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When I first started Diablo 3, I was immediately brought back to the good old days of hardcore runs with my brothers. Diablo 3 feels like more of the same when you get down into it and in a very rare situation, I am absolutely ok with it. Now, as a reviewer and an owner of a website, my time is incredibly limited and I must chose what games I will be playing and when I will be playing them. Diablo 3 is one of the few games I have had an absolute desire to come back to time and again in the short week it has been out. I’ve played the game with friends, other members of the gaming media and even with family. Every time the experience is different, simply due to the fact that the game can deliver a robust experience based off of how you play and who you are playing with.
More of the same
So, I just commented on how Diablo 3 felt a lot like the prior Diablo games. There is no doubt that the game is meant to look, sound and feel like a direct sequel and this should go without saying. However, many gripes that I have seen already with the game are that Diablo 3 doesn’t bring too much new to the dungeon crawler genre. It may not be the most original concept, but Diablo 3 presses on, the leveling and rune concepts work amazingly well and hell, the game is a good one. Things are more simplified in the case of town portals and item scrolls, they simply do not exist but are replaced by an ability to do them without. This is a little weird, one of the coolest things about the old Diablo games was wondering exactly what that unidentified item was in your inventory. You’ll also do a lot of right clicking, in fact if you haven’t, invest in a gaming mouse now.
Survival of the fittest
Diablo 3 still features the same difficulty levels that you may have become accustomed to if you have played other games in the series. Hardcore mode will still allow you to invest massive time on your characters, just to permanently lose them if a slight mistake is made that allows you to die. This is the best mode to play with friends, I promise, the risk/reward style of play that relies heavily on teamwork with the other players in your game makes this mode far more adventurous and epic. I got my witch doctor to level 18 before running into a random rare enemy in the fields that decided to wall me in, away from my friends, and mercilessly crush me. BillCosby, lvl 18 Witch Doctor, you will be missed. Boss fights have been slightly altered as well, I found that they felt like they utilized much more strategy than the earlier games. In the boss fights from earlier games, most major confrontations could be resolved by spamming abilities but in this new game, many of the fights require positioning or understanding of the boss’ tactics in order to move forward. There is a slight drawback as well, the strategies used to defeat these bosses do not really change in the higher difficulties, meaning the difficulty changes but the fight itself will not. This really would’t be a major issue except for the fact that you are required to complete earlier difficulties to unlock the progressively more difficult ones.
Skills to pay the bills
The last games utilized a skill tree style system, meaning you would have direct control over how your character leveled up. This time, stats are mainly handled automatically but the new skill system still allows you to chose your own style of play. You can equip your character with 2 different types of attacks, as well as 4 other skills that can be offensive and defensive. Each special attack and skill can be augmented with runes that are earned as you level throughout the game. With the combination of the runes and different abilities, you can spend quite a bit of time deciding exactly which skillset fits the current situation you are in. While not the same stat selection and skill tree system that was used in the past, Diablo 3 truly offers you the opportunity to customize your character and adapt them to your own individual playstyle. My first main character was a Demon Hunter, I enjoyed the fact that by changing his gear and his skills, he could function as a completely different character.
Making first impressions
The earlier Diablo games had decent graphics but were not ever the most visually pleasing games. Diablo 3 truly adds depth to the game with a breathtaking graphical update. Now, it isn’t Crysis 2 (or soon to be 3) but it does offer slick graphics to set the mood for every environment that you find yourself in. One of the most amazing places you will visit is in Act 3, as you are clearing the fortress ramparts, there will be an entire epic battle raging below you. You can actually stop and watch the fight to see the tide of battle change. The audio effects are spectacular, in fact I cannot stress enough how great the game sounds. The noises you hear will keep you on edge but along with the soundtrack it sets the perfect atmosphere for the game.
Ultimately, like I said before, Diablo 3 delivers as promised. There were a few snags when things got started, like the server issues and the always on DRM can be a bit of a nuisance. These issues rarely seems to effect gameplay though (I did have a few latency issues that caused me to bounce around). Repetition does take a little from subsequent replays but the game shakes things up a little with difficulty and dungeon layouts.
How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!
- This is a faithful sequel to the Diablo franchise
- Random dungeons help break up any monotony and keep the loot coming
- Beautiful graphics and audio
- Increased difficulties are worth the effort
- Progressive difficulties will not change battle strategies
- Always on DRM means you can NEVER play offline and lag in single player games
- A few of the streamlined features take away some of the awe that the franchise has had