The key to victory is in knowing who you're fighting against and which stance to tackle them with. Predictably there's a wide choice of upgrades to tinker with when levelling up. Skills and spells are mapped to the top three face buttons (a is your standard attack button and RB is the catch-all 'open/investigate/pick-up' action input) and change depending on your stance.
Even more moves become available when you adopt Defensive and Empowered mindsets by squeezing L and R respectively, although you'll need to have stored up Power Orbs to use them. And the only way to collect those is by frequently unleashing your standard Abilities to both drain and replenish your Focus meter.
EHB AND FLOW
Compared with its console competition the action is busy to the point of exhaustion. In Torchlight it's fine to wade into battle hammering A and occasionally topping up health with a potion, but here that tactic only buys you an early grave.
DSIII's an exercise in juggling: juggling inputs, juggling on-screen information and modifying your strategies to best compete with what the game's throwing at you. Failure to keep switching your stance or to watch your partner will be punished more severely than in similar titles where revitalisation wellsprings crop up frequently for instant resurrection.
It doesn't help that fights can be a little confusing. With HUD indicators flagging up foes more clearly than players it's easy to lose track of who you're in control of: not a good thing to happen in the middle of a major battle.
It's an issue easily rectified with a small HUD tweak, however, and as it's about the only glaring issue in the runup to launch, it's one issue Obsidian should pick up on before the game ships. Otherwise, we're pretty excited about this one.
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