The Lord of Terror is back!
I am a Diablo fan. I own Diablo on Playstation, playing co-op with friends when I can, and I still frequent Diablo II because of the deep game play and dark story line. These games are as iconic to video games as Mario and Sonic, and will continue to be for as long as they keep the series alive. These are great games, which have been crafted with care, and I’m happy to say that Diablo III isn’t any different. Blizzard has created another addictive game that will soak up a lot more of my time. If only they had kept the Necromancer instead of the Barbarian. Diablo III take place 20 years after Diablo II and its expansion. Since the heroes from II saved sanctuary, the game starts up its own story rather than continuing the events of II, using the lesser evil Belial as its main villain. As the story starts, there is a comet falling from the sky that gathers the attention of a new set of heroes, and pulls them back to Tristam where the game starts. This time around, we meet Leah, Deckard Cain’s niece who seeks out your help to save Cain after the comet lands on the cathedral her and her uncle were in. It’s pretty straight forward, but pulls you in from the moment you start playing. From this starting point, you immediately see the difference 10 years has made as you see the world come to life before you. While Diablo III isn’t the most visually stunning game, the graphics are immersive, pulling you in to the dark world of Sanctuary. I have a feeling that this game will still be played for many years because of the art direction the creators took. Diablo II is very dated, and the pixilation has never been more apparent, as it is when you compare the two games. This upgrade was needed, but the cartoon like visuals create a feel that will last. Other than the always on DRM, the sound and music has been my biggest disappointment. While Blizzard didn’t make a ton of leaps and bounds with Diablo III, the game play mechanics are solid and tight. This cannot be said for the sad recycled sound track that plays through the game. “Recycled” may be a strong term since the music wasn’t directly lifted from Diablo I&II, but it is a little too reminiscent at times for my tastes. With a game this good, I expected more in this department. The sound effects are fine, and the voice acting is competent enough, despite being bogged down by some sub-par writing. I actually remember laughing out loud at one point because the dialogue was a little too cheesy. This is all redeemed by a deep lore that is rich with information on history, enemies, and side quests. All of which is read to you, keeping the fast paced action going, instead of forcing you to stop and read. As I said with my Darkness II review, this is the kind of thing I really enjoy in games, so Blizzard really hit home from me with this. The story itself isn’t the strongest I’ve experienced in the medium, but it’s good enough, and rarely distracts you from the real gem here; the game play. At its core, Diablo III is a resurrected friend from the past, brought back to life, so that we can enjoy it once again. This is hack and slash done right, forcing you to never stop looking for that next piece of loot. It’s addictive and consuming, pushing you ever forward to the next check point. It can be a little too easy at times, but that’s why we have harder difficulties to challenge us beyond the first play through. Like most developers, I don’t think I can fault Blizzard for wanting to make the game more accessible to a larger audience.
I find myself craving more and more time with it
Being an old school fan, it took some time to get over the changes in game play, but now I can see why the changes were made. Blizzard wants us to play with all five characters, instead sticking to one class ad Infinitum. Instead of skill points, you now unlock every skill as you progress, with everything relying on loot stats, rather than an unforgiving point system. This allowed me to experiment more and thus enhanced the fun I had, instead the frustration. I got to see every facet of the Witch Doctor as I journeyed through the main quest, and figured out what I enjoyed about the character. The real experimentation doesn’t take place until the end, but you progress fast enough to keep trying out new things. The rune system adds something to the game, but it feels limited at times, bottle necking you into certain play styles. While there are a number to variations on each skill, I really wanted it to be more diverse. I wanted more, with the runes being more akin of pick-ups, rather than unlocks, but it does change the game enough at the right intervals to keep me pushing forward and trying new things. Once again, you are given followers which help to compliment the play style you choose. I used the Templar the most because he was able to soak damage while I would cast spells, and summon pets. There is also an enchantress who uses magic, and a scoundrel who I didn’t use. They are upgradable, with you making a choice of two skills at certain levels. I never felt like the follower skills did much on my play through, but the characters themselves saved my butt on more than one occasion. In my time with the Beta, I used the monk, who is a melee, martial artist. I really enjoyed his fast paced beat-’em up play style and I’m looking forward to my next play through so I can use him again. I’m already hoarding loot for when I start. The other classes are Wizard, Barbarian, and Demon Hunter. Each class has their own unique styles of play, and each is a worthy addition to the world of Diablo. I have no doubt that I’ll play through with all of them. My issues with the game aren’t easy to express because I can understand why Blizzard made the decisions they did. My first real issue, which is inexcusable, is all of the problems I had getting the game to download and install. I couldn’t play at all the first day because of this, and it was extremely frustrating. In hind sight, the servers were down, and I probably wouldn’t have been given a chance to play anyways. This brings me to my next issue; the always on DRM. This isn’t a deal breaker from me since I’m rarely without internet, and have better things I should be doing pretty much all the time, but it is annoying, and being dropped from a server has forced me to replay a significant chunk of the game because I didn’t make it to a check point quick enough. I was very frustrated at the time, but that was eased when I realized that my characters progress was saved, just not my story progress. My time with the game has been mostly positive, and I can say that I love playing it. I find myself craving more and more time with it, despite personal constraints. It’s hard for me to find a game that is as addictive, so I relish one that is. Diablo III isn’t a masterpiece, but it is a damn fine game that deserves a good score. The always on DRM may not be a deal breaker, but it does keep me from feeling like the game is entirely mine. As a single player kind of guy, I hate to think that I can’t pick it up and take it with me whenever I want. Either way, it’s out of my control, so I choose to apprec
iate what I’ve been given, which is a fun game that will keep me coming back for years. In today’s time, when there are so few games like that out, this one deserves every positive comment it gets. Buy this game, you won’t be disappointed.