Dungeon Siege III – The Verdict

Dungeon Siege III – The Verdict

I was discussing with some friends the other day the merit of review scores, a subject which is very much one that is likely to cause some arguments. I for one see the need for the usual scores out of 5, 10 or 100 along with an A-D system, they make it easy for the reader to find out what the reviewer thought of the game. I am of the opinion that the content of the review is more often what should be used to judge a game. Regardless, my friends and I were talking and we came to the agreement that games that usually get a 60 or 70 are often worthwhile playing. They may not set the world alight, and they may have some issues, but they are quite often thoroughly enjoyable.

If I was to use the numerical rating system for Dungeon Siege III it would certainly sit in the mid-70s range. Here on The Reticule, I would give it a verdict of On Target. That is what I will do later, but a little test for you all, if you do read the rest of this review can you please leave a little comment along with your thoughts on the game, or on review ratings themselves. A nice test to see how many people read on even after I have revealed my rating for the game.

It is worth noting right now that I have been playing the PS3 version of Dungeon Siege III not the PC version, which incidentally I may end up playing anyway at a later date. I have read rumblings that the control system on the PC version is a tad awkward and limited, that is something I will hopefully experience myself, but what I will say is that the controls for the PS3 version are very intuitive and well set out.

The camera though was a bugbear throughout my time with the game, in the close up camera you get to see all the action in detail, but you aren’t able to readily see what traps you may be walking into in the distance. The pulled out camera does provide a slight increase in range of vision, but it is offset by being too far out to see what is happening.The happy middle ground is missing and when compared to the camera from a game like Torchlight, I found it a right pain the arse.

Ignoring the camera and there is a fun game waiting to be played, you choose one of a handful of different preset characters, I went with Lucas Montbarron who is your everyday sword wielding character and in all honesty, probably the most bland character but very satisfying to play with in combat. The other characters who you will come across in the story can become your companions so you won’t be missing their fancy tricks too much if you don’t choose to play with them directly.

The best bit about your companions is that you have full control over their abilities and equipment loadouts. This is one of the best parts of the game, through your different characters abilities and traits you can really change how you approach the game. You can mould your character, and your companion as you see fit, do you want to be steal life with every enemy you kill or do you want super-charged critical hits? Do you want your summoned creature to have more health or deal more damage? Do you want your equipment to lend itself towards dual-wielding or do you want to focus on your two-handed longsword?

It is this character customisation which really sells the game in my eyes, especially when there is little of its’ ilk on the consoles. The PC may be filled with games like Torchlight and Diablo, but there isn’t quite as much of it on the consoles so to see Dungeon Siege III on them is a welcome sight.

In truth the story isn’t too shabby either and the quests are darn well done, while there are one or two ‘go kill x and I’ll give you y’ there is generally a well written explanation for why you are being sent on your way to do this. It is nice not to be patronised with the cliched quest of killing 10 badgers and returning their coats in order to gain 100xp.

Whilst Dungeon Siege III is a welcome addition to the console lineup, it isn’t ground breaking and fails to fully convince you that it deserves to be called a really really good game. It lacks the charm and joy of discovery that other dungeon crawlers are filled with. At the end of the day, it does a good job without being spectacular.

Verdict – On Target

Platforms Available – PC, 360, PS3.
Platform Reviewed – PS3

6 thoughts on “Dungeon Siege III – The Verdict

  1. Am I ever having trouble with review scales. But yours in particular :P I think we’ve created too big a gulf between ‘off target’ and ‘on target’, and a forthcoming review has fallen into it :)

    Percentages are ridiculous. ‘Of Five’ is a great system, but I don’t think gaming is mature enough a medium for it. ‘Of Ten’ has the problem of two thirds of the scale being basically useless (and still, when people do put out 4 of 10 reviews, as has happened with a crop of recent titles, they seem almost unrealistically harsh)

    1. Maybe there is a big difference between the two, it is possibly something that will be looked at on the site over the next few months.

      I do think that for a certain audience percentages and x/5 work, they use it as a quick guide to what the game will be like. Though I do sort of loathe the idea that the score is more important than than the content of the review.

      The problems do arise when the perception is that sites/mags use a 6-10 scale and that 6 is a bad game, which it really shouldn’t be, a 6 or 60 should be above average.

  2. Out of 5 is my preferred scoring method of choice because you’re basically saying a game is either generally bad, ok, good, brilliant or a must have. And as kupocake said, in a scale of 1-10, too much of the scale is rendered useless by overly harsh reviews still being tagged with, say, a 4. Having said all this, if the review is well-written enough then the text itself should be able to adequately convey whether or not a game is worth buying.

  3. True, my opinion is that a review should be able to explain what a game is like without a score, but a score does make things easier for the reader.

  4. I struggle with scores because I find it really difficult to use the same scale of merit when discussing indie games with AAA’s. The temptation is to mark indies up by saying they give you value for money, when they’re budget priced.

    But it annoys quite a few people, when you say that a £5 game with rubbish squiggly graphics is on a par with a 5 year in the making blockbuster. Maybe a different scoring system for budget priced games is a good way to eliminate the problem.

    On Dungeon Siege 3 – It sounds like Obsidian have made a game that is solid if unspectular, which is a reversal of what they usually do, which is to make spectacular but distinctly wobbly games.

    1. That is a good point Michael, is an indie game made over two months with squiggly lines really worth the same rating as a AAA monster just because it is innovating in ways that most AAA games aren’t?

      But if you create a different scoring system for cheap/indie games, doesn’t that then create an immediate impression in the readers mind that they are fundamentally unable to be considered on the same lines as that AAA blockbuster? Consider the possibility of World of Goo receiving a different rating from Mass Effect 2 just because it was an indie game? I would be outraged.

      World of Goo – definite Red Mist if I were to review it now.

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