Dungeon Siege III Preview
Although my role-playing phase is behind me, I still have a soft spot for in-depth, engaging, addictive RPGs that manage to grab me from the outset with a great story and compelling combat. I’m hoping for nothing less from Dungeon Siege III. One could point to the fact that RPG veteran Obsidian Entertainment hasn’t exactly been wowing the crowd lately, but I prefer to remember their gems, like Neverwinter Nights 2 and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. Plus, they’ve got Fallout: New Vegas coming later this year and there’s little chance that game will be sub-par. And after hearing what the team intends to do with DSIII, and how they want to retain the single-player focus and standard role-playing intricacy, I became that much more interested. The game will boast multiplayer aspects but Obsidian has said they want this new project to be more like their previous titles, so it should feel a lot more like a traditional, familiar role-playing adventure.
Obsidian really built their last game, Alpha Protocol, around the concept of player decisions and ensuing consequences. Sadly, it was the lone bright spot of a game marred by serious technical issues, but the player freedom feature will most certainly be part of the third Dungeon Siege. The choices you make will have a direct impact on how your allies and party members feel about you, and even how they react and behave. Furthermore, you won’t be able to predict the implications; they might only be felt for the short-term, or they may extend throughout the entire quest. Hence, this means you should really ponder each decision before making your final choice. This sort of reminds us of Dragon Age: Origins and our interaction with party members; what we said and did would affect our relationship with those members, and different decisions would impact our friends differently. This, however, sounds like it might be even more dynamic and far-reaching.
As for your own character, you’ll be able to decide upon the abilities you wish to learn, and which you wish to upgrade as you progress. As we understand it, this is standard role-playing fare: pick how you plan to play when you start, and base your character’s growth and development around that. So if you want to be a tank, focus on strength skills and statistics; boosting those will allow stronger abilities to become available but of course, you can’t have everything. You’ll likely have to sacrifice other things like agility and magic capability. And of course, because everything is class-oriented, you’ll only be able to equip certain items and pieces of equipment. As for where you can go, fans of the genre should know what to expect- there won’t be much in the way of limitation; you will almost always be able to return to an area you explored, and while there is a recommended path, roaming about will likely be encouraged.
In the land of Ehb, you’ll come across all sorts of diverse locales and areas. Everything from dank dungeons to lush forests to lively towns will be featured, and as you move along, you’ll learn more about the folklore of the land. Due to the variety of landscapes, you will unsurprisingly face a large variety of foes; these will only add to the protracted feeling of freshness that comes from a lack of repetition. You may be forced to visit certain places to complete certain quests or objectives (or advance the story) but beyond that, feel free to explore and get your bearings. Feel free to set your character up exactly as you like. Feel free to adopt a personality and attitude that will have a direct impact on your allies, and perhaps even your enemies. In the end, Dungeon Siege III sounds like it could be exactly what hardcore, old-school RPG aficionados desire. Now, all we need is some new media; perhaps even a bit of gameplay…
And by the way, Obsidian says they will deliver the same experience to all three intended platforms (PS3, Xbox 360, PC), although there may be some “slight variations” in terms of graphics and options.
7/27/2010 Ben Dutka