Diablo 3 Review:

So I just finished D3 (normal) and I have to say that I’ve got mixed feelings about this game.  Let’s break this up a bit and talk about graphics, gameplay, story, and the 500lb elephant… hmm, think I did that wrong.

Anyways, graphics; they’re good.  Man, and they say game reviewing is hard!  Ok, to be more specific, the graphics are darn good for what they are.  Diablo 3 is a 3-D isometric hack and slasher… so like Zelda but with more blood.  Granted it can’t be anything along the lines of Skyrim because of the multiplayer bit, the graphics are rich and very appealing.  I think the environment is so well done that it can just pull you into the game.  Personally, I have a hard time with the whole “camera 10 miles hovering over you” type games; it creates this barrier between player and character.  Which is why first person type games have such an easy time with immersion, and is utterly disturbing (like a clown sharpening knives outside your house at midnight disturbing) when any FP type game fails at it.  None the less, having the right visuals can draw you in, so the D3 graphics are like the shiny keys you jangle in front of an ADHD kid hopped up on 5hr energy shots.  Also, I’d like to throw in there that Blizzard is notorious for making their games not only look pretty nice (all things considered), but also letting them run on terrible systems!  I ran D3 on my laptop without any issue (on lowest settings of course)… I still have problems with SWTOR though.

Gameplay is an interesting thing in dungeon crawlers.  I’m kind of a noob to the genre so I guess it’s hard for an outsider to really see the appeal in it, but that said, objectively speaking, it’s pretty good.  The character builds seem pretty solid, though I mostly played a mage (wizard?  magician? man, I already forgot what they’re called!)… err, Coffinshaker of course, and didn’t have much issues going through the leveling process.  It seems like there are many builds that are quite effective, so it mainly comes down to your play style.  I haven’t tried the other classes yet, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re, for the most part, similar in this sense.  But while working on my character build, I couldn’t help but make the connection to their (Blizz) new approach to WoW’s skill/talent trees… wonder if that’s where they borrowed it from.

Anyways, what can I say about the combat?  It’s a hack and slasher.  If you like that kind of combat, then you’re in for a ride!  If not, well… you suck.  JK!  But really, who doesn’t like a good slash and hack every now and then?  Sure, I guess some stages need a bit of strategy, but for the most part you get into a groove and can blast away half the stage while half paying attention to Jersey Shore, or whatever you kids watch these days.  >)  I will say that some situations are extremely unbalanced.  For instance, there’s a boss at the end (like second to last) that WILL own you!  It just will!  My mage guy died probably 20+ times before having to google the event and look up the proper build to kill him.  My other build worked just fine prior, and after, that boss, but he does some nasty stuff so in that case I chock it up to poor progression design.

Other than that, D3 is Pokemon but with gear.  It’s like all that gear progression you get from WoW raiding, but totally randomized and infuriatingly repetitive.  You will throw so much magic gear into the trash compactor that you’ll wonder how in the world the global population isn’t completely suited up for invasion.  I mean, at first I was trying to stash it in the bank or sell it on the auction house, but after a while, I just didn’t even care.  I got more than enough crafting essences an so I just sold it all to the merchants… Heck, towards the end my bags would be so full of junk that I stopped porting back to the town to sell stuff… I’d just toss it back on the ground.  I’m sure there’s a guy in an Indian suit somewhere shedding a tear right now…

Now, as for story… um, how can I say it nicely?  It plays out like something a 9yr old wrote while on the bus ride home from school.  The Cliff Notes version can literally be written on a fortune cookie paper.  The plot is exceedingly obvious and the storytelling is so self referencing (to the past games) that if you are new to the series, you’ll pretty much be just nodding and grinning while holding out your hat for more spare gear drops.  TLDR, the story is bland and it makes me sad.  While folks argue that games like Skyrim have short main questlines, I would agree but also say that the sidequests offer more than 100 hours of pure exploratory fun!  D3 however is pretty linear and dry, while the bulk of the gameplay is done spelunking through dungeons for another epic hat, but with 1 extra point of damage.  Maybe this isn’t the genre for me, but this certainly hit my sore spot.  I would have really loved to see some intercharacter development, maybe a romance or two, or even some amount of side quests (other than the 5 seconds to kill 20 monsters attacking you).  I guess what I’d really want is the gameplay of D3 with the story depth of Dragon Age games.  Maybe next time… not like it took em long enough to develop it…

So let’s talk about elephants, shall we?  D3 had one of the roughest launches gamers have seen in a while.  Granted, most PC games don’t ever go so well for the first few days, but man oh man, D3 was very frustrating!  Now, like I said, this is nothing new for PC gamers (yeah yeah, laugh it up ya console junkies!  >) but what compounds the issue with D3 is the fact that it’s an online game, whether you play solo or not.  Because of this, you get hit with crashes, lag, reboots, or you just can’t log in at all.  I got one of those famous errors while in the middle of a boss battle.  Sufficed to say, I died.  Had I been playing Hardcore mode, I would be one angry shaker!  (hardcore mode deletes your character if you die)  In fact, in the state the game is in now, I don’t see how it would be possible to effectively play in hardcore mode through the finish without incident.  Maybe if you have good luck… I don’t so that won’t be happening.  Point is, major ball droppage with this one, though much of the major issues have been fixed.  I still get character killing lag sometimes, but that’s what SWTOR is for!  >D

Overall… good game!  I’d recommend it to a friend, though it might not be too high up on that list.  I’d say the driving force of this game type is the gear drops which forces replayability, which isn’t a bad thing!  I see it sucking people back in for hours and hours of more time, especially for achievement hunters!  But if you were looking for some story with substance, this isn’t the game you were looking for.  Again, all things considered, not a bad purchase so if you have some loose change, it’s something to consider.

Oh!  And for that comic… well… saying “spoilers” would imply that the plot wasn’t superficial, so let’s say the spirit of Diablo resides in one of the female main characters, or something like that, so when “he” pops out at the end, he kinda has some nice curves in all the right spots.  (though some say it’s because he absorbed some of the other bosses’ powers, one of which was a lady)  So big ol birthing hips, a thin waist, and some nice large chest armor (which have a striking similarity to… err… nevermind)… I think Sir Mixolot would approve!