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By Spencer . June 20, 2011 . 7:06pm
Reinhart Manx is quite different from other mage classes, he’s more like a martial artist than a spell caster. Like all characters in Dungeon Siege III, Reinhart has two stances. One setup makes Reinhart rush enemies with electrically charged punches. These attacks are slower than Anjali’s kicks, but he can hold his ground. His basic magic attack is shooting a lighting blast, which has a chance to ricochet or stun enemies depending on how you level it up.
Switch stances and Reinhart creates currents (which look like glowing claws) that can hit bandits with blunderbusses. This stance primes Reinhart for long range strikes, but he’s vulnerable to direct attacks since he cannot hit anyone nearby with his basic attack. He can drop Clockwork Traps, an explosive attack that can slow enemies, but these take time to plant. Usually, it’s faster to switch stances back to electrical fisticuffs if enemies draw near. In other words, Reinhart is either a close range fighter with a long range lightning spell, or a long range attacker with close range magical mines. Reinhart’s interesting blend of moves makes Dungeon Siege III possible to solo with a mage.
Square Enix touts Dungeon Siege III as a cooperative game and as a local co-op game Dungeon Siege III works out nicely. All of the loot is stored in one world and most equipment is character specific so there isn’t a race to grab drops. Online, Dungeon Siege III is a different experience. Up to four players can join a game, but everyone and everything remains in the host’s world. Character progression and found loot will not transfer back to another player’s game.
I think this was a design misstep. While players do help each other out, the dungeon crawling genre is inherently self-centered. Shiny new equipment that a boss might drop is what drives Dungeon Siege III and other games of the genre. Sure, you might "get" a new sword in an online game, but you don’t get to keep it. Removing the reward makes Dungeon Siege III’s online mode less fulfilling. Well, unless you’re the host. It wouldn’t be an Obsidian Entertainment title without dialogue choices. Dungeon Siege III has its fair share of text boxes and during multiplayer games other players can vote on what the lead character should say. There are achievements/trophies for disagreeing, but the votes are meaningless since the host’s decision can override the group.
I recall Traveler’s Tales Lego series were an inspiration for the multiplayer mode. The team wanted to make Dungeon Siege III easy for another player to jump into, but ended up creating a shallow experience. Perhaps, Obsidian could have had two modes an import a character realm for genre veterans and a casual area where anyone can hop into a game. Since everyone has self-heal and all of the characters are poised to beat the game alone Dungeon Siege III may be the first cooperative dungeon crawler that makes more sense to play solo.