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Gauntlet Slot Machine

Riding on the coattails of its predecessors, Diablo III ingenuously tugs at our most primitive and simple pleasures, and at its core, the game's fun in the same way that a slot machine is fun.


As far as gameplay mechanics, the depth in character customization isn't really apparent until you reach around level 20, so you've initially got to stick with the whole click-fest drudgery before you can really experience all of what the game's got to offer. Also, it’s apparent that the designers really took their time to develop and balance the character skills, and it makes the game play like butter --this isn’t necessarily a good thing, however. While the new streamlined approach may appeal to the current generation of casual gamers, it feels like Blizzard’s more or less left the real Diablo fan base out in the cold by stripping the game of a proper skill point allocation system. Unlike previous Diablo games, you won’t have to commit to your skill choices and you’ll end up getting every skill your character can get, which opens things up for experimentation but lessens the sense of character uniqueness. Also, the whole Auction House thing, while fun in a Diablo III kind of way, seems to bastardized the balance of the core game, giving players access to otherwise out-of-reach equipment and making the in-game blacksmith and merchants largely useless.


As far as other things go, Diablo III is aesthetically really nice, and it won’t bog your system down with all its freshness. Animations are solid and the overall graphics have a really clean though quite un-Diablo-esque style (it fits in more with the style of World of Warcaft than it does Diablo what with the colorful look of things). As for the writing, while much of the dialogue is entertaining, the overarching story's pretty banal.


All in all, Diablo III feels more like a new Gauntlet than it does a new Diablo. It’s fun playing the game with friends, but there’s really no cohesive single-player mode to speak of. Even if you have fun playing it, you’ll certainly feel guilty afterwards for having sunk so much time into the thoughtless nature of your demon-slaying escapades.

 

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