At the time of writing this review, I’m currently unable to start Diablo 3, and no matter what I do – it just doesn’t work. The launcher keeps spewing an error – ‘BLZPTS0000F’ – which upon a little Googling tells me that I may have a damaged file and probably have to re-install the whole thing again.
However, having finished the game few days ago with a friend on the normal difficulty, I would say that the experience was quite engaging and incredible, although, I would love to be able to play the game again on higher difficulties. Please… Blizzard?
Diablo 3 is a connected game. You can jump into your friend’s game anytime and wreak havoc on the minions of hell together. I’ll admit that such a design is quite progressive, but the fact that you do not get an option to play offline leaves a bad taste in the mouth. A customer should not feel that he’s helpless after paying an exorbitant amount of money on any product. Maybe it’s too early to implement measures such as these, but lagging while playing the campaign isn’t something I am fond of.
So, then, onto the game itself. After having vanquished most of the prime evils like Mephisto and Diablo, and a bunch lesser evils in Diablo 2, there are two that still remain. This forms a core part of the story in Diablo 3 – with a bunch of twists and turns. The story, however, is not a strong point of the game; it’s the visceral in-game action that makes the game what it is. Expect fireworks, if four players work in tandem to defeat enemies and scourge their bodies for rare loot.
Act 1 takes place in the dark and gloomy town of New Tristram, and that also happens to be your camping spot for the entirety of the act. All the four acts in the game have starting locations where you can buy items in peace, and also store them in a chest which is upgradable. Just like Diablo 2, you have the option of transporting back to the base camp from anywhere in the game via a portal. You have to do this frequently to unload items for gold. By the time I finished the game, I had 150k gold in my kitty… not bad, I’d say.
However, the vendors in the game sell terrible things that no wise player would buy, unless they’re health potions of course. I did not buy a single weapon or armor, and that makes me question why these guys were in the game in the first place. Having a lot of gold with nothing interesting to spend it on in-game isn’t a pleasant dilemma I might add, excluding the auction house. There will be a bunch of these vendors in the base camp, usually selling different things and it will take you a while to figure out who sells what.
The game is quite similar to Diablo 2 when it comes to combat scenarios and the way the gameplay mechanics work. In other words, it’s a click-fest. All you will do here is click, click and click. However, the way you gain abilities and other things is designed a bit differently. As soon as you level up, you will unlock some abilities for your specific chosen character and have the option of padding it to any of the buttons on the keyboard. I personally would recommend a WASD scheme, as that is quite convenient instead of the default numeric buttons.
I chose the Wizard character, as ranged gameplay suits my style of play – and it was quite a surreal experience firing multicoloured lights in all directions to destroy enemies. I guess, this is when Diablo 3 is at its finest. The joy of using your powers to pummel objects and creatures is second to none. The normal difficulty, however, didn’t present much of a challenge even when played with a friend. It’s to be noted that the enemies become stronger if someone joins your game or vice versa. It took me approx. 16 hours to beat the main story, and the game offers plenty of difficulty modes like Nightmare, Inferno, Hardcore and so on.
Ah, yes, the Hardcore mode is quite tough here compared to Diablo 2. If you die, you stay dead and have to restart the game. I really wouldn’t recommend that considering the current server problems. I’d wait until its stable, but that isn’t stopping veteran Diablo players from having a crack at it, though. Who knows what those skilled Koreans may have accomplished till now.
There’s an auction house in the game, which means, you can sell rare items and vice versa. The real money auction house will go live later this month, and it’s the main reason why Blizzard implemented the always-on DRM. I do remember how Diablo 2 was hacked to death, but considering fresh reports of hacking prevalent in Diablo 3 already, I doubt whether that was a good choice. Currently, people are selling terrible items for a ridiculous amount of gold, but you can find some good ones if you have the patience.
Blizzard has employed a very good art style here which makes the visuals breathtaking in some places. The character models are a downer though – blocky faces and stuff. The boss fights are the huge culprit here as some of them simply look hilarious rather than intimidating. They don’t provide much of a challenge either in the normal difficulty and you can simply click em’ to death. There are a bunch of characters to choose from: Wizard, Demon Hunter, Barbarian, Witch Doctor and the Monk. All of them are unique in their own way and have a lot of abilities at their disposal.
I was at level 32 when I finished the game, and there are some level requirements you need to meet before tackling higher difficulties. So more grinding is in order. No worries, though. Diablo 3 provides plenty of dungeons for you to explore, which is also something very disappointing as the last two acts are a bit short. I don’t think Diablo 3 is as good as Diablo 2, mainly because I felt the bosses and the overall game design was much more memorable and immaculate in the latter.
There’s a lot of content here in Diablo 3 and the replayability factor is quite high as well. The game provides a connected experience, as you get to kill the minions of hell together with a friend or with complete strangers, which is all seamlessly interwoven together. The game is not without its flaws, but provides you the complete Diablo experience, and that’s something you need to experience if you have an interest in the genre the first Diablo game helped create.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Co-operative mechanics are solid. The art design is spectacular. There's a lot of content here. All the classes are unique and fun to play. It's a classic Diablo game.
Lag spikes while playing solo. The bosses are underwhelming. The story is average at best. The vendors are mostly useless.
The game is not without its flaws, but provides you the complete Diablo experience, and that's something you need to experience if you have an interest in the genre the first Diablo game helped create.