Ever since video games incorporated cooperative gameplay to their games, I and many others have searched for a decent one that isn't just another first person shooter, multiplayer game that is either shoot them or shoot each other. Soon enough, games have involved coop campaign games - the Halo series always allowed for 2 players, but it only made the game easier and the necessity on your partner was non existant. Portal 2 however requires essential teamwork to complete your task, although it didn't seem to match the original in difficulty and the story was a separate one from the single player campaign. Dungeon Siege 3 manages to be a mix of both attitudes, having a friend, online or in person, help you out through the story, is possible and includes different plot lines and dialogue depending on your chosen character. On the other hand, having that extra hand may be helpful, but not always essential to the game. Still, the combat in particular is very well done and when taken advantage of, 2 player synced moves make it a doddle. The view point is similar to PC type games, having the camera scroll across the land from a birds eye view while you progress.
Falling into the genre of an action RPG, doesn't give much away. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, the makers of a handful of popular games Fallout 3:New Vegas and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2:The Sith Lords to name a couple, and published by Square-Enix, the creators of Final Fantasy. Its pretty clear that its an Obsidian like game straight away, with the conversations are handled, similar to KOTOR2 or the Mass Effect series (selecting from a choice of different dialogue paths, with ok voice acting). However its seems like SE played minimal part in the construction of the game, merely publishing it as there are no trademarks from which are they are renown for. The story varies depending on which character you choose, of which there are 4, but largely revolves around being a legionnaire in a battle against several groups of enemies, including the cowardly main antagonist Jeyne. The characters consist of diverse combatants including a soldier, archon, mage and gunner. Each one has 2 'stances' that change up the gameplay, such as duel/one handing weapons and different forms. You have a health bar, focus bar (mana/stamina) and orbs which can help initiate stronger or specialist moves.
Lucas, the games intended protagonist uses lightning fast moves, finishing off his enemies with swords, decked out in armour, with the best intent being critical hits and focus regeneration.
Anjali, an Archon who is of the same race as Jayne, turns from a spear slinging high jumper to a flame throwing witch, summoning a beast and providing an adequate, ranged support role.
Reinhart, an old mage found in past Dungeon Siege games, able to use both ranged and close quarters magical combat. More of an indifferent battle style to the others.
Katarina, a Angelina Jolie look alike wielding a blunderbuss or duel shotguns. A little bit out of place with her kind of advanced weaponry, but a solid ranged character.. with a lot of pink over the top weapon effects.
Skills and Abilities are gained and upgraded by levelling up like most games, and features several unfamiliar stats and effects such as retribution, doom, chaos etc, but also simpler stuff like stamina, armour and magic elements e.g fire, lightning. The skills require a set amount of focus to pull off and are later mastered to combine effects (this can include additional damage, moves and combos). Passive traits are also included like being able to stun or damage foes with greater effect or as a defence mechanism when hit. There are 6 moves to learn and master for each person (one for X, Y and B, and again with the right trigger held) and 9 passive ones that can be upgraded throughout the 30 level cap. The combat and customisable levelling are really decent and the level cap is spot on in my experience (thoroughly played co op and completed the game at level 29). Sadly it is a fairly short game, with me and my chums total game time being just under 10 hours, which includes doing almost all sub quests and getting lost or side tracked. Although, we did stick to just using 2 characters, which means it has a certain replay value with different gameplay available. Quests aside from the main plot, are fairly mediocre, just picking up certain items and taking down more creatures.
Players can buy and find gear to equip ranging through standard armour like helmets or cuirasses and jewellery like rings and amulets, and of course specific weapons - all of which have different appearances in game. Environments vary quite a bit with snowy avalanche prone mountainsides, rustic villages, tribal swamp jungles, robotic advanced cities and numerous large scale mansions and mines. It all feels a bit far from special though as the music is entirely forgettable, not ambient just ignorable. You're also far to busy taking on enemies and keeping your health up to be too engrossed in your surroundings. Conversations aren't exactly intense or as intriguing as other RPG's, mostly babbling on about impending quests and propositions. As you'd expect with such dry dialogue, the story is equally unimpressive and the game is more focused on becoming stronger. The graphics don't necessarily disappoint during gameplay at least, but considering the camera angle, it could easily be a big budget xbox live arcade game - the special effects and moves prevent it from being official. It feels like a small PC game.
In conclusion, it seems more worthy of a rental, which you can finish it in 4 or 5 sittings and most of the talking is so dull its completely outshone by the addictive fighting aspect. A shame its been largely ignored but perhaps the fact that its neither a big blockbuster or a cult franchise, is reason enough.