Monday, August 15, 2011

Dungeon Siege III

I don't play a lot of video games. Between work, the g/f, my vast reading pile, and the occasional movie, it's rare that I'm willing to sacrifice a huge time chunk to a full fledged video game.

Dungeon Siege III is probably the first new game I've bought in quite a while. The last one probably being Assassin's Creed years after it was out.

Dungeon Siege III is far more character based and in some ways, limited than previous entries. You have a choice of four different characters to select. The interesting thing is that the characters all play different in terms of appearance, style, and abilities. They can be highly customized with various attributes that rise as you gain levels, allowing a user to play through the game multiple ways with the same character. I'll be mentioning some specifics below so if you want to avoid spoilers, read no further.

That reminds me of one of the strengths of D&D. As a whole, it's generally good to have a well rounded party. While 4th edition may have given these roles terms like striker, defender, controller and leader, in many ways, they've been a part of the game since thief, fighter, magic user, and cleric. Perhaps not always in exactly the same role, and perhaps some customization could change how classes worked in the game, such as multi-classing demi-humans in the OSR realms, but for the most part...

The game hits on a lot of high points I've mentioned in the past.

Religion plays a huge role. The main villain of the series is called the Living Saint and has a massive following in the East where the church is strong.

Family relations play another big role. The villain is after the heroes because they murdered her father. The villain is also related to the current queen and has a legitimate claim to the crown. Two of the selectable characters are related to each other.  One of the characters is a direct descendant of one of the most powerful spellcasters in the history of the setting. These things have an influence on how people see each other, they provide illumination into motivations and provide insight into what someone might do.

The game isn't that open in some aspects, but it does allow a few variations including redeeming foes, sparing foes, and taking different paths that wind up crossing the paths not taken. The writing isn't bad and there are probably a few ideas that could easily be yanked for your own campaign.

The side quests aren't always fighting either, even if they may have an ultimate effect of providing some damage to the enemy. For example, while the Queen's forces are under siege, you can set up a cannon and prevent the enemy from entering the cave complex where the Queen is holding up. There are a few examples of this combat handy but not actual combat skill tests throughout the game. When setting up challenges for the players, see what options you can provide them that don't necessarily rely straight up on dealing damage.