Dungeon Siege III

This is the first Dungeon Siege to be released on console (providing we ignore the forgettable Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony on PSP) and – much to the annoyance of fans – somebody somewhere thought that it would be best if this instalment went back to basics in order to appeal to its new audience.

The result is a short, at least by RPG standards, and simple role player that feels rather casual. It’s not quite as casual Fable 3 – which statistcally nearly half of the people who played it finished it without dying – but it does ‘borrow’ a few elements from Fable, including simplified combat and glowing trails that tell you where to head next. Much to our amusement, the trails to follow here resemble lines of Pac-Man pills. Making your own ‘wacca-wacca’ noise is completely optional of course.

Top down traditional dungeon crawling is the order of the day, with a large portion of hack and slashing. You’re tasked with restoring a once strong and proud legion of do-gooders, while tracking down a female general who has gone mad with power. Four characters are yours for the choosing – a knight in shining armour, a pistol packing huntress, a fallen fire Goddess, and a magician slash collegium lecturer with a nifty clockwork belt. As the story progresses over its fifteen hour or so duration you get to meet up with the characters you didn’t pick who will then join your cause.

It’s not until around two or three hours in that you acquire your first AI controlled cohort, which instantly makes things a whole lot easier. Not only can they can resurrect you when you die but they are also rather proficient at dispatching the enemies – such as giant spiders, goblins, witches and thieves – that you frequently come across. Their AI isn’t perfect – occasionally they throw projectiles at walls trying to get the foes on the other side – but they’ve been programmed to pick up any gold you may have missed and as long as you kit them out with decent armour they don’t die too often.

The first few hours are fast paced, taking you on a whistle stop tour of towns, forests, crypts, caves and a swamp filled with giant bugs. The peak hits around half way as you venture into a large technologically advanced city. The missions found here are some of the best, including having to dispute better working conditions for the Cyclops working in the foundry, and tracking down a primitive robot that has started to attack citizens. After this the flow droops a bit, but thankfully backtracking is kept to a minimum throughout and the way that the world of Ehb feels seamless also impresses.

Developer Obsidian’s experience with RPGs shows in more than a few places. Combat is well thought out, requiring you to get a few melee hits in first before being able to unleash magic. Once you’ve cast a spell 100 times it becomes ‘empowered’ (read: more powerful) while levelling up gives the chance to assign new skills and improvements, like increasing the chance of projectiles ricocheting off one enemy and hitting the next. The ability to buy back from vendors goods that you’ve sold by mistake is a god-send too.

When playing online, which is a very streamlined drop-in-drop-out experience, the AI takes over your character when you’re looking through menus, saving other players from waiting around until you finish assigning armour and whatnot. It is slightly disappointing though that you can’t use your own character when playing online, and you can’t take any of the items you’ve found back with you when leaving another player’s game. The camera also really struggles with four players online, to the point of obscuring the view of what’s happening on screen.

Online niggles aside it’s hard to grumble about an RPG so humble. It’s not particularly ambitious, and neither does it feel epic, but it’s a sturdy package with some difficult moral choices to make. Visually it does look a little ‘last gen’ in places, and just about every RPG cliché is well-aired – right down to smashing up barrels and finding gold inside – but those who enjoyed Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, or wish that Warner would commission a new Gauntlet, should give this consideration.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

Post navigation


  • I got this a couple of weeks ago. Played it for about 20 minutes than haven’t returned to it since. It feels quite bland, and the one character I played with (the ranger-style gun girl) felt strange, lacking weight. I might give it a bit more time later, as I really liked Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance in co-op mode, so I’m hoping this can be similarly enjoyable.

  • Yeah, it does feel a bit “last gen” but I didn’t see that as a negative thing as still fun to play.

  • I liked it, have played up to the big city and the Cyclops quest so far. Not too hard, not too easy, have died a few times.

    It’s got a bit too samey now though, and I haven’t played it for a week or two, which doesn’t mean I’ll never go back to it, but…

  • There isn’t that much to do after the city. Three or four hours of play, perhaps. I thought you would be able to go back and do any missions you have missed after doing the last boss, but that’s not the case. I must have missed a mission as I didn’t get the achievement for finishing them all.

Comments are closed.