Jahanzeb Khan
29 Jan, 2011

Dungeon Siege III Preview

PC Preview | Obsidian brings Dungeon Siege back in style.
Obsidian Entertainment has built up quite a reputation as one of the key and respected developers of role playing games. They've been behind some very successful RPGs of the past decade, such as Star Wars: Knights of the of Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2 and more recently the highly impressive Fallout: New Vegas. Interestingly enough, they were also behind Sega’s espionage RPG project Alpha Protocol, which was met with a very mixed reception. In 2011, Obsidian Entertainment looks to bring back the Dungeon Siege RPG franchise in a big way, in the form of Dungeon Siege III. The orginal creator of the franchise, Chris Taylor, will be serving as an advisor to the project. PALGN was recently invited to test an early build of the game and today we share our experience.

Like the previous entries in the series, Dungeon Siege III will take place in the Kingdom of Ehb with the lore and inhabitants remaining largely the same. The opening cinematic we saw told a story about two warring kingdoms and the bloody history between them. The plot is your typical tale of two kingdoms with the events of the game taking place during a major turning point of the epic saga. The build we played started off with us taking control of a young human warrior who finds his family estate set on fire and under attack by enemy troops. As he goes inside to fight off the ruffians he finds a survivor, and together they set out seeking answers and searching for other survivors who were able to escape the cruel and unprovoked attack.

Dungeon Siege III is an action RPG that features a hack n’ slash style of gameplay as opposed to a highly strategic and menu driven style of gameplay found in most RPGs today. It gives the game quite the old school Gauntlet feel where the battle system is far more hands on than your typical modern Western RPG. We were able to dish out melee combos using two different combat stances, block and dodge attacks and basically have full control over our character during battle. It’s a nice change from the usual ‘dice roll’ mechanic of games like Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age, which is largely driven by random luck. We quite enjoyed the combat system of the game as it has quite the old school feel, where pure gaming skill matters more than cycling through menus and taking your time with stratergising. At the end of the build we encountered a witch who served as a boss, and to defeat her we had to study the pattern of her main fireball attack and dodge it properly, showcasing the kind of hands-on action driven combat experience that isn’t common in RPGs anymore.

Bah! The odds are in my favour!!

Bah! The odds are in my favour!!
While we haven’t had the chance to explore the various classes and skill sets, we did however get a brief look at the character building system of Dungeon Siege III. The two main areas of interest are ‘Abilities’ and ‘Talents’. Abilities grant special moves that can be used with a press of a button during battle and during the demo we were able to try a simple but effective shield bash move. Talents are more inherent skills that enhance certain stats such as attack, defense etc.

The build we played allowed us to take a good long stroll into the in-game world where we explored a castle, village, forest and cave. The areas were populated with enemies, treasure chests and NPCs that we could converse with. Apart from the main story mission, we were also able to engage in a side quest for an elderly widow. The usual RPG elements seem to be in place but what struck as particularly interesting was the conversation system, as it seems to take a page out of Mass Effect and Dragon Age, giving players a variety of different responses and choices.

BioWare, you better watch out for Obsidian!

BioWare, you better watch out for Obsidian!
Even though we were playing an extremely early build of the game, we were quite pleased with the quality of the graphics. Dungeon Siege III is being powered by the Onyx engine, and the results so far are very impressive. The lighting and particle effects in particular stand out and the texture work of the environments (especially the cave) are quite detailed too. It’s certainly impressive that the game looks so good early on and we can expect the final build to be something spectacular.

We quite enjoyed our time with Dungeon Siege III and see a lot of potential in it. The game could very well end up being a solid RPG and we really think fans of the genre should keep an eye on it and see how it comes along, especially considering the talented team working on it. Even with games like Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3 and Lord knows how many Final Fantasy XIII titles, it’s nice that there is something a little different for fans of the genre to look forward to.
Dungeon Siege III looks to be a welcome addition to the already intense RPG lineup of 2011, and we certainly have high hopes for it. Keep an eye out for what could be a surprised RPG hit of 2011.

Related Dungeon Siege III Content

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3 years ago
Obsidian = No buy
3 years ago
Nietzsche wrote
Obsidian = No buy until after 1gb of patches released
Fixed for my opinion.
3 years ago
Looks to be a blurry, bloomy mess =(
3 years ago
^these press-release screenshots are not doing the game justice... at all. It looked so much better in motion when I played it.
3 years ago
Jahanzeb wrote
It’s a nice change from the usual ‘dice roll’ mechanic of games like Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age, which is largely driven by random luck.
but both of those games (at least bg2 did, admittedly i never played the first bg) had a real time option where you weren't picking things from a menu? seems like a strange point to use as a difference.
3 years ago
^ I meant how things like dodging a spell, landing a finishing blow etc usually happens at random in those RPGs, which is why I said "dice roll".
3 years ago
They better get it out before Diablo III or they'll have no chance. I didn't play DS2, but really enjoyed DS1.
3 years ago
Luck isn't the way I would describe DA or BG combat. But this does seem more like a action RPG. Mostly because of the action dodge.
3 years ago
throttle wrote
They better get it out before Diablo III or they'll have no chance. I didn't play DS2, but really enjoyed DS1.
Unless they win the dice roll.
3 years ago
Oh I see what you did there icon_razz.gif
3 years ago
I'll be keeping an eye on this release. DS1 was alright but DS2 was a disappointment. It's true that while Obsidian release buggy games (initially), they are usually gems. Here's hoping DS3 doesn't let me down.
3 years ago
Need better screenshots.. can't see any of the atmosphere of the game at all. I also really enjoyed DS1.. for the atmosphere the game had, if nothing else.. will wait to see how it turns out before making any decisions.
3 years ago
I'm curious as to why you didn't mention Diablo and it's ilk for comparisons in the review. Wouldn't it give people a better understanding of the game with such things as combat by comparing it to Diablo as opposed to saying it's different to BG and DA? From what you wrote it still sounds like a Diablo-clone, just like the previous two DS games.
3 years ago
DS2 was alot faster paced than either of the Diablo 1 or 2 games.
I loved the Diablo games, but I also really enjoyed playing DS2 with a mate coop and the same with Titan Quest and Immortal Throne. All very similar style games with Diablo and Titan Quest being a little more indepth in the class systems. No reason you can't enjoy all of them be it a clone or not.
3 years ago
Dungeon Siege and Diablo are two entirely different beasts, and would make for poor comparisons. ARPG =/= Diablo.
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