Dungeon Siege III • Page 2

Ehb and flow.

Lucas swaps from two-handed broadswords to a more traditional sword and shield combo, Katarina from ranged carbine to a dual-wielded shotgun and pistol combo. Anjali can choose from her agile human form and a more destructive fire form.

From there things unfold much as you'd expect for a top-down RPG, with giant spiders lurking in forests, travelling merchants offering a discount once you save them from bandits and rural wives sending you off to find their missing husband in the Gloomy Caves of Goblin Death.

But it's hard to be too cynical about the genre cliches Dungeon Siege deploys since it gets the mechanics so enjoyably right. While the game never matches Torchlight's manic pace, it certainly doesn't hang around. It's almost episodic in nature, introducing a new location, along with new enemies and fresh quests, every hour or so.

The story rattles along at an agreeable clip, never bogging you down with too many optional objectives, and your character evolution follows suit. In about seven hours of gameplay I'd managed to reach level 14 and the meat of the story was only just about to kick in. Companions level up alongside you, and as you tweak and enhance their various abilities and proficiencies you can exert a small amount of influence over their combat style.

Visually, the game does a good job of showcasing Obsidian's Onyx engine. Environments are rarely interactive, but they are lushly designed and boast some subtle lighting effects.

From gloomy forests to eerie abandoned mansions, quaint villages to urbane cities, there's an appealing feel to the world of Ehb. It all flows seamlessly as well, with no loading screens. Your jaunty trot simply slows to a walk while the game loads in the next area.

It's a pity the same polish isn't evident in the characters populating the conversation scenes, where you pick responses with a Bioware-style chat wheel. Faces are stiff and the voice acting, while more than adequate, doesn't have enough personality to compensate.

Despite this, the game itself is surprisingly funny, with lots of pithy descriptions and sly in-jokes for fans. Most notably for those who loved the previous game and it's lovable roving inventory system, there's the "pitiful corpse" of a mule left by the roadside, crushed by the weight of "many suits of armor, sacks of gold and impractically large battleaxes".

Elsewhere a mechanical constable, basically a steampunk Robocop, boasts of providing "feline wrangling services" along with his violent law enforcement duties. In another particularly daft moment, you meet a character called Baron Barrenbaron.

Dungeon Siege III clearly isn't setting out to redefine its genre, but it has a finely balanced sense of its own strengths and seems to have nailed the addictive tug that all loot drop RPGs must possess. Quests unfurl into one another organically and there's always something new around the corner, offering a reason to play for another half hour, then another, and another...

And that's without access to the online co-operative mode, where players get to vote on conversation responses as well as battling side by side. Roll on next month, and a distinct lack of sleep.

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About the author

Dan Whitehead

Dan Whitehead


Dan has been writing for Eurogamer since 2006 and specialises in RPGs, shooters and games for children. His bestest game ever is Julian Gollop's Chaos.


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