Video Game reviews and articles for console, PC games, and MMO's

Diablo 3 Review (2012)

Diablo 3 Review Title card

  

  As hard as it is to believe, fans have waited over a decade for this the latest installment in the Diablo franchise.

 

  A lot of people think of the Diablo series as strictly hack and slash (or click, click, click) game play. But under the surface, Diablo has always had an intriguing storyline and a great cast of entertaining and colorful supporting characters.

 

  Diablo 3 takes place 20 years after the events that concluded at the end of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. The latest chapter in the story begins with an old friend that fans of the Diablo series will know all too well, Deckard Cain.

 

Deckard Cain

Stay awhile and listen.

 

  Cain is the last surviving member of an ancient cabal known as the Horadric Order; it has always been the order's mission to oppose the powers of hell.

 

  In Diablo 1 and 2, several of the lords of hell were defeated including Diablo Lord of Terror, Mephisto Lord of Hatred, Duriel Prince of Pain, Andariel Maiden of Anguish, and Baal Lord of Destruction, but Cain knew that two lords of hell yet remained Belial Lord of Lies and Azmodan Lord of Sin.

 

  Cain continued his work while keeping an ever watchful eye out for any signs that the powers of hell were once again on the move.

 

  As Diablo 3 begins Cain finds himself once more in the abandoned village of Tristram. He is not alone, now having a young ward named Leah who calls him uncle.

 

Leah Diablo 3

 

  Cain and Leah venture into the ruins of the cathedral that had at one time been an ancient monastery of the Horadric Order, Cain is searching for any information that might reveal what the remaining lords of hell might be up to.

 

  The research mission comes to an abrupt halt when the cathedral is struck by a falling star. The end of days is now upon us.

 

  Diablo 3 has several different classes each with its own unique play style; the classes are Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard.

 

  Character customization is extremely limited with the only choice being the selection of either playing a male or female character for each class. The look of your character will change as you find and equip new items; thankfully a dye system has been put into place so that you do not have to worry about looking like a rainbow has thrown up on you.

 

  Once you reach level ten with any character, you open up the option to create "Hard Core" characters. This is not an option lightly chosen as any character that dies in hard core mode is dead and gone forever.

 

Wizard Diablo 3

I find the Wizards methods rather shocking...

 

  Diablo 3 has four different difficulty levels, Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno. Each new difficulty level ramps up the challenge quite nicely, requiring you to be more strategic and careful as you progress deeper into the game with each play through.

 

  As you advance along in Diablo 3 you will meet three different hirelings that you can choose between to come along with you on your adventures, they are the templar, scoundrel, and enchantress.

 

Diablo 3 the bridge

Bridge over troubled water.

 

  Each hireling has their own strengths, weaknesses, and most important of all personality! Often throughout the game I found the banter between my character and the hireling quite amusing, especially when the hireling starts discussing one of the other hirelings.

 

  Hireling A.I. is pretty good and I never found myself screaming at my hireling for getting us into more trouble then we could handle.

 

  Blizzard expanded the lore of the Diablo universe immensely with this release and thankfully all of the journal entries that you find scattered throughout the world are fully voice acted! No wall of text here to worry about.

 

Not the great wall of text

Audio good!

 

  The music, when it plays has a very grand and epic feel to it. Unlike previous Diablo games, the music is not always playing, which I think is a bit of a misstep on Blizzards part.

 

Barbarian D3

Slice and dice

 

 Diablo 3 could easily have been marketed as a B2P (buy to play) MMO, in fact it has a lot of similarities to an MMO. You have an auction house where you can sell items to other players, a crafting system, a chat tab to talk to people while playing, and the ability to team up with others if you want to. Unfortunately Diablo 3 also has all of the downsides of an MMO.

 

  First to help combat piracy and cheating Blizzard requires you to play Diablo 3 online and on their servers. This quickly kills any desire to play a hard core character as one lag spike will undo hours of hard work.

 

  As launch day showed us, having to be online for a single player game is just plain aggravating, error 37 became infamous within just a few hours of launch, with players commenting on how tough Diablo 3 was because you found yourself constantly wiping at the login screen.  

 

Diablo 3 Error 37

 

  Servers go down for maintenance, this does not happen in an offline game. If that downtime just happens to be the only time that you have free time, well you're out of luck.

 

  Let's face it pirates will eventually create private servers for Diablo 3 as they have for every other MMO, and there has already been a rash of cheating in the game, so the always online DRM has done what DRM always does, punish the paying customers.

 

  The general chat room is limited to 99 players per room, most of whom, in my experience so far happen to be gold farmers/spammers. Blizzard really needs to work on a way to reduce the spam that the gold farmers generate in the chat channel as it stands now chat is nearly useless.

 

  In the future Blizzard will be implementing a real money transaction auction house, folks this means that Diablo 3 will truly be a pay to win MMO.

 

  These problems aside the game is very addictive and fun, well worth the $59.99 price tag for the digital edition. I can see myself playing this game on and off for years to come much like I have with Diablo 1 and 2.

 

  Now for some simple advice to make your first play through experience a little smoother.

 

1. Focus on your class's main stat and vitality when selecting which gear to use. This will help to increase both your damage output and survivability.

 

2. Hold off on crafting, your money is better spent on getting good gear from the gold auction house. The crafting system is way too random when you do a cost to benefit analysis.

 

3. Don't overload on magic find until higher difficulty levels.

 

  Overall the story is fantastic with great moments throughout, the supporting cast is as colorful and entertaining as ever.

 

Final verdict for Diablo 3 9/10 Great story and game, hampered by limited character customization and the need to be online all the time.

 

~Professor

 

 

 

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