It's been around a week since Diablo III's launch and after spending a lot of time in-game, I think I am in a position to review it. The anticipation for this game was insane and it has gotten a massive amount of media attention, both positive and negative. Did the super popular game developer, Blizzard, live up to the expectation, or was Diablo III just hype?
I have to say, even now after playing the game a lot for a week, I still have mixed feelings about Diablo III. I've been having fun but I can't help but think that the only reason I am playing the game at all is because of how popular it is. So, I'll try to break down the different aspects of the game as best as I can.
The first Blizzard game I ever played was Warcraft III and I was really amazed by the story. Not many other games of the time had gotten my attention and kept it as long as Warcraft III did. Naturally, I became a fan of Blizzard back then. For me, the thing that stood out the most were the pre-rendered cutscenes. They were amazing back then for sure, even though they were short. Diablo III has them as well and are on par with what you would expect from Blizzard, but is it enough for a game in 2012?
While I am sure the Diablo universe has a deep lore (I was almost tempted to begin reading the books) the game's story wasn't most intriguing I have seen. That isn't to say that it's bad, but it wasn't delivered as well as it could have been. I think this is because of the type of gameplay, which I will discuss more in the next section.
As far as the length of the story goes - it depends. Some players have rushed through and beaten the game in 6 hours while I took over 16 in my first run. What makes the difference is how you play the game. Overall, there are 4 Acts, each starting off with a pre-rendered cutscene, with 2D class specific cutscenes in between and a final cutscene.
In essence, if you want a game with a strong story mode, Diablo III may not be for you. Instead, where it shines is more in gameplay.
Diablo is the creator of the dungeon crawler sub-genre of games. What this means is that you are put into dungeon-like levels, each randomly generated to an extent, with different mobs, drops etc. You have to move to your objective somewhere on the map, killing all enemies on the way. You will find regular mobs, blue and gold field mobs (elites and mini-bosses) and a few main bosses each giving better drops (mostly equipment) as the difficulty increases.
That brings me to my next point. When you finish the game on Normal mode, what do you do then? Why you beat out the game again, of course; this time on a harder difficulty setting. Once Normal mode is finished, you unlock Nightmare mode, then Hell mode and finally the insanely difficult Inferno mode. Inferno is for those who have reached the level cap of 60 and are looking for the extra challenge and even better drops. Personally, I don't like the idea of repeatedly grinding for no other reason than to get more gear so that you can grind some more.
If there is one thing I like about the gameplay very much is how easy it is to jump in and out of a game. Each Act, with the exclusion of Act 4, is broken down into 10 chapters. You can select any of these and either play them solo or in a public game with up to 3 other players. While I finished the game by playing solo, it's much more fun to play with others, where difficulty is ramped up to facilitate teamwork.
If you want to pick up Diablo III exclusively for PvP, you should hold off for a while. PvP was not included at launch and Blizzard said that it would be patched in eventually. However, without a definite date given, and knowing Blizzard's long delays for releases, I fear that PvP may be months away. Also, Blizzard won't be pushing the game as a competitive e-sport, so don't expect pro tournaments or even proper class balance.
Diablo III looks nice in an artistic way; it's the best I can imagine an isometric game looking. However there's only so far a game of this genre can go in terms of visuals. Yes there are some nice spell effects and character design, but there are so many other games that just look better. Of course, it's all a matter of opinion but from what I can tell with Starcraft II and now Diablo III, is that Blizzard is afraid to innovate. Diablo III looks like Diablo II with better graphics. Fans of the series will like that, but new players probably won't.
Those looking for character customization might want to look elsewhere. Aside from selecting a class and gender, the only customization of your appearance comes from equipment. You can't select height, hairstyle or eye color; it's not like you would be able to notice such customization given the game's camera angle anyway.
The game has a horror theme, so expect some blood and gore, demons and zombies. But it's so tame by today's standards, it might as well be rated T instead of M.
There's some music in-game and that's about as much as I can say. I never really notice the audio very much. There's no song that gets stuck in my head, although I could hear the Witch Doctor's cries as he casts Plague of Toads in my dreams.
Here is a list of my overall pros and cons of the game:
· Easy to jump in and play
- · Kill hordes of enemies (makes you feel powerful)
- · Lots of skills and combinations with runes
- · 5 different classes, some not so common in video games, like the Witch Doctor and Monk
- · Achievements
- · High replay value
- · Requires a constant internet connection to Battle.net, even for single player
- · Lag, even in single player
- · Playing the game depends on the availability of the servers, which have been down numerous times over the last week
- · Very grindy gameplay - kill thousands of mobs; get new gear; kill thousands more mobs; repeat
- · Multiplayer doesn't have dedicated maps - it's like single player but with friends (this probably isn't a real con)
I find it hard to score games on a scale of 1 - 10 sometimes but after some thought I've decided on
I'll be making some more videos, focusing on the bosses and maybe write some class guides. See my Youtube channel for more.