Dungeon Siege III demo

I’m still a bit fevered from the plague I’ve been dealing with, so I apologize in advance for any typos/craziness in this post! 🙂

So I love me some hack and slash loot-fest grindy action RPG goodness. Y’know stuff like Diablo or Torchlight. LOVE IT! One of my favorite genres.

And, as I’ve been sicker than death for the past 4 days, I’ve needed something to occupy my time. I turned to Dungeon Hunter: Alliance on the PS3. That’s a port of a Gameloft iOS/Android title. My fevered brain lusted day and night over the next uber loot drop.

So you might think I would’ve been a bit burned out when I d/led the Xbox 360 demo of Dungeon Siege III last night (PC and PS3 versions of the demo to come next week). But nope, I was right back in my element…sort of.

At its heart, Dungeon Siege III is hack and slash, button-mashing, monster-pinata game, it’s true. But Squenix & Obsidian have slathered layers of various game icing flavors all over it. First, there’s a fairly built up world to play in (the Kingdom of Ehb) and lots of dialog trees that don’t do much other than flesh out your reasons for killing everything in sight. I love the Germanic sounding locations and the Russian-accented bad guy mercs that you fight.

Second, there are some interesting game systems stuck on. I played the fighter (there’s a fire-elemental-gal you can play in the demo, too) and that’s who I’ll talk about. He has 2 stances (toggled with RB): a two hander stance and a sword & board stance. These are hard-wired. He can’t equip a staff or a bow and arrow. Lots of these games offer multiple weapon sets, and that’s what stances are, sorta, but more limiting. He can ONLY weird a two handed melee weapon in the two-handed stance, and a shield and 1 handed melee weapon in the other stance.

Each stance has its own set of skills to go with it. In this case the 2-hander is about group combat. Lots of swirling blades hitting multiple enemies. The sword & board is about controlling a single opponent via shield bashes to stun and things of that nature. The stances feel nicely different…your hero slices the air with a whistling *whoosh!* with a rapier but ponderously swings that zweihander with much effort. Nice.

You’ve got health, of course, and then you’ve got power and focus. My internal body temperature was too high for my brain to parse this out very well when I was playing. Using skills consumers power and focus and you gain them back by (standard) attacks, active blocking, and the like. Sorry to be so foggy. But I was foggy while playing.

When you level up you use skill points to learn new skills, feat points to learn new feats, and specialty points to tweak out skills. So lots of customization there. The bad news is that you can’t customize who your character is. He has a name and a look and you just choose to be him (or her).

So the loot… there’s loot everywhere. There’s almost…dare I say it? TOO MUCH LOOT. I felt like every few seconds I was stopping to compare what I picked up to what I had. Maybe that was all ramped up for the demo. I mean in one room I found 3 shields. The inventory system does make it easy to compare. Each slot will brandish a “New!” icon if you’ve picked up gear for that slot that you haven’t examined, and its very easy to compare new stuff to what you’re wearing. Not as easy to decide what’s best… this vambrace has more armor but less agility than that one… which do I need?! Ack!

One gripe: you pick up gold and health orbs automagically, buy you have to hit LB to pick up gear? I suppose this is useful in multiplayer, but when I’m playing alone I’m never not going to want to pick up a drop (you can transmute it to gold on the fly, if you need to…who is gonna leave gold laying on the gorund!?) so please just let it suck into my inventory with all the sparklies!

Oh well, a tiny nit. Breaking endless barrels is just as fun today as it was when Diablo rolled out. Combat feels good and toggling the stances keeps things interesting (as does the active block). I kind of miss carrying a bow as a backup but whatevs…I’ll deal.

And, dare I say it? The story had me interested. You can’t save in the demo (boo!) which meant I was up much too late trying to learn what happens next. Whatever it is, it involves mysterious large-breasted sisters, so I’m on board.

If nothing give you more joy than gutting a monster and getting a shower of gold coins for your trouble, I suggest you check out the demo. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays on PC. On the Xbox the button gyrations are a bit daunting. Face buttons, then Left trigger and Face Buttons, then Right Trigger and Face Buttons, etc etc. There’s a lot to remember and having a nice big keyboard full of discrete buttons might make it all a bit easier to manage. But we’ll see.

Gotta say Dungeon Siege III is on my Buy list now. Just what I needed…more games that MUST BE PLAYED!