Dungeon Siege III Preview (PC)

This week Square Enix was kind enough to invite us to see a preview build of the upcoming Dungeon Siege III. For those not familiar with the series, Dungeon Siege and Dungeon Siege II were PC fantasy action RPGs similar to Diablo and Baldur’s Gate 2 and were developed by Gas Powered Games.

The series has since changed hands with the upcoming entry being developed by Obsidian Entertainment, the studio behind many best-selling RPGs like Fallout: New Vegas and Neverwinter Nights 2.

Though fans might be concerned that the original developer is out of the picture they can take some comfort in the fact that Dungeon Siege creator and Gas Powered Games CEO Chris Taylor remains onboard as a consultant.

Better yet, judging from what we saw Obsidian intends to stay true to the format and the spirit of the previous games. With that said, they’ve been wise enough to tweak it and make some key additions to bring it in line with modern gaming sensibilities. After all, a lot has changed in the industry in the half a decade since Dungeon Siege II was released.

Dungeon Siege III continues to be set in Kingdom of Ehb albeit 150 years since the previous games. As such there won’t be any major story continuity although there may be nods and winks for the fans sprinkled throughout. You play as a descendant of the 10th Legion, basically Dungeon Siege’s equivalent of Jedi knights, who once protected the land but have since been disbanded. Your quest is to rebuild the Legion to prevent the kingdom from being swallowed by all manner of dark forces, none the least the tyrannical Jayne Kassynder, a figure prominently mentioned during the demo.

Though we couldn’t get a good sense of how the story will unfold in the hour we had with the game, there are hints that Obsidian are looking to forge a stronger connection between the player and the game’s world this time around. It takes cues from recent story-heavy RPGs like Mass Effect by having branching decisions and a morality-style loyalty system, both of which strongly imply that there will be different outcomes later on depending on your character’s actions.

In terms of game play the focus remains on classic hack and slash action with RPG elements and a whole heap of loot collecting. During the demo we played as the Guardian class, your warrior-like close combat archetype who relies on swords and shields.

Again, Obsidian have tweaked and streamlined elements here to bring it up to date with modern games and to make DSIII as accessible as possible for newcomers. For example, they’ve added an optional Fable-style bread crumb trail that will guide players to their next quest objective. Also, fiddling around with potions is now a thing of the past since downed enemies now drop life bar renewing orbs instead.

Since this is the first Dungeon Siege coming to home consoles the controls have also been re-imagined for use on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 pads. Obsidian’s solution to cramming all your typical hot bar abilities on to a controller is a pretty elegant one. Each character has several combat stances, each with three unique abilities linked to them. Each stance can be toggled through with the press of a button, effectively enabling quick access to all of your available skills yet keeping them grouped in a common sense manner.

As an example of what we mean, the Guardian class featured two distinct stances. The more defensive one had him wielding a one handed sword and a shield, accompanied by an equally defensive shield bash ability which stunned enemies. His more offensive stance had him wield a more powerful double handed sword but lacked a shield for defence, which was linked to a suitably aggressive charging stab skill.

The co-operative multiplayer was a key aspect behind the success of the previous games in the series. While we probed our contact at Square Enix about this they weren’t ready to discuss this aspect. However, the multiplayer and the additional character classes are set to be revealed at an upcoming preview event so we’ll hopefully be bringing you all the details in the near future.

Though we only experienced the first hour of a pre-alpha build of the game from what we saw Obsidian seems to be doing right by the Dungeon Siege name, sticking close to the successful formula of its predecessors yet bringing it up to speed with the expectations of modern gamers.

Dungeon Siege III doesn’t have a specific release date yet but is set to land sometime this year on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Most Anticipated Feature: Some games are best experienced with friends and the previous Dungeon Siege's were prime examples of this. The co-operative questing is definitely the aspect we’re most looking forward to in Dungeon Siege III.


By Azsinistar (SI Veteran Newbie) on Jan 29, 2011
This is another game I am looking forward to. I hope they really do get it out this year.
By FoolWolf (SI Elite) on Jan 29, 2011
Good preview that told me to stay away. I don't like the old DS games and I don't like the streamlining that makes "modern gamers" happy. It turns into less gaming and more into the chose stance, wait for game to finish it off for you. This was the weakest part od DS IMO compared toother games, the game did pretty fine without you....
By Azsinistar (SI Veteran Newbie) on Feb 03, 2011
I understand the dislike of mainstreaming games, especially known names *cough* Gothig *cough* but to me DS was always more accessable than other similar titles. I have no problems with a game thats easier and can be played in short stints. Sometimes it good to just relax play a litte for fun with little to no frustration. True I love my long lasting RPG's as well, struggle through the bitter end, but this series never really qualified on that level to me anyway.
By ansigar (SI Veteran Newbie) on Jun 19, 2011
i play the game and i dont like it
this is not a dungeon siege game the gameplay for pc is awful is like a copy form xbox360 to pc!
they have destroy a beautiful and excellent Action-rpg like dungeon siege series