Dungeon Siege III – Review

Title   Dungeon Siege III
Developer  Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher  Square Enix
Platform  Xbox 360/PS3/PC (Reviewed)
Genre  Action RPG
Release Date  June 17, 2011

The new GLHQ office... we wish

The games industry needs a Naughty Book.  A detailed list of faux pas that every publisher allows a developer to make once in a while, which cause distress to the game’s pre-release following once the title hits store shelves. Were it that such a compendium existed, Obsidian Entertainment would probably have been given their own chapter. That’s not to say that Obsidian are bad developers – far from it – they have a solid track record of producing some pretty big franchises that are generally well received amongst the gaming populace, but they also have a parallel track record of bugged releases and odd gameplay directions. Taking over the development reins for Dungeon Siege’s third instalment, have the team managed to position themselves favourably in a pre-Diablo 3 market or are they still providing the chisel for their impending epitaph of ‘could have done better’?

Having enjoyed the franchise’s first two PC exclusive outings it was, perhaps, inevitable that the only way the series could continue would be if it risked stretching out its legs onto the home consoles. With the recent success of Torchlight and the popular following of the Fable series (a fellow chapter holder in the Naughty Book), the evidence suggests that the console market is happy to support a good romp through a dungeon, providing that the romping isn’t interrupted by any serious thinking. This is, of course, counter to the values of the PC gamer who will have none of this romping business thank you very much as they get quite enough of that away from the keyboard *Snarf Snarf*.

This was never going to go well for the existing fan base, who have spent the better part of their weeks since the game’s release setting fire to any message board that has anything positive to say about it. Dungeon Siege III is not the Action RPG they were looking for, but they refuse to move along, and I can sympathise with their solemn poetry (read: hate filled spam) – but only to a point.

In order to survive the PC/Console symbiosis, the PC gamer will demand that the PC version of a game has to be better, and for no good reason. PC gamers need more control of every aspect of the game, a better and more detailed user interface and a key map that they can print off and use to slap people who dare to offend the sanctity of the mouse and keyboard. Dungeon Siege III has absolutely none of that. The control scheme is an unresponsive mess of scattered keystrokes, awkward Shift+Control+Button combinations and mouse assisted movement that even the elderly would call insulting. The user interface will use mouse-over selection rather than click selection – a broken aspect which sometimes causes any highlighted objects to visually freeze, tricking you into a left click that sells your favourite piece of armour without any confirmation. The camera is locked to an altitude that prevents you from viewing anything greater than twelve foot in front of the character and the multiplayer component of the game will not allow you to take your over-powered level fifty into a random person’s early level game (so that they can be made to admire you and stand in awe of your ability to use external software to jack up your character’s stats).  How very dare you Obsidian Entertainment, how very dare you.

This is not Dungeon Siege III and in the index of the Naughty Book, you’ll note that its first mistake was to pretend that it was. This is Dungeon Siege 2.0 and the sooner you make that adjustment in your minds, the sooner you will begin your love affair with this vibrant hack, slash and cast adventure.  Any PC users entering into this rebirth of the Dungeon Siege series, with or without any experience of the franchise so far, will need to bring two things with them: a 360 gamepad and a friend who also has a gamepad (and even the friend is optional). I played through the first few hours of the game, making use of the default control scheme with my trusty mouse and keyboard and it was, without question, one of the most painful experiences I’ve subjected myself to in both a physical and mental capacity, as I struggled to remember what buttons I was supposed to be pressing and then died a lot as a consequence.

After expiring for the fiftieth time, I conceded that perhaps this was a PC game after all and that the ‘Normal’ difficulty had been ramped up to somehow remind that intolerant clot of gaming culture that they are somehow better than the console masses. I went looking in the options for a way of turning down the difficulty and sitting there quietly in the corner of the menu was the radial to enable a gamepad. I lunged for my white 360 pad (reserved exclusively for the task of PC Gaming) and hammered it to life, granting me instant access to a stress free avenue that would change my experience.  I was floating on a summer’s breeze from fight to fight, dancing elegantly between my foes and leaving nought but loot-less corpses in my wake. This was a revolution and an injustice to all that torture I’d sat through before – so I started again.

Yoda caught moonlighting... Jedi Council unhappy

Dungeon Siege III breaks you in gently with a mournfully narrated recent history of the Kingdom of Ehb, beautifully depicted by a slideshow of ink on parchment styled drawings, which require no previous experience of the series to enjoy. A revolution of the land has seen the Lady Jane Kassynder lead a rebellion against the status quo of a monarchy propped up by ‘The Legion’ – a guild of heroes and Magisters that have kept the peace throughout the Kingdom. Thirty years prior to the game’s opening, the much loved King of Ehb was murdered and the Legion were cast as the aggressors behind the regicide, giving Kassynder all the reason she needed to wipe the Legion from the land. You play as one of the last surviving descendants of Legion blood, summoned together by the last remaining member of the Tenth Legion to reinstate the group’s reputation and thwart Kassynder’s crusade for power.

Your first act as a loyal servant of the crown is to decide who to play as. Following the prelude, the game presents you with a selection of four noble heroines and heroes of varied talents and skills. As you may guess, the game provides a Warrior, Mage, Ranger and a supportive Hybrid, all of varying talents that will best suit your personal play style. Each character is presented with a succinct back story which details their origins and what you can expect from them as they advance in levels. Lucas Montbarron leads the charge as the game’s heroic Knight with a sword in one hand and shield in the other, while Reinheart Manx stands at the opposite end of the spectrum as the Mage, able to cast devastating direct and area of effect spells. Standing just over his shoulder is Katarina, the ranged rifles expert who intends to kill anything before it gets close enough to attack, and the go between of all of the characters for the truly indecisive is Anjali, a servant to long departed gods who is able to shift between a human and an Elemental form.

None of the characters are especially stand out from anything other than personal preference, so if you prefer to stand as far back as humanly possible and unleash hell from afar, you’ll tend to lean towards Katarina and Reinheart, just as would you go straight for Lucas if your preference is to get right into the thick of things. Anjali is something of a wildcard, able to hold her own in melee combat and provide excellent support from the back, but all providing that you’re willing to invest a little extra time to better understand her abilities or have a co-op buddy to support you.

Each of the characters are then able to change it up, with the game providing second combat stances such as Lucas swapping out his lightning fast sword and shield combination for a slower but harder hitting Greatsword, Katarina holstering her rifle in favour of a pistol and shotgun combination for hectic close range combat, and Anjali able to change from a levitating Demon of fire, back to an acrobatic, staff-wielding warrior. Perhaps the most surprising choices appear in Reinheart, whose default attack stance is a lightning imbued melee, switching to a fairly limited ranged attack which fails to cast far enough ahead of the player to reach any distant enemies, and won’t actually cause any ill effects to those foes chewing on your chest armour. It’s an odd design decision, since the very last person you want to put in the middle of a fight and hope will survive is the Mage, but Obsidian seem to think that makes sense (see Naughty Book for more information).

Each stance provides access to three special abilities, drawing from a casting bar, which starts and ends the game at a total capacity of 100/100. The Warrior has as much access to magic as the Mage and the cost of using abilities varies only on the strength of the abilities themselves, meaning that Lucas is as able to cast as many of his first unlocked special ability as Reinheart before needing to replenish his Mana. It creates a particularly unbalanced experience for players such as myself who enjoying playing as magic users, as the game will be especially cruel to you in the beginning until you’re able to unlock new skills. By the end of the game, Reinheart will become one of the strongest characters, able to unleash the most damage per second by a long stretch, though it’s a struggle to reach those heights without learning a few tricks of the game that you can exploit to ensure you survive that far.

Standard attacks in either stance replenish your magic bar and operate on unchanging 1-2-3 combos, which are achieved by mashing the ‘A’ button on your pad, dealing just enough damage to keep the fights an even match, but encouraging you to fire off some of your abilities in order to tip things in your favour. Building upon that are enhanced attacks, accessible once you have absorbed enough damage or killed enough enemies to charge a small orb (to the right of your character portrait), which will enable to you to deliver a unique and powerful attack to upgrade your arsenal with. These orbs also act as the currency for utilising the game’s Defensive Stance abilities – a poor choice of name – that allows Square Enix to celebrate the ability to switch between three combat stances (in the blurb on the back of the case), when, in actuality, all you’re doing is holding block and then pressing to cast a heal from a static position.

Defensive Stance is probably one of the weakest aspects of combat, with only one defensive ability un-lockable per tier of the game’s three tier levelling system, requiring you to reach the much later sections of the game in order to have access to anything other than heal. For the bonuses they offer, the orbs are better spent used in offense rather than defence, as a heal that will only recover 50% of your total HP over a thirty second period is about as much help as kick in the Mivonks when you’re involved in a 12:1 battle. The later unlocked abilities, usually comprised of a damage absorbing shield and a mana regeneration tool, are better, but their late appearance in the game, coupled with how few times you’re likely to make use of the heal, will simply mean that you’ll just forget that they’re even there.

The final feature of Dungeon Siege’s combat system is Mastery. This was the original, defining element of the series’ gameplay all those years ago which governed how your character progressed. The system previously operated by levelling you up in areas you were observed to use most, with each character acting as a generic template for you to build upon according to your play style. For example, anyone picking up a bow at the first opportunity and sticking with it for the most part of the game would become a far more proficient user of it than someone attempting to switch from swords to bows at that same stage. For Dungeon Siege III, Mastery is simply a bar that fills up the more you use your magic abilities, which, when filled, will give you access to an enhanced version of the ability at a cost of two orbs. Playing as Reinheart, I was very much looking forward to the upgrade for my Lightning Strike, changing the attack from a single bolt, which would only affect one target, to a ball of lightning that would inflict equal damage to those it passed through as it sailed on to my target.

I was very much looking forward to entering combat with a horde of enemies, targeting the casters or ranged attackers at the back and unleashing this ability which took some thirteen to fifteen levels of constant use to unlock, expecting it annihilate the melee combatants that would charge straight for me as it passed through. On usage, I actually discovered that the ball was nowhere near as grand as I was hoping for; the ball of lightning was no bigger than a tennis ball, which travelled at a similar speed to Federer’s first serve. I had tricked myself into believing that this much of an investment into using just one ability (when I should have spent my mana casting other things) was going to provide me with some electric boulder of wanton destruction and my reward was nowhere near that expectation. Ignoring the failure in application of the spell, the damage improvement was probably only a third greater than that of its default version which I was able to cast quicker and more often. I parted ways with the Mastery system shortly after this discovery and, as with the Defensive Stance, I forgot that it was there. In the final battles of the game, I found myself giving it a second chance, only to notice that I had unlocked a second mastery with another ability which the game had decided I wouldn’t want to know about, unlike the full screen tooltip it prompted in the first instance. Cheers for that.

Ignoring my complaints about the progression of the combat system, battles are, for the most part, incredibly fun (which is all that should really matter). You’ll rarely travel more than a hundred yards through a forest, swamp, cave, tomb, factory, arctic tundra, abandoned mansion, or indeed, a dungeon, without encountering a mob of enemies, three or four of whom you’ll deal with before the fight begins, and two more who will wish they were the first to die, having stood at the back firing in bullets, arrows, bombs and magic – all of which has helped supply your orbs with enough energy to deliver a good ol’ smiting. Health regeneration can be an issue unless you find some gear that stacks up some Chaos: Vampire that will allow you to replenish your health with standard attacks, or if you are fortunate enough for your fallen enemies to leave behind floating green orbs, they can be used to recover anywhere from ten to a few hundred hit points. Outside of combat, you would hope that the health bar would slowly replenish on its own… it won’t, and without any potions to call upon or any remaining orbs (that you likely used to get you out of a tough scrap with a final, fatal blow), it won’t be an uncommon occurrence for you to wander from battle to battle with next to no health at all.

In the early stages of the game, that can be a massive problem as death will require you to load your last save. While save points are plentiful, there are no autosave features except for the major boss battles, which crop up once every three or four hours. Every time you run past the golden glow of a save point, you’re going to want to take the time to stand in its beam, press ‘RB’ to open up the save menu, wait for it to show you your save files, save the game over the top of your last one, confirm that you want to overwrite and then back out again. For PC users, you also gain the ability to Steam save, something which is an entirely automatic process for every other game that uses Steam saves… but for Dungeon Siege 3 it will require you to press ‘RB’ to open the save menu, wait for it to show you your files, press ‘Y’ to access your Steam saves, wait for it to show your save files…

You will literally kick yourself when you enter the mindset that you can’t be bothered to be doing this every five minutes, only to die half an hour later and Alt+F4 clean out of the game in a rage quit because the game couldn’t even autosave when you ran past one. Perhaps we’re just living in a spoilt generation where we’re used to that sort of thing and that’s an argument for another day, but all of these complaints I’ve listed so far are beginning – I hope – to show you how it is that Obsidian have earned their place in the Naughty Book.

Once you progress far enough to meet your first companion (providing you haven’t been playing Co-Op so far), the game becomes a little kinder, allowing you to fall in combat and be revived mid or post fight by the AI. On the first occasion I read that tooltip when I first fell in battle, I was thoroughly expecting that the inevitable reload was simply being frustratingly delayed. Surprisingly, the AI proves to be most competent, both in combat and in coming to your aid when required. Ensuring that Anjali is your chosen party member pretty much guarantees your survival as she comes to stand with you to cast her Cauterise healing spell, taking the videogame problem of unhelpful placeholder AI and kicking it to the kerb. Whenever I did fall in combat, the AI seemed to make a judgement call on the spot to either stand and fight the last of the remaining enemies, or throw caution to the wind and charge in with the hope that it can revive you without taking damage or being interrupted. Even when they appear to have made the wrong call, they will eventually realise it and abandon that plan in favour of trying their luck with the other course of action, and I was genuinely surprised to find myself pleased at just how competent the AI was.

I also found it refreshing to play an RPG where the only penalty for death was reloading, which, providing you’re willing to save the game at every opportunity, was not so bad. If an enemy was killed while I lay dead, I still received the XP for it, never losing any XP or gold on death or revival, or with any impairment to my attributes or equipment. There were the occasional times I was crying out for the AI to come and rescue me as a slow, lumbering, lone enemy was constantly kept at arm’s reach by the AI who was in no immediate danger, but was just taking their sweet time to kill it while I lay there knowing that I could polish it off in one clean shot. It would have been good in these circumstances to have a ‘Come to my aid’ button, but these occurances honestly weren’t all that frequent, so it’s understandable that this is fantasy rather than fact.

On the note of XP, levelling up is a fairly generic and even pseudo-attained process with no extra or less XP awarded based on difficulty, and with few avenues to grind any additional XP. Characters will have reached particular brackets of levels by the time they reach certain milestones in the story, depending on whether they ignore side quests, of which there are few and are always on the same road the game intends for you to travel.  Not only that, but they are near impossible to turn down once you encounter anything to do with them.

Once you have filled the XP bar that runs around the inner circle of your character portrait, the game will wait for you to leave combat before automatically presenting you with the levelling up screen. Every level will award you with one point to spend on abilities, further enhancing your unlocked spells, and one point to spend on talents that will either boost your character’s core stats or add in extra little enhancements to core abilities, such as blocking, dodging and the standard attacks.

For the enhancements to your unlocked abilities, each skill will present you with two options which help tailor the skills to your style. Reinheart’s Lightning Strike for example can be upgraded either by increasing the chance for the bolt to jump to a second target, or by adding in a stun effect, which will affect both the target and those around it. Each ability can be enhanced five times, which you are free to spread between both of the choices should you wish, or simply to throw all into one. At pre-set levels, you will gain the opportunity to select a new power in the previously mentioned three tier system, which are then passed on to the enhancements screen, with one ability per stance unlockable on each tier.  This sadly means that the game will require you to unlock each ability before gaining access to the later tiers, which begs you to ask why they didn’t just give you the abilities given that your choice is restricted down to 2/3 once you have selected that first spell to 1/3 when you are next able to.

Customisation for your character is almost non-existent in the levelling system and doubly so with your gear.  Each character has a restricted pool of kit from which they can pick, meaning that trousers are not a universal thing and neither are your hats. It’s not a system tied into the likes of cloth, leather and plate, instead, simply relying on giving each character their own tailored inventory. There aren’t even any restrictions placed on gear in terms of stats, levels, or proficiency so there are no questions on whether or not you can use it, only whether or not you should.  Even then, there are few distinctions that can be drawn between characters at this stage as every stat is just as useful to one character as it is the next. You would assume that stacking up the Mage with as much +Will and +Stamina as you can is in your interest, under the assumption that +Agility and +Attack are of no use to a magic user. With this example in mind, Will does not govern mana regeneration nor increase the non-movable total of available mana, it only increases how much damage you do with your special abilities. That your standard attacks are magic imbued is completely irrelevant, as you will only be able to up those numbers if you throw in a little +Attack. Want to land some critical hits with your magic abilities for truly devastating attacks? You’ll be needing some Agility for that, which will not improve your ability to dodge or increase your speed in case you were wondering.

It ultimately boils down to personal preference, as you can get by in Dungeon Siege 3 with wearing whatever the game sticks at the top of your pile. However, for those who wish to invest some thought into it, the game will show you the most important details in the inventory screen, allowing you see the difference between armour and weapons and informing you on how that effects your attack and ability DPS, which is all that really matters in Dungeon Siege. If you are happy to stack up a ridiculous ton of Armour and Stamina you can do that – just know that fights will be longer and you won’t be dealing much damage.  If, like me, you have confidence in your AI partner, feel free to stack up as much damage enhancing armour as you like and become the equivalent of Ehb Al Qaeda, running in to every fight knowing that you’re going to die, but that you were going to take everyone else with you too.

Sadly, there are no pearlescent trophy loots to go chasing after, or any loot that will give Legend of Zelda style ‘thrust-above-your head’ moments when you find them. Gear improves through the course of the game, and you’ll be switching things around every level or so and spending tons of gold in the stores to buy the best equipment.  This means that you’ll never grow too fond of anything or proud of that one piece of special equipment. What I found to be most disheartening about this system appeared at the end of the game, with a street vendor selling the very best equipment in the game that sucked all of the fun out of looting in Dungeon Siege’s final chapter.

There’s also an odd addition in the form of Transmuting. In case you ever find yourself wanting to clean up your limitless inventory, all of your items can instantly be turned into a fraction of their cash value at the tap of a button on the never occurring chance that you find yourself needing gold when away from the towns. Transmuting will not provide you with any materials or enhancements with which to improve your existing equipment, and I really cannot fathom quite what Obsidian were going for when they slotted this feature in. You will never hear or read the words “inventory is full” so quite why they thought you’d be willing to transform your unwanted items into a paltry sum of gold out of nothing more than impatience is completely beyond me.

Story wise, the game will not impress too much upon you, nor will it impress you much with that which it does deliver over its thirteen or so hours worth of campaign. It’s your typical fantasy story of the evil in the land which needs to be removed, uncovering the mysteries surrounding it and making a few friends along the way. Dungeon Siege does try to shake that up by throwing some moral choices at you every now and again, none of which require you to have followed any particular alignment, or will cause you to grow horns or have to put up with songbirds chirping around your ears. The game will simply present the information to you, ask you to make a decision and then live with it. Only in the closing credits are those decisions put into any context and with no major impact upon you, given that there is no open world to return to after the credits have rolled. It’s an enjoyable story though and the best of the series so far; characters are likeable, even if they are a little on the shallow side, but for an action RPG, it treads a comfortable balance between how much you want to know and how much you like to stab things in the face.

Visually Dungeon Siege III is a vibrant affair with plenty of bright colours flying around as you get stuck in with the combat, helping to spruce up the limitations of the colour palettes of caves and tombs. Lighting receives a massive thumbs up, with the darkest of environments providing the biggest treat as shadows dance around a pool of light from a burning torch and treasure chests emit a wondrous glow as they’re slowly prised open. Animations are smooth and fluid, though facial expressions during conversations are fairly static, making you wonder why they invested so much time creating a new conversation wheel for the game, given that you’re not really getting anything visual back from it. It’s clear that they’ve tried to emulate the Mass Effect series during these sections, but the camera will never switch from over your shoulder looking across at the person you’re talking to, and the only physical interaction the characters provide is a shrug of the shoulders or a wave of the hand.

On the note of conversation, audio is satisfactory which is as much of a compliment as can be given seeing as the genre has a track record of over acting and stereotyped character voices. The scripting is certainly better than the voice acting with a great sense of humour flowing through the game for those that like to choose the cheekiest of dialogue options, and there are sections that are more than capable of providing a laugh. On the musical side of things, don’t hold your breath for a score as epic as the adventure as it’s just not there. I have nothing bad to say about the score, however, as it will happily sit just under the sounds of clashing swords and booming gun shots to provide a satisfactory tempo for the current mood of the game. A nine to five, Monday to Friday soundtrack if ever there was one.

Technically the game does nothing to disappoint either. The game loads once in a blue moon and remains persistent for hours on end so that you’ll forget there even is such a thing as loading. I never once encountered a crash, bug or game crippling glitch in my twenty or so hours of gameplay, nor felt cheated by the game’s mechanics. The previously mentioned problem with the save system is an annoyance and there are other examples of things which could grate your biscuit, but to highlight them is to nitpick what is otherwise a generally enjoyable experience.

My final point for discussion is the multiplayer, something which I’m sure that Square Enix would have liked me to spend more time talking about, given that it’s a selling point for the game that it allows up to four players to connect to the ‘drop in’ multiplayer and really amp things up. Sadly, that part of the code was not made available to me and I was restricted to local Co-Op, which I didn’t even know was possible until I happened to turn on the wrong Xbox pad and press Start. On doing so I was able to select from the remaining three companions and take control of them with no need to establish my own profile or assign my own save file.

This is again one of the major irks for the PC gamers who were expecting a little more than couch Co-Op for their superior gaming machine. If you’ve played Fable II, you’ll know the sort of experience I’m referring to, though if you managed to miss that, think back to Sonic 2. Yes, you can play with your friends, online and locally. Yes, you can drop in to a friend’s game at any stage and not have to worry about being too high or low in levels to contribute. But no, you cannot leave the confines of Player ones screens (even online) and no, you cannot take your things with you when you leave.

Personally, I don’t much see the problem as the action RPG is built around having fun, killing monsters and looting chests with none of the boring bits tagged on. There’s also a little scaremongering going on between the PC community with this, as whilst you may be unable to transfer anything in or out, what you achieve in the game remains in the game. If I were to play with my partner in science for a few hours and then return the next day, we won’t have lost anything. Were it that the game was local to me and I had continued on without him, when he rejoined he might find that he had a few talent points and ability points to spend, but all of the things relevant to the character he was playing as would be exactly as they were.

The biggest complaint is that of the camera in multiplayer mode, which the game is otherwise happy for you to control with the right stick in single player, but will take that privilege away from you in multiplayer in favour of trying to make sure each and every player is visible at all times. While I wasn’t able to experience it for myself, a quick search of YouTube revelaed that it was clear there is a pretty big issue to address here with four players on the one screen. With two of the characters most effective at ranged, a third most useful in the thick of things and a forth able to go either which way, the camera simply can’t cope at being stretched to accommodate them all, and it will begin to jerk, shake and twist quite violently. There are users who report that this makes them quite sick, whereas most will simply say that it’s just a headache not worth having and subsequently never let it get that far. Even if you’re on my side of the fence regarding a good, fun, casual multiplayer experience, don’t hold your breath that Dungeon Siege 3 is going to let you have that.

  • Vibrant visuals that are easy on the eyes
  • A campaign long enough to please that won’t outstay its welcome
  • Four fun characters who help to vary the experience
  • Controls are well mapped and responsive – for gamepad users
  • An enjoyable hack and slash experience that won’t ask for more than you’re willing to give
  • Limited camera control which prevents the game's visuals from really shining
  • The default key mapping is appalling and you will need a gamepad to enjoy this
  • An ultimately linear experience masquerading as something more
  • Carries the trademark of Obsidian: ‘Could have done better’
  • Not the Dungeon Siege you are looking for

Dungeon Siege III shoots itself in the foot with the starting gun and consequently struggles to get off the mark. It's garnering a lot of negative attention and not all of it is unwarranted. Anyone picking this up on PC is going to struggle to get along with it unless they have the benefit of a friend to show them the light and stick a gamepad in their hands; if they are also able to stick around and play it through with them, they’re actually going to get a lot out of this one.

Of course, PC users don’t lend themselves to having a comfortable environment to play these sorts of games in. Dungeon Siege III was always going to be a game made for the console and the couch and when you measure it by those standards, it’s got a lot more going for it. The game is fun and easy to stick on for a few hours at a time before switching to something else without so much as a second thought. It won’t let you down in any way that will make you question having paid out for it and will serve as a great first game for dungeon crawling, action RPG virgins, hopefully helping them approach the summer release of Torchlight 2 with welcome arms, or Google for Diablo 3’s release date - only to find the words ‘When it’s ready’.

Sadly, both of those games are going to do this job to a higher standard and, given Obsidian's work on some of the most well known franchises in the business, you have to question how it is that a much smaller studio will go on to blow this one clean out of the water, and a PC legend will manage to walk the very same line with such ease, should they finally commit to bringing Diablo to the console market.

I will simply ask that you be kind and fair to Dungeon Siege III should you choose to pick it up. I have higher expectations for a forth if Obsidian are given a second stab at it, though I thoroughly expect that they’ve gone and blown that chance with less than 15,000 having picked it up if Steam stats are to be believed. Hopefully the game will have performed better on consoles and future patches will take right of way over the planned DLC to fix the less than satisfactory multiplayer experience. But then, rainbows might start raining money and pigs might start doing things we assume that they can’t actually do.

Last five articles by Adam



  1. Chris Toffer says:


    Excellent review mate. I was in two minds about this, but I think your review has settled my mind. I’ll hang onto the cash.

    Great read dude.

  2. Ric Ric says:

    My word, that was a long review! Highly informative and very entertaining though, think I agree with Toffer on this one, my money’s staying in my wallet.

    Shame really, it had some promise.

  3. Richie rich says:

    More effort went into this review than went into the game from what I can tell!

  4. Edward Edward says:

    This is one of the most detailed and in-depth reviews I’ve read in a long while, Adam!
    I was never interested in the game, and from what you’ve said of the sales stats, neither were a lot of people, but it’s a shame that it’s simply not as up to scratch as it could have been, considering how good the company can be at delivering amazing gaming experiences.

  5. Ben Ben says:

    Multiplayer Dungeon Siege is such a fond memory of mine, those days seem long gone though :(

  6. Kat says:

    I just wanted to add a note here for future reference when I sue you for damage done to my right thumb. Made the mistake of looking at this on my iphone, my thumb has never flicked so much in it’s poor life ;P x

  7. Ian Austin says:

    I was expecting more from Dungeon Seige. I guess having open sandbox games have skewed my opinion of linear games. The game was super easy and there was no real challenge. I totally agree with this review.

  8. Samuel Samuel says:

    I’m afraid I’ve come to rest rather firmly in the “against” camp of fans of the first two games. I was really excited about the game and managed to avoid spoilers or details beyond the minimum so that I could fully enjoy it, and as a result, missed seeing a lot of the pre-release opprobrium being aimed towards the game.

    Having spent some time with it now, I can say in all fairness I’m disappointed. There are design flaws riddled throughout, and it just doesn’t feel right. Dragon Age Origins proved that a PC style RPG can make it onto a console and sell (the graphics were terrible on the console ports, but the gameplay was relatively unscathed), so this feels a bit dumbed down. If Dragon Age can do it, then Dungeon Siege surely could, with it’s greater heritage and storied reputation. Forcing the game to be focused on consoles at the expense of PC gamers seems to miss the point.

    Hack and slash dungeon crawlers that don’t require much thought and don’t offer much of a story (the story here is weak and clichéd to the point of being at times something like parody) have a place and I can enjoy them. But it’s not what I expect from Dungeon Siege.

    Also, the PC controls are horrendous. I don’t use a pad on a PC if I can absolutely help it, I’m a traditionalist mouse and keyboard player, and this game isn’t having none of it.

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