She is the illegitimate daughter of Hugh Montbarron – the former Grand Master of the Legion – and a Lescanzi witch. Also known as a half-blood girl. Her mother's people are nomads and wanderers, distrusted by many people, but they are skilled in both warfare and magic, and Katarina has been trained in both of them. Katarina takes a thoroughly practical approach to conflict resolution; Stay out of sword's reach, and settle your problems with firearms. With her rifle in hand, she can fell distant foes, and even the most resilient enemy can be brought down by her bullets and curses. When forced into close combat, Katarina uses sorcery and a pair of short-rang side arms to repel attackers.

Dungeon Siege III isn't an impressing RPG at first, but any fan of this genre is going to be tempted to solve quest after quest, creating characters with certain abilities, trying to reveal the story behind it, making history. The graphics are a bit disappointing especially as it is a Squire Enix production after all (yes, they've spoiled us in the past, and we adapt quickly to stunning design / graphics). This also counts for the length of the game, especially when played with fellow gamers (a total of 4 allowed). Even if you successfully achieve all side-quests, it will be all over in less than 15 hours. But that´s okay for a game release in the summer as there are more activities to do, perhaps even outside. Nevertheless a good game with quest- hack & slash, character creation, collecting addictive gameplay and some fabulous female influence.