So this morning I woke up and called Blizzard. (I do that sometimes) As it turns out, Diablo III still isn’t anywhere close to being released and you’re still looking for a great hack ‘n slash RPG.  Well, fear not my friends – Dungeon Siege III may just be the Fiery Broadsword +3 you need to scratch that role playing itch.

DSIII may not be deep, but I’ll be damned if its not engaging.  I’ll be even more damned if it’s not pretty, polished and properly optimized for PC.

While the story isn’t anything overly exciting or engrossing, it is well written (this is an Obsidian RPG after all) and will certainly do an admirable job of drawing you in for the 10 or so hours it will take you to plough through the game.  The voice acting is solid and the cutscenes and character dialogue are all well directed and produced.  In fact, everything here is surprisingly solid.  There really isn’t very much wrong with Dungeon Siege III, but we’ll get to that later.

The Game Looks Marvelous On a High End PC

You’ll have the chance to get into the role of one of four pre-determined characters in the game.  This may turn off former Dungeon Siege players who are used to creating their own character and embarking on a 50 hour journey, but the options made available in DS III are sure to satisfy you and they certainly make sense in the context of the adventure.  There’s Lucas (teh warrior) Anjali (teh battlemage) Reinhart (teh mage) and Katarina (teh rogue)  They are all fighting to restore the lost glory of the 10th legion and the Kingdom of Ehb that has been trampled upon by some evil bitch named Jeyne Kassynder.

Along the way there will be quests, quests more quests and side quests as  you move from town to town and scene to scene button mashing your way to victory in classic hack ‘n slash style.  Speaking of button mashing, Dungeon Siege III works remarkably well with a controller.  In fact, I highly recommend hooking up a wired Xbox 360 controller for DS III because quite frankly the game plays like utter dogshit with a keyboard and mouse and you can’t even rebind your keys… sigh.

Y U NO Let Me Rebind Keys!?

If you haven’t played the previous Dungeon Siege titles, worry not, no knowledge of the previous titles is needed here.  However, there will be numerous references to the originals and several playable characters are even direct descendants of characters from the first game.

Skill trees are none too deep and involved in DSIII, but your player skills are varied enough and easy to learn and use.  When you level up, you’ll be brought to three screens.  The first being your abilities.  These are your special attacks and defenses that can be activated to inflict massive damage or save your sorry ass.  Token hack ‘n slash favorites like shield bash, shield wall, lancer jump and summon (insert beast here) will all be found within this menu.  Each character has nine abilities to unlock and each ability can then be tweaked via proficiencies.

In the proficiencies menu you will see that each of your abilities can be leveled in two ways.  For instance, if you’re playing as Lucas, you’ll get a self heal over time (HoT) ability called Graceful Repose early on in the game.  When leveling Graceful Repose you can set it so that A)  It does 5% lifesteal on attack per rank or B)  Gives Lucas 5% damage per rank every time someone interrupts his heal.  (The bastards)  I personally put all five ranks in lifesteal because we all know how OP lifestealing abilities are in hack ‘n slash RPG’s, but you can choose either/or, or a combination of both.  Every ability has two proficiencies, and it’s up to you to determine how you’ll use them based n your play style.  Seriously though, lifesteal or gtfo.

I Activate This Ability Pretty Much All The Time...

The last menu you will come to when leveling is your talent menu.  Talents are passive abilities, and lord knows us RPG players love those powerful passive abilities that require no activation whatsoever.  Once again, token talents such as having your critical hits grant additional focus and the ever popular 4% attack power per rank for no particular reason can be found here.

The entire leveling system is quite streamlined, as are all of the other menus.  There is no deep and winding lore codex to delve into (although you will pick up books and notes that will be inventoried) and no complicated loot system is present.  Everything is easy to read, easy to learn and easy to use.  Huzzah.