Healing is For Sissies!
I’ve knocked out a pretty good amount of game reviews recently, haven’t I? Well here’s another one! I remember being vaguely interested in today’s game when the demo for it released. I had played it and thought it was decent enough, but not quite good enough to inspire me to purchase it for $60 when it came out. But the beautiful thing about smaller level, decent games is that they will eventually drop in price. When I noticed that the game had dropped to the $10 range, I decided that was good enough for me. That game is Dungeon Seige 3, developed by Obsidian Entertainment, published by Square Enix, and including the voices of Crispin Freeman, Amanda Philipson, Anna Vocino, Dave B. Mitchell, Catherine Taber, and Barry Dennen.
You play as one of the four members of the 10th Legion, and you’re trying to bring the Legion back to the land of Ehb after it was all but destroyed by Jeyne Kassynder (Catherine Taber), who killed almost everyone in the Legion and turned the rest of Ehb against them. Through your actions, you can decide who lives and dies along your journey, as well as trying to repair the damaged reputation of the Legion.
There are a lot of things they did in this game that deserve some praise, but I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience that much. The story was one of the things I liked about the game, though. Sure, it was a fairly typical sword and sorcery story, but it had enough changes in the story to be interesting, and there was some funny stuff in the writing as well. The basic story of the game is your quest to defeat Jeyne Kassynder and to bring the Legion back into a respected position. That stuff is only different from the norm in that the main villain is a girl, but that doesn’t necessarily mean bad. It makes you feel like you have a lot more control over your destiny by giving you a few choices in the dialogue, but mostly things are going to turn out roughly the same. Whether you save the Queen first, or you go to help the town of Stonebridge first, it turns out the same way. It doesn’t matter if you take rewards from the people of Raven’s Rill for helping them out, it doesn’t matter if you give Leona Gunderic Manor or not, it’s all pretty much going to end up in the same place. I know that because I’ve played the game 4 times now, mainly because there’s an achievement for beating the game with all four characters, but it’s only really shown me that the choices you make aren’t really going to change the game significantly. I kind of wanted to see what changes would come up in the story, but it only really changed what your character said to people (what they responded with was roughly the same), and where you would meet your companions. But, even with all that, the story was pretty good, the characters seemed to have complex reasons to do the things they did so that even the bad guys had understandable motivations.
The look of the game is really good and very detailed, but I feel like most of that’s lost because of the camera angle. It pretty much views your character from the top down and, of the two camera angles, the one that works the best is the furthest out. At that point, most of the details of the surroundings and the characters are kind of lost. The ground looked great though. One of the bigger issues I took with the look was the way you held conversations. The camera is looking over the shoulder of your character and the people you’re talking to are just standing across from you, barely moving and never emoting at all. It was a super dull and boring way to spend a good chunk of the game, since you spend a lot of time chatting people up. There’s a point in the game when the Queen finds out she’s related to Jeyne Kassynder, the biggest villain in all of Ehb, and the Queen can’t even be bothered to lift an eyebrow. I would say that they were very good at capturing the atmosphere in the look, particularly in the very end of the game. The entire trek to where you were heading definitely felt like the world was ending.
The gameplay of this game was the part that I took the most issue with. It just wasn’t fun, and I found it more frustrating than anything else. There are four characters, and each character has two different stances to choose from, but I found that most situations boiled down to just pressing A until everything but you was dead. That wasn’t the real problem though. The real problem for me was that conventional healing was ignored for this game. You didn’t find health packs or have potions, and getting out of the fight for a little while did not cause your health to start going back up. Instead, you had a power that you could use that would make your health go up at roughly 1 point of health per second, but with as harshly as your health is cut down, I found that fairly insignificant. So, on anything other than Easy, you will probably die frequently. Your companion could revive you, but they’re also semi-retarded. I know that there are some people that like really difficult games, but I’m not one of them. I just don’t want to put my controller through my TV. I also don’t want my games to frustrate me. Challenge me, perhaps, but I’m usually playing games to relax after a day of work and I really don’t want them to annoy me further. There are bosses that inflict damage on you just from being next to them! They don’t have to hit you! If you’re in a circle around them, you take damage. That’s a shitty decision for a game that has a character that has nothing but melee attacks! That I also coincidentally picked for my first play through! This game also does something that I’ve always hated in games, but why do companion characters have the ability to get in your way? You ever play a game like this when you go into a corner to pick something up and your companion follows you, therein trapping you in the corner? WHY?! Why can’t I just walk through them like they’re not there? Is it to add to the realism, so that you would feel like you were actually in a battle situation with a moron with personal space problems? They did do something I really appreciated with the companion characters though. If you just finished a battle and piles of money were laying down that fell from your defeated enemies all you would have to do is stand in place for a little while and your companion would go and pick up the money for you. YAY! I can be lazy in a video game as well!
I don’t think I’d call this game “good times” for achievements either. They’re not difficult to get, but they’re way too time consuming. You have to beat the game with all four characters to get a few achievements (such as the achievements for beating it with each character and the one for beating it with all of them, as well as the ones for leveling each character to 20) and, at about 10 to 15 hours per playthrough, that just seems like too much. I actually wrote, “Fuck that,” in my notes about having to do that, since I had no intention of doing it … and then I did. I don’t know why! I have Borderlands 2 sitting next to me right now! What am I doing?! Alright, wrap it up…
Final verdict: Dungeon Siege 3 is pretty good, and I can’t really say I regret paying $10 for the thing, but I also can’t treat it like anything more than what it is. It’s okay, it’s kind of fun but way more frustrating and irritating than I generally go for, it looks good when it’s not staring at the ground, and the story is pretty solid but not ground-breaking. If you like Diablo-like gameplay, you might dig this game enough to be worth the low price you can find it for. If you don’t, then you’ll be just fine skipping the game. Dungeon Siege 3 gets “Play the game four times? Go fuck yourself!” out of “…Okay, I will…”
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