Because Dungeon Siege is a title more widely known to PC gamers, odds are you've never heard of this series. The Dungeon Siege games are known to consistently push the envelope when it comes to hack-and-slash, dungeon-crawling gameplay, and the third installment of the epic series makes a valiant attempt to bring the loot-hoarding fun to the HD console generation. However, in doing so, the series has lost its PC identity while becoming a mediocre loot-fest on the consoles.
What's It About?
Dungeon Siege III takes place in the Kingdom of Ehb and puts its focus on the 10th Legion, an infantry that protected the kingdom during the War of Legions. The Kingdom of Ehb soon matched its own monarchy to that of the 10th, and peace has prospered since. However, the kingdom had fallen under attack again under the evil Jeyne Kassynder, and after the death of the king, most of the 10th Legion had also been wiped out.
Only a few groups of the 10th had survived; one of them was Venerable Odo, believed to be the lone survivor of the Legion. However, Odo had also been in contact with the descendants of fellow Legionnaires and in an attempt to rebuild the Legion and re-take the kingdom, Odo intiated a gathering of all the remaining descendants. It's up to these descendants to restore the kingdom to its rightful status.
If you couldn't tell, the game's story is a convoluted mess. The bottom line is that the kingdom is in peril, and in order to save it, players take control of one (or more if you're playing multiplayer) out of four playable characters–each with distinct differences in how they fight. Lucas Montbarron is skilled swordsman, making the hack-and-slash combat more simplistic. Anjali is a magic user who fights with a spear, making her ideal for fending off multiple attackers while being able to dodge most strikes. Reinhart Manx is an arcane magic scholar who actually fights in the frontline, and Katarina is a gunslinger who does all of her work from a distance.
Why Should I Care?
Combat is the pride and joy of Dungeon Siege III and though the gameplay itself can be overly simplistic, there's still something about killing gigantic bosses using only one button that makes everything all the more satisfying. The game's camera can sometimes be a hindrance, though. There have been one too many times where impossible deaths have happened because the camera was either too slow, too fast, or simply at an awkward position. To make matters worse, when playing the game with friends on or offline, the camera gets stubborn because all players have to be in view. That means there can be no lagging for loot and there can be no rushing through areas.
Of course, this is an action RPG, so there has to be some role-playing elements in it, right? Sort of. There's a whole bunch of grinding and loot to collect, but other than that, your role is mainly to choose things your characters should say as it adapts a Choose Your Own Adventure style similar to that of the Mass Effect games. Unfortunately, the dialog scenes are extremely boring and consist of the characters stopping at random areas in Ehb to have pointless chitchat. Nothing remotely dramatic or interesting happens during these scenes, leaving the storytelling component extremely dry. Even the talk of evil is boring. Players should expect a lot of Jeyne Kassynder this and Jeyne Kassynder that, but there isn't a whole lot of detail as to what she actually did except commit murders.
All players will care about is killing and looting, but after the game's over, there won't be much to care about here.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Despite the game's obvious flaws, the game is beyond playable and a lot of fun can be had throughout the main quest. After that, since nothing really differs between the characters other than the way they play, there is absolutely no replay value. On top of the lack of replayability, while the multiplayer is fun, it feels like something that was totally slapped together at the last minute because there pretty much is nothing here to help progression. If you're playing in someone else's game, you can't keep the loot you score, which is unfortunate because that's where most of the pleasure will be had.
The game isn't visually striking, but it's pretty enough on an HDTV to keep your eyes focused. There are plenty of different environments to roam around, and the art direction is actually fairly well done. The details on the characters' faces all look nice, and the spells all showcase the game's good use of lighting. In terms of the sound, while the voice acting isn't bad, it isn't particularly synced well with the accompanying visual detail. The game sounds the way you'd expect it to, but nothing is overly epic.
Dungeon Siege III is an enjoyable experience but only for a short period of time. The short length, simplistic gameplay, and obvious flaws make it hard to recommend at full price, but there is fun to be had. However, if you're someone who has followed Dungeon Siege ever since the release of the first game, you're best advised to skip it. The PC version of the game plays nowhere close to the way an action RPG should, and on top of that, there have been reports that the game has become significantly worse because of mistakes made with the launch day patch. If you have the disposable income, the Xbox 360 version of Dungeon Siege III will give you the most bang for your buck, but again — nobody has any business buying this game at full price.