By Spencer . June 17, 2011 . 6:02pm
Way before E3, I was already waist deep into Dungeon Siege III playing a preview build of Obsidian Entertainment’s take on the series. Since I already started the game with Lucas Montbarron and Anjali, I picked Katarina as my main character. She’s Lucas’ half-sister, the lovechild of the Grand Master of the Legion and a Lescanzi witch.
While Lucas rushes into battle and Anjali specializes in area of effect magic, Katarina has curse magic and guns. Two types of guns, actually. Her rifle is for long range and acts more like a laser gun since it fires a fluorescent beam. While powerful, the rifle has an extended cool down time. Katarina also carries two pistols for close range combat, although absorbing damage is not her strong point. All characters in Dungeon Siege III have some kind of self-healing ability you can trigger while in a defensive stance. I just found it easier to dodge roll everywhere.
And that’s when I noticed most enemies have a retreat limit. Run away far enough and the enemies automatically retreat. Lucas, being an in your face fighter, can’t take advantage of this, but Katarina can. As soon as the enemies backs turned, I pulled out her rifle and picked off bandits as they were fleeing. A simple tactic, but quite effective in the beginning of Dungeon Siege III where Katarina is alone.
In the demo, Katarina greets Lucas or Anjali. Since you’re playing as her, a different character in Raven’s Rill directs Katarina to the Stormsong Cavern. She has less space to move around here, but height gives Katarina an advantage because she can target enemies while they’re running up a stone staircase. When they got close I switched to the dual-wielding stance, cursed the group to slow them down, and finished them off with my pistols. A boss was about to torture Anjali was waiting in a fireproof cage.
All of this was familiar, but with Katarina as my lead character more like… a shooter. I, perhaps foolishly, spent the few level up points I had developing Katarina’s rifle with a mere 5% chance that Heartseeking Shot, a special attack, would ricochet and hit a second enemy. I developed her talents (passive abilities) the same way and spent everything on markswoman. So much for being well-rounded… When Anjali joined I had an opportunity to develop her skills. The logical thing to do would be to make her a melee character to act as a tank for Katarina. That would be too easy so I decided to make Anjali proficient in creating fire pits. I had, essentially, a glass cannon team with a long range gunner and fire trap setter.
I remembered Dungeon Siege III well enough to blaze through the opening. Since there weren’t any surprises, I knew where to go, who to talk to, and what side quests to complete. After saving Anjali, I had to figure out where to go next. When you’re accepting every quest that comes your way, Dungeon Siege III can be a little bit confusing. Press up on the d-pad and gold orbs appear leading you where to go next. It’s a handy feature, particularly useful in couch co-op games since you don’t have to fiddle with a multiplayer map.
Dungeon Siege III is meant to be played with other people. At home, two players can hunt for treasure together. The game switches into 3/4 perspective and locks both characters on the screen. While the map zooms out a little bit, you cannot run away from your partner. That… took some time to get used to since I played Katarina as a run and gun character. One interesting note about cooperative play is the second player can choose anyone including Lucas and even Reinhart, a mage who acts more like a martial artist, even though those characters have not been unlocked. Speaking of Reinhart… that’s who we’ll cover on Monday.