Playing Dungeon Siege 3 is a bit like talking to an old childhood friend about the new Bill and Ted movie. It?s a game that contains a lot of nostalgic throwbacks to classic PC action-RPGs of the 1990s, whilst injecting a heavy dose of modern design sensibilities to keep the audience of today satisfied. Or at least, that?s Obsidian?s aim.
And nothing demonstrates that intent better than the game?s two-player co-operative mode. You might remember, in my last preview that covered the first moments of the single-player adventure
, that the camera is angled in such a way as to display an overhead viewpoint in the same style of traditional dungeon crawlers like Diablo
Now we all know why - it?s the perfect way to see two players run around a gothic battlefield at the same time. While you?ll only be able to accommodate two players on one console via local play, I?m told that you can connect to a second machine and engage in a co-op mode that allows up to four players to get involved.
The battlefield of choice this time around was an eerie estate called Gunderic Manor, once owned by the titular family but was recently acquired by the heroic Legion forces as a base of operations. But bad things have gone down as of late - Lord Gunderic went a bit mad, and apparently decided to side with the Lescanzi.
To make matters worse, the spirit of the Lord?s dead daughter Alise is stuck in limbo for all eternity unless you help her cross over to the other side. So a bit of a laundry list to deal with there, then. This particular chapter of the story only takes place some 20 minutes after the events of my previous playtest, so it?s a hint that Dungeon Siege III
will be jam-packed with quests, both primary and secondary.
Whereas before I played as generic role-playing hero #245 in Lucas Mont Barron, I ventured into the rather large Gunderic Manor as the supposed Archon character that Lucas saves in the prison caves. Her name is Anjali, and is a hundred times more interesting than the Mont Barron chap - mostly because she has two interchangeable forms, and one of them is a fire spirit.
Pressing the Left Bumper on an Xbox 360 pad will switch her form from human to spirit, and each offer unique abilities that can benefit a fellow co-op player as they help you smack the crap out of skeletons and pirate-sounding Lescanzi renegades.
In human form you can equip a staff weapon in the same way as Lucas can equip a sword, offering close-range attacks and a variety of acrobatic flip kicks that use up precious Will power. Change the spirit form and Anjali hovers above the floor ethereally, chucking large fireballs at enemies from afar to help a player who might be proficient in close-range combat.
Anjali?s increased Will power in her spirit mode allows you to do some pretty nifty things in a pinch - the first of these being a ?ring of fire? that can be cast to boost you and your friend?s attack and defence stats for a short while. As you level up, you can choose to add the Fire of Immolation proficiency, which brings the power of burnination to your foes if they enter the circle.