The lights are on
So here we are. After 12 years Diablo III is finally here. Personally I didn't think there would even be a third game. The second game pretty well wrapped it all up, Much like the Ending of Aliens there wasn't really room for a sequel. However, unlike the sequel to that film, Diablo III is pretty damn good. Is it flawed? Sure, in a lot of ways. That said, it's still a wildly addicting game that I'll probably be playing for quite some time. Perhaps not to the degree of the first to though, and let me tell you why in this review! I'll break it down!GameplaySo, perhaps the most important thing to note is that this aspect of the game is pretty much solid. The point and click action is simplicity embodied. Much like the last two games it is easy to pick up and get into. However, unlike the last two games the number keys are not for potions or scrolls. Instead 1-4 are for your skills. This was an unwelcome change at first as I didn't much like the sudden shift. It was fun being restricted to only two skills at a time rather than six (I'll explain). Now you have a skill on both mouse buttons and on the 1-4 keys. The more I played like this though, the more I liked it. It was nice to do a charge attack then send a shock wave at enemies and finally top it off with a thunderous leap attack to finish the group off. (Barbarian ftw!). This was a pretty solid change and one I think works, however the trade off is that all potions are mapped to the Q key and it's just healing potions and there is a cool down for using potions unlike the past two games. This often got me killed at first until I discovered the health globes. I don't like this change because it betrays the potion spamming goodness that was Daiblo 1 and 2. Another issue is the new town portal system. Now you have to charge it up and you can open a portal, no you teleport and (theoretically) fart the portal out of your ass when you arrive in town. Blizzard said that players used the portals as a crutch, but I disagree, when you died in Diablo II your body and all your stuff stayed there and you had to run and get it. Opening up a portal in a boss fight was essential. Plus now it's just a click away, no more scrolls or tombs. Same with the identification of items. you just right click items that are unidentified and boom, you know what it does..HOW!?! The scrolls worked for Diablo and now they are just gone with the mana potions and basic strategy.. The loot system is largely the same except that it feels less valuable thanks the the auction house. This concept makes it pointless to work for what you get. You can just buy the best items with some in game gold instead or just REAL MONEY! (a very stupid idea kids, don't spend real cash on a sword for Diablo, you should buy stuff like drugs and prostitutes like me!) That all said it's very solid gameplay wise. Feels enough like the last two games and you don't HAVE to use the auction house, though I do (because I am a weak hypocrite). The online is pretty awesome too, it's real easy to join or invite people and the co-op is quite rewarding. My barbarian and my friend's witch doctor really bounce off each other well in combat. (I do all the damage and he sends his minions with me for back up while he has a smoke and reads Game of Thrones.) I will say though that the game has some installation problems and the DRM really does a lot of harm. Having the game online all the time tells me that I don't completely own it. I can't play it if I have no internet. Listen Blizzard, Diablo isn't an MMO. DIABLO ISN'T *** WoW! Stop acting like everything you make has to be online only. Not every part of the US has stable internet. You need to allow an offline mode for the sake of your fanbase. Hell, those offline characters don't have to take up room on the servers as they can be unable to participate in multiplayer or the auction house. That would be fine with me, just let me play the game without worrying about it crashing due to internet failure. Also Single player lag is the main reason I get killed in this game. Oh! That's another thing, this game is too damn easy. Diablo was a pushover! I remember in Diablo II when no matter what class you were you were gonna get your ass kicked by the lord of terror, now I just annihilated him. The same can be said for most everything in the game. Except for the Inferno difficulty. I guess Blizzard doesn't believe in scaling difficulty, no, they just make it super easy and then make it so *** hard you wanna rip your hair out for no damn reason! Though the classes are fun. They are all pretty distinct in their own way. I played the Barbarian (if you didn't already notice) because he was the only character I wanted to use at first (I miss the paladin) but the rest of them are actually a lot better than I thought they'd be. I do hope for new classes soon though. (Blizzard doesn't know the meaning of soon, so I wouldn't count on that). I also enjoy the new follower system. Instead of an expendable and mostly useless merc (I named mine dead meat) These new guys, Templar Soundril and Enchanchress (I would marry that girl if she were real) can take care of themselves and they all have personalities, things to add and their own set of unique skills, it's just too bad there is only 3 of them. I may sound very angry about this, and I kind of am, but it's really not that bad once you accept that you have to re-learn how to play Diablo. It's still very fun to play, there are just a lot of little thing that bug me about this game. (FORESHADOWING!) Story/PresentationThe story for Diablo II was wonderful.(Wasn't much of a story in the first game until I read about it on Wikipedia! Seriously that's sad when a game can't tell you what the *** is going on, but I forgive Diablo I for it is still amazing) You had to stop the prime evils from destroying the world, it was a cat and mouse game where you had to chase them down before they did some evil thing here or there. The plot felt big and it was well told. There were twists and turns, memorable moments and the antagonists were really great. Diablo III however doesn't have anything on the level of the second game. The plot is cheesy, littered with plot holes and stinks of a lame hollywood block buster style narrative. Basically you seek a falling star, find it and it's some dude who fell from the sky (called who it was right off the bat) and you embark on a quest to stop the last remaining lords of hell from taking over the world as the falling star is a sign of the end times (though that never really gets expanded upon). When you do finally beat them and trap them forever with the use of a black soul stone (McGuffin alert!) turns out it was all part of Diablo's evil plan to become the one true prime evil. (DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNnnnnnnn). It sounds good in theory but the execution makes it feel predictable and painfully forced. That is basically the entire plot of this game in a nutshell. Predictable and painfully forced moments that aren't great like in the second game. Sure there are some cool moments but I never felt as engaged and invested in this thing as I did in Diablo II. In D2 when I finally got to Baal I was ready to finish that *** off once and for all. He evaded me for far too long and I wanted his blood! In this, I was all like, oh! Hey look Diablo! Cool let's fight again old pal! No rivalry or anything, just a bland story that often just annoyed me. Also, PLOT HOLES EVERYWHERE!!! If Tyriel's fall raised the dead of those unjustly slain when why did it bring back the skeleton king and the Butcher? How does nobody know when people who are obviously gonna stab them in the back STAB THEM IN THE BACK?! What happened to Adria at the end of the game? Everybody just kind of forgot about her! What about Leah's soul? Is it just gone? Yes? Well that was a crappy send off to a decent character! Why did they just toss Diablo's body (and the McGuff-err...Black soul stone) off a cliff? Why not take that McGuffin stone and keep it somewhere safe where evil forces can't find it?! I could keep going! Honestly, the plot for this game was really lame. The ending was painfully abrupt too! I don't get it, Blizzard has crafted some great stories in the past, hell the dialogue is good and the characters are well written, but the plot is just stupid. However, the music and voice acting is quite solid and the cenimatics are just amazing, like, seriously they are some of the best cinematics I've ever seen. Though the in game stuff really doesn't jive with me all that well, seems kind of like I should be able to do something in those situations. You'll know what I mean when you play it (if you haven't already, and if not, how do you like living under a rock?) Also, I should mention that this game does feel a lot like Diablo, but only some times, other times it feels more like WoW. Magda for example was a character who really had no place being in this game. She is all bright and colorful and fairy looking. Diablo is dark and grim. Gritty, not colorful. That brings me to my next section! (lame segue is lame) GraphicsDiablo III graphically is actually pretty good and what I expected it to be. Having that many enemies on screen at once while running something like the frostbite engine might kill a computer or two. Plus for the most part it looks like Diablo except for a few places that seem far to bight and colorful and dare I say, WoWish. Again, not everything has to be WoW Blizzard. Not every one of Valve's game are like Half Life and not every one of Bioware's games are like Mass Effect, similar sure, but they know how to make their games distinct. You guys seem to only know how to do the same thing over and over (and blatantly rip off of Warhammer). That all said, Diablo III looks fine. I like the game's art style for the most part and The fact that I can run it on my computer without fear of falling frame rate or overheating my computer is a good thing. So the slightly WoWish elements are forgiven. In closingAt the end of the day I have a lot of mixed feelings about Diablo III. The plot sucks but the writing is decent. The gameplay is fun but feels dumbed down or restrictive for no reason. The graphics work but also feel too much like WoW. I have a hard time getting a read on this game really. I love it but there are things about it I hate. But they are mostly for my own personal reasons as I'm a fan of the first two games. Hell, those games helped define my childhood and I still play them regularly. They have longevity that most games only dream of having. This game has that all but to a lesser extent. It's like you guys lost sight of what made Diablo Diablo (Also you closed Blizzard North, but hey, we got Torchlight out of the deal so it's not so bad). So at the end of the day I can't be too hard on this game. It's still really good and I'm glad I own it. I guess it's a flawed masterpiece in a way.
8.0 out of 10Pros-point and click action is as solid as ever-Good graphics for what it is-Followers are more interesting and can take care of themselves-Good voice acting and characters-new use of skills in combat is actually a nice improvement-loot system is still wildly addictive if a bit devalued by the auction housecons-The Auction house ,however, does still devalue the looting and make searching for that rare item seem pointless-A lot of the core mechanics from D1 and D2 are done away with or dumbed down-The story is just crap-The DRM negatively effects how the game plays.-Seem a bit too much like WoW at times
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