Having never played the previous two Dungeon Siege games, I thought I’d give this one a go anyway and overall I must admit it impressed me. It starts off feeling a bit mediocre – the levels are literally a straight line, the character control is strange, and you don’t have any abilities or companions in order to pull off good combat strategies. However, after the first hour or so the game really starts to pick up and only gets better and better from then on.
To begin with, the player gets a choice to play the game with one of the 4 characters. It might seem like a step back considering there’s no character creation feature, but these 4 characters really do cover all of the main archetypes - we have Lucas, who is a paladin-like tank, Anjali, who is pretty much a pyromancer through and through, Katarina, who is a thief-like ranged fighter, and Reinhart, who is a scholar utilising all sorts of arcane sorceries. One of the impressive features of this game is that once you’ve chosen your character, the other 3 characters will become your companions during the game after certain story points. You can only have one companion at a time, but once you have them in your ‘party’ so to speak, you can swap between them at any time outside of combat.
Throughout the game you will level up and learn new abilities. There are only 9 abilities per character, but each of those can then be improved via the use of skills, which mold the said abilities in either of two possible directions. For example Lucas’ shield pummel ability can be given more damage or more chance to knock down the opponents, and so on. And finally, each character also has talents that can be levelled up. These are more like passive abilities, which cause your character to have higher attack, or better defence, or to simply gain more chances of healing upon damaging the enemies, and so on. What’s even better is that as you go through the game, you are choosing skills and talents not only for your character, but also for your companions, making their fighting style more suitable to your liking.
Apart from levelling up and gaining abilities, other standard RPG elements are present too, such as inventory management and having to optimize your gear and that of your companions as you travel through various areas and face various opponents. Although it can be fun finding cool equipment and making your character use it, the whole inventory management can feel like a bit of a drag during the times when your inventory gets full and you need to discard useless items, because we all know, in the world of RPGs, hoarding is one of our favourite hobbies.
The game mostly plays in an isometric perspective, similar to games like Diablo and Titan Quest. The combat mechanics are generally good, although the battles can seem to fluctuate between too easy and too hard at times, since the game doesn’t really feature any potions or other healing items. Any healing you get is either from your abilities or from the orbs that the enemies drop upon getting killed. So in essence, the more aggressive you are in battle, the better are your chances of staying alive, or at least that’s how I found it when playing the game as Lucas. This in turn gives forth some rather challenging boss battles, as you will find yourself fighting for your own survival.
Perhaps what I liked the most about Dungeon Siege III is how well it executes the concept of making your own choices and decisions, and having to experience what happens as a result. A lot of those tend to occur during the dialogues, which take the player to an over-the-shoulder view and add to the immersion. There are plenty of decisions thrown at you throughout the game - some small, others big. The ending itself pretty much includes the outcomes of every decision you’ve made in the game, which should make the player curious as to what would happen had they made other choices.
Overall the game feels fun and engaging. Lots of control is given over your character’s skills, as well as the skills of your party. Additionally, good voice acting and the presence of moral choices make it more than just your typical hack and slash sword and sorcery RPG.
My score: 9/10