Dungeon Siege 3 Hands-On Preview Update -- Fire Wall Walk Through MeBy Rob Manuel - Posted May 17, 2011
A mob of eight or so soldiers rushed me from out of the darkness, but I knew exactly what to do. I threw down a wall of flames at my feet to burn the first couple of oncoming rushers. Holding down the block and tapping back, my character, Anjali, reappeared several feet behind the flames leaving behind what I can only assume was the smell of sulfur and a distinct “Bamf” sound. With her fireballs, I roasted the first wave with minor trouble. Teleporting back into the flames, I awaited the larger group.
There were way more of them than I expected. Switching to her human form, I waited until they hit the flames for burn damage before unleashing a smashing hit with my staff that took out the mob. Sustaining only minor damage, I healed myself before running on. The wall of fire, the smashing bow hit, and the heal spell were all performed with the same button. Obsidian Entertainment is trying to bridge the worlds of console and PC dungeon crawling with Dungeon Siege III. One of the ways that they’re doing is that is by giving you more powers with fewer buttons.
In playing with Anjai, the human incarnation of a fire elemental, she could switch between a fire and human form. Like the other characters in the game, each form or stance gives her different powers and attacks. In her fire form, this little elemental has a ranged attack with a firewall to do a little damage if the situation gets a little too hot. Her human form could take out enemies closer to her with a staff. Different weapons infused with magic gave her the edge with a little poison or the ability to slow down a couple of angry mobs.
The third stance is that of defense. Not only can you block, but you can throw on a quick heal to keep you moving forward. As I leveled up my character, I could further develop their attacks by changing them in one of two ways. For example, I loved throwing down firewalls when I could to watch those unfortunate few fling themselves through to a fiery death. For every level, I could put a little more fire to the flame to add damage or let it heal my companions and me whenever we stood in the circle. In the end, I went in for a little of both so I could attack from the safety of the flames.
One of the aspects of Dungeon Siege 3 that I don’t think many people are talking about is tempo. This is a fast ride. In other dungeon crawlers, you often find yourself going back into areas just to level up, collect more money, or running back into town for potions. The good people over at Obsidian have practically done away with that. That’s not to say that this RPG is easy - far from it. DS3 gives you the tools you need for each battle. By varying the kinds of attacks, you can take on different situations such as the fight that I described above.
Another notable element is the focus system. You don’t worry about potions in this game. Instead, you gain focus by fighting. If you enter a battle low on focus, you can rest on your basic attack until you build up enough focus for a devastating special attack. You can even use focus to heal yourself. Many battles ended with only a couple of scrapes and me fully prepared for the next group of attackers. In my few, pre-build hours with the game, I never felt the need to grind for more loot or higher levels. It’s all very streamlined to bring the action of PC dungeon crawling to the fast-paced expectations of a console user.
Dungeon Siege III seems to be reaching out to two very difference audiences. With lengthy side quests and multiplayer, perhaps these two factions can find some common ground in this title. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get more time with this dungeon crawler before it releases on June 21 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.