by Stefanie Fogel
previewed on PC
A whole lot of loot
Developed by Gas Powered Games and released in 2002, the original Dungeon Siege was a title that didn’t reinvent the wheel but managed to charm critics and gamers alike with its addictive hack-n-slash gameplay, user-friendliness, and production values. So much so that it spawned a sequel in 2005, a number of expansions, and a universally panned Uwe Boll movie starring Jason Statham. Now, the series has been handed over to Obsidian Entertainment and Dungeon Siege III is set to hit store shelves this June.
In Dungeon Siege III, you play as one of the few remaining descendants of the disgraced 10th Legion, a band of heroes who were falsely accused of murdering the king. Lead by a mysterious old man named Odo, it will be your job to rebuild the Legion and save the kingdom. Apparently, this will be done by killing various varieties of the local wildlife, undead, and other bad elements while filling your pockets full of shiny, shiny loot.
At its heart, Dungeon Siege III is an action RPG that seeks to scratch the Diablo itch. Instead of playing a class, however, you play as one of four characters - Lucas Montbarron (a warrior), Anjali (a fire spirit), Reinhart Manx (a mage), and Katarina (a gunslinger). For the first time in the franchise’s 9-year history, Dungeon Siege is coming to consoles so, naturally, combat has undergone some tweaking and is now a faster-paced affair. Each character will be able to use different battle stances, and each stance will have its own abilities. Anjali, for example, can use her human form to go toe-to-toe with enemies with a staff or spear, or she can use her spirit form to clear the room with a few well-placed AoE fire attacks. The wizard Reinhart, meanwhile, can either use dynamic magic to shock and stun his foes, or he can use entropic magic to clear away multiple enemies from a distance.
Add to all that a plethora of weapons and armors to find and equip and it seems as if the various customization options will ensure that there’s a little something for everyone, whether your combat philosophy is to “kill it with fire” or “stick it with the pointy end.”
Hack ‘n’ Slash With Friends
Of course, dungeon diving is best done in a group and Dungeon Siege III’s 4-player co-op aims to be as seamless as possible. Drop in and out whenever and wherever you wish and Obsidian says its AI will take over without interrupting the action or impacting the campaign. Fighting alongside AI-controlled NPCs is always a risky proposition, however, and it’s too soon to tell if your teammates will truly be useful in a jam or if you’ll simply toss a fireball in their face so they stop blocking the doorway.
Although the series is no longer PC-exclusive, publisher Square Enix isn’t forgetting Dungeon Siege’s original fan base. They recently announced a deal with Valve that will allow those who pre-order Dungeon Siege III on Steam to also download Dungeon Siege 1 & 2 for free. It’s Square’s way, they say, of showing their appreciation to the fans of the franchise. That is a whole lot of role-playing and a whole lot of loot. Better bring some extra bags!