Dungeon Siege 3: Preview – Hack and Slash At Best
Dungeon Siege 3 is an upcoming action role-playing game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Square Enix under the super vision of Chris Taylor, the original creator of Dungeon Siege.
In Dungeon Siege 3, you command one of four heroes in service to a dying order. In days long past, the knights of the 10th Legion protected the lands of Ehb throughout a bloody conflict known as the War of Legions.
After the war’s conclusion, the Legion established the independent kingdom of Ehb and served as its guardian and protector. Together the two groups flourished for many years until Ehb’s king was tragically murdered. Despite all the good it had done, the 10th Legion ended up taking the blame and was systematically hunted and destroyed by the outraged population led by the villainous Jayne Kassynder.
Today, the kingdom of Ehb has fractured and is slowly falling under Kassynder’s sway. In this dark hour, the last remnants of the 10th Legion are gathering to rebuild and retake their land.
Combat in Dungeon Siege 3 is all about switching among character’s three stances on the fly. The first two are offensive stances and will govern what attacks and abilities character can access. The third stance is a defensive stance that allow you to block, dodge roll, and heal yourself.
Switching among the three is instantaneous and as simple as pressing a button. The effects of each vary wildly depending on whom we are playing as and what his or her role is in the battle.
Lucas Montbarron, is a front-line brawler whose stances offer different variants on melee combat. The long-range rifle-woman Katarina is the complete opposite, with techniques that favor dealing high damage to targets at a distance.
The other two heroes, Reinhart Manx and Anjali, aren’t as narrowly defined in their roles and combine both range and melee tactics. We hadn’t seen much of Reinhart previously. Compared to the rest of the cast, this character feels the most complex, given his affinity for indirect tactics. His first stance, dynamic, let him pummel foes with an electrified gauntlet while blasting others with the homing lightning strike ability.
His second stance, entropy, isn’t as direct. His basic attack is projectile in the form of a sweeping energy wave that appear at a set distance away from him. Lining up this attack in the heat of battle is tricky until you get acclimate to the gap between the attack and the attacker.
It also took some time getting used to this stance’s first ability, clockwork trap. After a brief casting time, Reinhart would lay a magical trap that would damage enemies who tripped it.
Our fourth Hero is Anjali. Her play style feels similar to Reinhart’s in that she could switch between close and ranged combat. But while the mage favored traps and trickery, Anjali was all about laying on the hurt as quickly as possible.
In her human-form stance, she can use various staves and maces to clock enemies over the head before striking all those before her with the spinning-kick ability.
Her second form brings about a fiery transformation that morph her into an archon–a mythical creature of immense elemental power. Now, she can pelt her enemies with an unlimited supply of fireballs and lay down the aura of immolation which injure enemies who step within it.
You will be doing hack-and-slash most of the time, cutting your way through innumerable bandits, racking up experience and advance in level. This awards you with ability, proficiency, and talent points to spend on customizing your characters. Ability points aren’t awarded at every level, but when they are, they will allow you to purchase new abilities to use in combat.
Proficiency points are used to customize those abilities. Each ability had two proficiencies and five slots. Each time you purchased a rank in either proficiency, it occupies one of those slots and alter the effects of that ability.
Finally, there are the talents. Talents are similar to proficiencies, though they aren’t tied to any one ability and instead help our character as a whole. Each talent is broken into five ranks and can be used to beef up a character’s critical hit chance or increase the amount of gold he or she finds.
The other way we can customize our character is through the collection of loot. Every time a player slay a bandit or opens a treasure chest, a pile of riches would spill out at his/her feet.
From the randomized assortments of odds and ends, players can collect swords, shields, staves, and suits of armor that are each unique to a specific character. This means that Lucas can’t wield Katarina’s venomous hand cannon and Reinhart can’t wear Anjali’s form-fitting breastplate.
While local cooperative play only supports up to one other person, you can play with an entire group of four online. However, players who aren’t the host for that session will be playing pro bono, meaning they won’t be gaining any loot or experience for the characters in their game.
You can get your hands on Dungeon Siege III this June on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.