Dungeon Siege III Updated Hands-On: Katarina and Abilities Galore

We check out the gunslinging Katarina and find out what she brings to the loot-hoarding table.

The last time we had a hands-on with Dungeon Siege III, we had a go at using main character Lucas Mont Barron and teamed up with spear-wielding fire-weaver Anjali. We take another trip through the same stages from the last preview with the trigger-happy Katarina and, for a brief moment, magician Reinhart on the Xbox 360 build of the upcoming sequel.

For starters, we couldn't apply the melee approach with Katarina because, frankly, she isn't exactly good when it comes to getting up close and personal with spiders and highwaymen. Instead, we had to rely on combating them from afar by switching between her rifle stance and her dual-pistol stance. The former lets the gunsmith shoot at enemies from a great distance at the cost of a lower rate of fire, while the latter is useful when the enemies get a little too close thanks to the pistol's wide attack radius. As soon as we managed to snag an AI partner halfway in the early parts of the game--in this case, Anjali--our tactics were made clear: let Anjali take down enemies head-on while Katarina peppers the opposition from a good distance.

Katarina going all John Woo in the fantasy setting of Dungeon Siege III.

Katarina's default abilities help accentuate her ranged game. Heartseeking Shot lets loose a critical hit attack, while Caress of Suffering stuns an enemy for 13 seconds. Other abilities were up for unlocking as we leveled her up: Chosen Prey weakens an enemy to the point that it will always receive critical damage from hits. Furthermore, any enemy that dies while being afflicted with Chosen Prey will let out a damaging radius blast that harms nearby foes. Our personal favorite was Warding Ritual, where she lays down a purple field that knocks back anything touching it.

Switching between stances lets you mix up different abilities on the fly. For instance, after casting Warding Ritual while in dual-wielding stance, Katarina can switch back to her rifle stance to pick off enemies with hard-hitting shots while under the knockback protection of the purple ward. This combination proved useful in a particular quest set in the ephemeral forest known as Mournweald, as swarms of fishlike vodyai were prone to ganging up on the pair of adventurers. The AI-controlled Anjali was great at drawing attention with her fiery melee attacks, while Katarina proceeded to stand back behind said ward and shoot to her heart's content.

One has to ask: Why are her rifle bullets purple in the first place?

Leveling up also lets you allocate more points into boosting up current abilities to give additional properties via the Proficiency tab and activating Talents. We dabbled with the Proficiency tab and had a choice to tweak Heartseeking Shot: either we allocate a point on the Rapid Fire proficiency, which makes every kill from the shot give back six focus points per rank, or we put one on Magic Bullet, which makes every shot have a 5 percent chance per rank of ricocheting and hitting an additional target. Katarina's other abilities are up for modding: her Caress of Suffering spell can either reduce an enemy's defense and offense power or act as a mark that makes her leech life and focus points from a slaughtered enemy.

Talents beef up your characters passively. Each character gets 10 talents to choose from, with each talent being upgradable up to five ranks. In Katarina's case, we focused on Steady Aim (gets an additional 4 percent agility per rank), Thrill of the Hunt (buffs her power stat for each critical hit inflicted), and a few others that make her normal shots ricochet and hit additional targets and make her dodge roll damaging to those within the roll's path.

We didn't extensively check out the mage Reinhart like we did Katarina, but there are still some points to share. Like with Katarina, his abilities are better off used from a good distance, although his default Dynamic Magic stance lets him melee enemies with lightning-charged fists. The magic user has a few useful talents like Numismatics, which lets you pick up an additional 20 percent gold per rank from gold drops, and Dynamic Mastery, which "charges" up enemies for an additional 3 percent damage per talent rank provided that Reinhart hits them with Dynamic attacks.

While it's too soon to tell whether or not the rest of the adventure in Dungeon Siege III will mix up the "kill first, ask questions and loot later" formula, or whether the load times for menus and area transitions will be drastically fixed (bringing up menus takes a few seconds), the action seems decent, and the customization options for each of the four heroes warrant multiple play sessions. With the addition of two-player same-screen drop-in-and-drop-out co-op mode and four-player co-op mode, gamers can look forward to setting up their character and deciding their loot-hunting play styles when the game is released in June.

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Discussion

14 comments
SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

These previews have me feeling kind of mixed about this.

jasmine_arie
jasmine_arie

magic and ..guns? weird combination, which century are we in? but i hope d gameplay + story are great, been waiting this since DSII

SacredCrow
SacredCrow

Nice, looking forward to play it.

tamtamcool
tamtamcool

I don't know why so many people bother bringing negative comments, this game looks really nice at the moment. I don't see a reason to dive head-on into crap theories. Let's just hope our wish comes true and it comes out awesome. Do remember that they don't nor will tell you all of what's in the game, y'know, so cut the crap-talk.

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Wish they would talk about how fat loot is going to work..Thats what these games are all about..Like at least with diablo they are talking about the artison, an stuff..Im buying ds3 because im a fan of the series an one of few who are a fan of obsidion..Thats right i like them they may do buggy games as yall say..But at least there games are interesting..Ive played through alpha proto twice..Its a fun game...If they did more testing they would be a awesome company,,

Crimsader
Crimsader

I'm not getting my hopes up for this one.

franticfrost
franticfrost

hate anything to to with guns if im honest...will be staying well clear

firzok
firzok

Seems good and I am eagerly awaiting its release as Dragon Age 2 did not turned out to be as good as people were expecting it to be. I am sure many of my fellow gamers would want another party based RPG and this seems to be the one that might turn out to be quite good.

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Looks cool..Ill try this character once or twice..Look guys you have to go in with a open mind..See how the game is..Wish they would let us talk to the players who play the beta..So we get get a feel how this game is turning out..Hate that nda stuff..I know why they do it but its bull..If a game is bad they need to work on it and change it..Sort of like darkspore that games just bad..

Gamenapkin
Gamenapkin

Dungeon Diege 2 was VERY cool! Sure, there was nothing to gold farm or ninja loot. But, other companies took the effects and are using them in games like WoW and Torchlight. They were very explosive looking. Lots of unnecessary gore and sparkling lights. It was a guy's game. I saw the video above. That was tomb raider. Do I want guns in my hack & slash dungeon crawl? No. Does the world want guns? Yes. Pink bullets? idk...me gonna sit by campfire and wait.

WiredDreemz
WiredDreemz

DSII was a pretty decent game. I playe it several times, so I have high hopes for DSIII!

VercettiTommyy
VercettiTommyy

Dungeon Siege 1 was great so I hope they make it more like that and less like DS2, which I hate.