[PC] Diablo III
Note: this was reviewed prior to the major string of patches that essentially rebuilt the game
Diablo III (PC) Review
What was fun to kill in Diablo II? The corrupted rogues of the Cold Plains must have been a favorite. Pale as chalk, these demonic women would sprint after you with spears until you turned around and gave Ďem a few good swipes of the axe. Each girl reeled back from the killing blow, her tortured soul tearing from her chest, the pull of the spirit so strong that it left her corpse suspended in thin air Ė just for a fleeting moment Ė as gold coins gushed onto the grass below. And sheíd scream, but it always sounded euphoric, like a sigh of relief from that half second orgy of carnage.
The appeal of such games has always been hard put into words, aside from their sadistic simplicity. Kill things, take the things they drop, and pound your chest when they drop something awesome. While Diablo III makes both subtle and significant changes to this idea, it still follows the same fundamental formula. Twitch your index finger through legions of hell spawn until the source is traced to the devil himself, and then do it all again on the increasing difficulty levels of Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno. Itís all here, to an almost nostalgic tee, so whatís fun to kill in Diablo III?
Difficult to say, unfortunately. Not that Diablo III doesnít satisfy on the most basic levels dungeon hacking, in fact it has plenty to go around. Itís killing floors are constructed to impressive heights, from warmly lit cathedrals with harrowing buttresses, to sandy caverns where silhouetted arachnids can be seen stringing down from the cameraís ceiling. Thereís much work to be done in these mouth watering and destructible environments, even some pretty spells to throw around, but killing? Itís a term Diablo III doesnít take too seriously.
Because it feels rather superficial. Enter a haunted crypt, for example, only to be greeted by pudgy ghost men with shovels, a cuter enemy among other comparable caricatures. Those other minions-- like the evil cultists, serpents, and goat men Ė look more menacing, but succumb to a goofy display of ragdoll physics as their corpses lazily flop across the floor. And while concentrating a beam of arcane energy through a line of demons at the gates of heaven sounds juicy, the destruction ends in little more than a poof of sparks.
Bit by bit thereís a very juvenile atmosphere being fabricated here, pushed along by an intrusive form of storytelling. It comes in great quantity, in drawn out explanations and winded lines, with cheesy speeches about doom and destruction and featuring villains of the ďbwhahaĒ sort. Few were expecting anything at all from this department, admittedly, but Diablo III sinks to levels where itís legitimately unclear if itís intentionally mocking its own genre. Using the powerful spacebar spell will skip past all the nonsense, but such a parody is infectious. Slaying the devil himself as he recites lines that would stir laughter from anyone isnít exactly epic, nor does the gameís difficulty make these encounters any more memorable.
Itís a lack of intimidation that holds steady throughout the entire leveling experience. A difficulty spike would be expected when moving from Normal to Nightmare, but it decides to stay consistently mild. Even in Hell, there are only a few instances where a randomly generated miniboss will force you to consider a strategy. True enough, it may have you running back to your corpse a few times, or causing friends to frantically attempt at reviving each other as they evade lasers, fire balls, and ice explosions from the elite creature. But even these encounters, while hilarious, end up feeling much like fodder Ė or chores without reward.
Itís because people will gradually realize these creatures never carry loot worth getting excited over. Even after those dexterous boss fights that have you dodging pools of poison and grates of fire, the dropped reward never matches the battleís intensity. Like the unchanging difficulty, gear quality improves at an almost static interval, inching up your overall damage per second rating over the course of several playthroughs. There is nothing to pound your chest about here; perhaps at most a worthwhile drop will raise an eyebrow.
This means a lot of trash loot to pick up, too, where useless gear can be salvaged at the town blacksmith. But after hammering every magical item you find to bits of magical dust in hopes of creating something useful, the product of your craft is equally worthless -- a very expensive process that ultimately yields nothing (bless the first wave of players who had to figure that out). Itís largely due to an online auction house being at your fingertips, and so crafting a chest piece with 6 random attributes seems like an awfully poor investment compared to getting exactly what you need at more competitive prices.
The idea that gear will be equally lame for everyone is a concept that applies to skills as well. Each level gained unlocks new spells and abilities -- or different selectable variations Ė automatically. So while every Wizard technically has the same available arsenal of spells, the pull is that only 6 can be mapped at a time to suit current circumstances. The resulting problem is that no situation demands for enough strategy that this ever matters; at least until youíre through the better portion of the gameís three of four difficulty levels. Choosing to summon a hail of ice upon your enemies or to shoot lighting through their ranks is irrelevant apart from which particle effects you fancy more.
Assuming dialogue is skipped, that means 20-30 hours of leveling until the game even begins to work, 20-30 hours before you even need to be concerned about the skills youíve mapped to the controls. That roughly amounts to beating the game 3 times over Ė on Normal, Nightmare, and Hell difficulties -- until you see any semblance of difference between your Demon Hunter and your friendís Demon Hunter. Itís only at the cap of level 60 that youíre forced to think like a gamer again, and itís thanks to the brick wall called Inferno.
Here the game almost breaks, seemingly at the mercy of its own algorithms Ė and itís refreshing. The smallest of minions will suddenly eat chunks of your health, and the elite monsters roaming the gameís dungeons become the stuff of nightmares. The rare drops here are immense improvements over what dropped in the previous difficulties, and the game encourages you choose a flexible skill layout to win them. With each elite defeated, youíll enjoy an increased chance of looting valuable items, so long as you donít change your spell selection.
But it only solidifies the feeling that prior to Inferno was a game that continuously promised nothing to its players. And while the final challenge takes shape of a true game, itís hardly a perfect dungeon crawler itself. Itís now prohibitively difficult in areas, towards certain character classes more than others, showing little evidence of proper testing. And the skill system, though coming to strategical fruition, now demands everyone use the same viable set ups anyways, at least until better gear provides room for creativity. Itís a gruesome grind, though one where the godly character of your dreams finally lies in reach.
So to better answer the question -- of whatís fun to kill in Diablo III -- the award would probably go to the zombie that greets your entrance to the game. A clean bash from the Barbarian will send it flying apart in pieces, perhaps a good 10 yards back thanks to the physics engine. The death of the pathetic creature looks a bit silly, and sure, youíre not expecting it to drop anything good Ė but it stood as a promise of better things to come. And heíll be seen again after each difficulty, his promise becoming emptier and emptier, a rotting piece of flesh with no love to stitch him Ė or the game he mopes in Ė together. Itís not his fault, though. The poor guy.
Added pal, keep it up...and visit the other sections too. :)
I just downloaded the free version of Diablo 3 just out of curiosity. I'm a long, long time Diablo 2 player so it was only a matter of time before I started playing the third installment.
I've been asking around about the game and the biggest knock for most ppl was that there is no PVP. I guess that would be a problem for some people but for somebody like me who enjoys games even without PVP it doesn't really hurt my interest in playing it.
nice review , I guess it's safe to say the game is a bit repetitive . Ill have to make that judgment myself. :lol:
they've changed everything since the summer. it's a new game, so hopefully you'll have a decent time. new loot algorithms, inferno is completely changed, classes have been balanced more, there's even a prestige leveling system past level 60 now, i believe.
before that it really was a mess, though. even Blizzard had to admit they screwed up.
Blizzard has always been known to fix glaring issues and admit when they messed up on something, which is the biggest reason I continue playing their games.
I heard they were also coming out with a new patch where PVP will be included so that's certainly a plus. I'm just gonna' take my time, play the game at my pace and enjoy it. That's the best part about playing new games, IMO.
D3 is garbage. Get yourself Torchlight 2 and don't look back.
Never heard of Torchlight ..
Originally Posted by Vulgotha
Guess I'll have to do some research
You just gave me a great present idea for the gf!
Originally Posted by Vulgotha
If you don't mind me asking, Vulgotha, what exactly makes Diablo 3 garbage? I'm curious and I'm interested in hearing your opinion, as well as anyone who cares to chime in.
Originally Posted by Vulgotha
Alot of things. This is coming from an old school D2 player btw, I played that game for years.
Originally Posted by RyanGT
First and foremost, Blizzard got rid of Blizzard North (guys behind D1 and D2) and alot of the core team was subsequently lost. Including the lead. This helps put things into context for my criticisms.
The skill system is pretty much borked, it allows flexibility in playstyle I guess but there are only a few core builds worth a damn in D3 for any given class. For that matter, the playstyle and combat is watered down dramatically compared to D2 so it just feels like a lesser game.
Blizzard made a ton of promises like amazing cinematic executions (like the siege beast ripping the Barbarian in half during the big reveal) and then saying "that was never working. We just had a custom script for that presentation to do that, it was too difficult to us". Advertising and touting PvP which only just came to Diablo 3 in the past few weeks and it sucks.
Having this bullshit real money auction house system where Blizzard takes a slice of any and all sales- even in the non money auction house (where it's just gold) Blizz takes a chunk out of final sales too.
The loot system has gone through several revisions and the whole thing was frustrating and counter intuitive.
You cannot play any LAN games. You must always be connected to Battlenet.
The plot was stupid (I won't go into any spoilers, but fans of D1 and D2 should be proper pissed).
Jay Wilson (asshat professional) stated that there would be no ubers or key runs like in D2, but then once he realized his ship was sinking and the game had ZERO replay value he subsequently backed up and tried to add that stuff back in.
Inferno mode was more or less completely untested by Blizzard when the game hit retail (I think they even admitted to this). The balancing was not there, it was completely absurd. Keep in mind this game had been in development for over a decade.
The old lead (and basically sole guy) behind D1 and D2, who now works elsewhere, in an interview politely said that he would have "gone in a different direction" than what Blizzard had done with the game. Jay Wilson responded to this on Facebook with, and I quote, "Fuck that loser".
There's no more horadric cube for combinations. No more runes. Zippo.
The art style is decidedly World of Warcraft. Not the dark atmosphere of D1 and D2.
Oh, and Jay Wilson more or less got removed from D3 to go to "other projects" but the majority of the Diablo fanbase is pretty sure that he was a big enough screw up that they had to move his ass elsewhere. I pity whatever project he's connected to now.
Still, he can't shoulder all the blame here. Blizzard knew what they were doing for the past.. Decade that they were making this game. They had requirements and Jay Wilson had to meet them- but he's still an asshole.
tldr; The game looks & plays as though it's WoW-lite and you feel as if the entire point of playing it is to make Blizzard money constantly through hidden micro-transaction fees via the Auction House.
Fair enough. I've been reading around on the d3 forums among others and that's pretty much spot on with what the majority of people are saying about the game. It's really a shame, I've played D2 since the very beginning and just now got a computer that will enable to play D3 but from everything I've heard, it just isn't worth it. Hopefully they add in some new patches that make the game at least tolerable. I've heard once you play through the game once, the fun pretty much dies off... there's nothing to work for.
You suggest Torchlight 2..I looked at it briefly last night...kinda looks a bit similar to Diablo 3... what is that game all about?
Also, have you played Guild Wars 2 by any chance ? I played GW for years as well and think maybe I should go that route.
The team that made TL and TL2 are mostly the Blizzard North guys (D1, D2). Ergo it's ACTUALLY alot of fun and it doesn't screw you coming and going. Also, it's cheaper =D
I'm not big on the MMO scene. WoW and what it did to my friends left a horrid taste in my mouth, and I recognize that isn't very fair to other MMO's out there... But yea, I avoid them. I'd like to get into one that is kick ass sometime but I just don't know what would suit my fancy.
Originally Posted by Vulgotha
I'm gonna' do some more research on it. Do a lot of people play it?
Good review. I enjoyed it for a while, completed and then got bored doing the same thing against tougher opponents. Was good fun for 20 hours or so.