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A Standard Hack & Slash In The End...
on June 22, 2011
Dungeon Siege 3 has been much awaited as it brings the Dungeon Siege element to the Consoles. While the game has under gone a drastic amount of changes is it enough for this game to stand on, or have the changes made done nothing but sink the ship? In short a bit of both! Dungeon Siege 3 simplifies the experience and gears the entire game for console users essentially putting the PC experience on the back burner. In doing so gone are the micro managing of your comrades, a basic inventory system with a very basic leveling system that does little to promote individual variety(you eventually unlock everything).
Still what we have here is a solid game that will not be a disappointment to the Hack & Slash RPG fans of ye olde day such as Diablo, Titan Quest, etc.
What can I say.. it is a hack n' slash RPG. Be prepared to go through dungeons grinding away on mobs and collecting loot! Dungeon Siege 3 does not disappoint in this category. It brings lots of gameplay something crucial to any video game; especially a hack and slash type. You have a choice of 4 pre-made characters which of course breaks down into typical Warrior, Caster, Rogue etc. When not in dungeons you will be visiting towns to buy and sell goods, pick up some simple quests that are not to bad to complete, and of course continue the storyline. It is fairly simple but gets the job done. Dungeons are varied as are the types of mobs you encounter so things get changed up enough to not get boring. Throw in a variety of difficulty levels and drop-in/out co-op and you have a pretty solid gameplay experience.
Combat is handled exceptionally well I feel for a hack & slash on a console. Your main attack and 3 skills are bound to your attack buttons while blocking and your stances are controlled via the shoulder/trigger buttons. During mid-combat with the warrior-type lets say, a bunch of trash rushes you just switch to a 2-handed stance and hack away. By doing this you open up your 2 Handed skills. Middle of the fight a boss mob comes in you can just switch, on the fly, back to a sword/shield stance and of course unlock 1 handed skills. You can map 3 skills per stance which makes you have to choice between the available skills per stance. Toss in Proficiencies, which add some customization to the skills by allowing you to pick a perk for that skill, and you have a simple yet somewhat diverse set of skills. While it is no Diablo or Titan Quest in skill variety and customization it keeps it very simple.
The game looks pretty good on the console. I have not checked it out on the PC but it is a very pretty game. The fire effects aren't bad and the variety of colors and effects for your skills are awesome. By no means is this a perfect engine here but it has graphical appeal and does help to make the world a bit more recognizable. I did notice some slow down on the PS3 version when I was looking awkwardly at fire with the camera, but I tend to try and kill the frame-rates on purpose at times. Combat however was very smooth and I noticed no difference between the PS3 or 360 versions when it came to the FPS during combat or cut-scenes.
The effects and sound track here aren't bad. I would say average. Nothing special to talk about but the voice acting I would say is sub-par. Many times it seemed as is the actors/actresses really did not care much about their lines. This puts a damper on the already boring storyline. Yes there is a storyline here for a Hack & Slash! A detailed storyline to boot! Problem is I found the storyline incredibly boring and uninteresting. A lot of it had to do with the dialogue as it really didn't sell you on the story. Still there is some meat here to give purpose to your adventure.
What good is a hack & slash without replay!? Well this game boasts some solid replay value if you are up for it. Where as past Hack and Slash games I have played allow you to continue on harder difficulties with your existing loot... not the case here. There is no Game+ feature here. Instead you just start a new difficulty from square one again. Replay value will come down to simple trophy/achievement collecting, simple enjoyment of the game and of course Co-Op. The game itself took me around 13-15 hours to complete on my play-through; and I have yet to replay it on another difficulty since nothing carries over.
*** CO-OP FEATURES *** ( 4 player ONLINE support, no LAN support, 2 player LOCAL co-op )
A crucial part of this game that people have been getting confused about. Co-Op works very strange in this game and while it does work.. it doesn't at the same time. Much like how the game really simplified the elements almost to a fault, the Co-Op was simplified far past a fault. Not only is there a lack of Game+ here, but Co-Op works fairly backwards for a game of this type. If you hop into a game online or with your friend only, your SP character WILL NOT be used. No progress you make with your friend/PUG will carry to your account. You are simply there for moral support you could say. To make things worse, even if you are doing Co-Op on different accounts (like a 4 player PUG group) the host is who the camera centers on. Meaning you are locked into the hosts camera frame. While this just takes time to get used to, it seems like a colossal step backwards compared to previous hack&slash titles. The overall Co-Op experience can be a lot of fun if you put aside gear, level and just work as a team to have some fun.
OVERALL 73% (7.3) .. C
Dungeon Siege 3 is not a bad game by any means. It simplified the Hack & Slash elements to suit the console but in doing so it over-simplified the elements down to a no-brainer. While perhaps a disappointment at first glance Dungeon Siege 3 still brings gameplay to the table and lots of it. There is plenty to do here, and despite a slightly simplified dungeon design you still have tons of baddies to plow through and loads of loot to gather.
A weak inventory system holds it back as does the Co-Op method used by the game but still... this is the kind of game Hack and Slash fans have been craving for a long time. It is a fresh change of pace for the genre despite being simplified. While not a full-price for some, it is a game worth picking up if you are a fan of the genre. The flaws in DS3's armor are not bad enough to ruin the game but it might leave a sour taste if you set expectations to high.
**NOTE: I was disappointed with the absence of SET items. However with no real game+ mode, and a 10-15 hr campaign it is understandable why they were probably absent