Release Date: May 15th, 2012
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: [Reviewed: PC]
Genre: Action/Adventure,Hack and Slash, Dungeon Crawl
Rated: M for Mature
It’s been over a decade since Blizzard last published a Diablo game. Diablo II, released in 2000, amassed great popularity with an 88 metacritic score and over 1 million units sold in the first two weeks of availability. Joining the line of games created with years of development, much to the chagrin of impatient gamers, Diablo III was released in the wee hours of Tuesday morning and already it has gained much popularity though it has also garnered much criticism. Like other games that have been in development for many years, Diablo III was released to expectations that may not have been met, unlike other games however, Diablo III was well worth the wait.
A hack and slash action role-playing game like its predecessors, Diablo III brings both the familiarity of older games, with an in depth storyline and amazingly updated graphics. It also brings a few new features that have both been praised and condemned, more on that later.
The storyline in Diablo III starts out with you, the player character known as the Nephalem. You arrive in the town of New Tristram to investigate a fallen star after the events in Diablo II save the sanctuary. On arrival you find the town overrun with the undead and your adventure begins. I’d tell you more about the story, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. Just know this game is rich in dialogue and cut scenes.
Don’t be too upset though, the cut scenes aren’t intrusive and aren’t overdone. That is to say, there is much more playing than there is watching, though there is much to see. The environment in this game is breathtaking. The colors are rich and the detail put into the game can be seen by staring out into the backdrop where cities carved out of stone and caves dripping iridescences come to life.
That’s not all Diablo III gives us to look at. The game incorporates Blizzard’s custom in-house physics and 3D engine that feature destructible environments with in-game damage effects while sticking to that overhead view we are familiar with. So, Diablo III does feature a few new improvements, but still retains that quality that lets you know it is definitely part of a series.
In Diablo III, they improved questing by adding an enhanced quest system, random level generator and random encounter generator, making the game different each time you play and allowing for maximum replay ability. By far the best part, for those of you who like loot, is that Diablo III also has a built-in loot dispenser. No more fighting for loot with random people and no more getting stuck fighting the boss while your friends divvy out the spoils amongst themselves.
Each player gets their fair share of gold and loot and while you can’t see what the other player gets, you still are able to trade and sell your goods for what you want. Which bodes well for those wanting a little cash in their stash, or in their pockets because Diablo III not only has an in-game auction house, but it also has a real-world auction house; one where players spend in-game gold and another where players can buy or sell virtual items for real-world money. You can read more on the fees and taxes related to the real world auction house on Blizzards site.
The game also features hardcore mode for those wanting a little bit more of a challenge. Hardcore characters are just like other characters in game, with the exception that they have a fancy red name and oh, if they die they don’t come back. That’s right; if your hardcore character dies in game they are permanently unplayable.
So all in all, Diablo III is incredibly fun. It’s a beautiful environment with a rich storyline and great game mechanics, but there’s a catch. Unlike previous Diablo games, in order to play Diablo III you have to be connected to the internet for both co-op and single player games. This gives Blizzard more control over their copyrights but it also keeps the auction house and the game legit. Wouldn’t want players profiting from hacking in items to the real world auction house now would we? The downside to this is that if the servers are down, you can’t play. Unfortunately, as the game has been popular since its release Tuesday, the servers go down often for maintenance or just the growing pains of having a great game.
So in the end, Diablo III, while currently having its fair share of server issues at the moment, has pretty much proven that a decade old wait can sometimes be worth it. Perhaps the folks that made Duke Nukem should have taken a tip or two from Blizzard. The familiar gameplay, the improved questing, the randomizers and the beautiful environments make Diablo III an amazing game. If you don’t have this game on PC, get it. For those of you who play on a console, don’t fret too much at the moment as Blizzard is looking into the possibility of developing a console version of Diablo III. Though it might not be for a while if they do, so perhaps you should come over to the dark side and get yourself a PC.
Overall Rating: 5/5