Take a Seat for the End of the World
Diablo III. (PC)
Written by: Vaughn Collins.
Ladies and gentlemen prepare to revisit Tristram once again in Blizzard's new juggernaut of a computer game Diablo 3. It has been nearly over a decades since gamers everywhere have taken their eyes on the latest Diablo game. Would this be the time to pick up this new title?
I will try my best to not divulge any huge spoilers in this game but, if I do I warn you now that there would be some mentions of characters that are met along the way so read at your own risk. With that said, Diablo 3 takes place 20 years after the events of Diablo 2 with fan favorite Deckard Cain studying ancient texts when out of the blue a strange meteor falls from the sky. Deckard Cain goes into pursuit to see what the meteor actually is. Now this is where your level 1 character makes his or her debut. You have the option of playing as either a barbarian, a monk, a witch doctor, or a demon hunter (I will return to these characters later). Each of these playable characters have their own reasons as for searching for what the meteor is and why it has landed nearby New Tristam. The story then continues over the course of four acts that, for the most part, set a decent pace for the story that Diablo 3 is selling. Some acts feel that they draw on more than others with large open areas for you the player to explore for better loot that drops from enemies. As you progress you begin to see that the story doesn't essentially live up to the hype of its introduction. There are the standard search for more information about the whereabouts of the strange occurrence to let's save a town from a devious demon. It is pretty basic save the world storytelling that begins to wear you down as you keep progressing from act to act. This becomes more prevalent once you reach the final act. I must say...the ending is something that comes so quickly that it is unexpected and makes the game's story as a whole...underdeveloped. Yes, there are books that lay around the open worlds and dungeons that could be picked up that explain more of the back story on the demons and environments that you search through, but as a whole you are just left wanting more. Diablo 3's story is a dull one.
Graphics and Sound:
The game itself looks amazing from afar. The amount of detail that goes into each area is at first amazing. Key word is at first. However once you zoom in on your character, you notice that there is nothing but blocky character design that just looks bland. This includes most of the enemies as well, which also tend to repeat through each act as you progress using the same strategies throughout. Also the many different areas that you explore do look great from afar, but once you enter dungeon after dungeon then you begin to notice a certain pattern. A lot of the areas that you are visiting are other areas that you have seen before, just re-skinned and randomized in such a way that you don't notice right away. Overall, it is just a lazy attempt to redirect the player into thinking that they are in another area that isn't the same as the previous one that they were in. Although, as you are exploring each of the familiar areas and destroy enemies the sounds of you tearing into your victim is there. It sounds like the real thing; if you cleaved your enemy to bits, they fall into bits across the ground in a bloody mess. If you exploded your enemy with a spell of sorts, they explode into a fine mist where they once stood. Truly...it is amazing to watch and truly awesome.
Diablo 3's HUD is easy to keep a tabs on with health and magic displayed to the left and right respectively and other skills placed in between with four skill slots that could be customized to your will
Here is the fun part. Diablo 3 could be played solo or with a group of 3 other human players from all over the world. Once you play with another person the difficulty increases which results in more experience and better loot drops. It is truly how Diablo 3 is meant to be played. Adding perks such as if you were to fall your buddy could revive you where you stand, you could also trade items and gold between other players. Loot is also your own so there is no fighting for loot drops!
Depending on your character choice you will use either your brute strength or magic to get through the toughest of enemies that dare to cross your path. Each area has dungeons that spawn in at random, locations that are open to you at random, and even the loot that you find on the ground is random. This creates a different experience each time you boot up your game of Diablo 3 because most things are not in the same spot as your previous play time. As you explore, fight, and loot just like in typical Diablo fashion you will grow in level and unlock more devastating skills to use at your disposal to make your created character un-defeat-able. You have your skills set to which ever you choose on your easy to read hot bar. Now, you first start the game on normal mode which isn't that much of a challenge on your first run through. Although there are some challenging enemies that come to challenge your character in the form of golden or elite enemies, that have unique names attached to them along with trait attached to them. What I mean by this trait is that these stronger glowing enemies of gold and blue could have plagued (which creates pools of poison over the ground that they stand and where your character stands) or reflect damage. The boss fights as well are varied due to the varying size and the different attacks they use to halt your character in their tracks. At this point you would actually need to pay attention to the battlefield around you and work hard at trying to just whittle the health down of the boss and instead work on trying to utilize your abilities to the fullest.
To get full use of your abilities, you will need the best armor to boost your stats. You could go the old fashion way of buying items in the few stores that are in shops, or you could craft them on your own through the means of the blacksmith which you unlock early on. Eventually you can even craft gems which could be used to further advance your stats through socketed armor and weapons of all kinds. Another option to gain gear could be found through the auction house. Here you could sell and buy items that are crafted or dropped as loot could be sold for in-game money or real life money. You can get some of the best gear for your level for the price you want and the stats that you desired with its easy to use search filter. But more on this topic later.
So, you reached the end of the game and you are rewarded with that disappointing ending...now what? You've now unlocked a harder difficulty! You could either replay an act on the same difficulty or try your hand at a harder difficult level. There are now more enemies that are at a higher level which offers more experience and more loot to boot. This is where I believe Diablo 3 begins to shine. The difficulties after each time you defeat the game the first time around are Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno. Each scaling the difficulty for those who dare to reach the max level and some of the best loot in the game. This provides the player with a very strong sense of challenge as they would need to scratch their brains and their reflexes as to which skill they would need to use at the exact moment so that they could survive the onslaught of tougher enemies. This is where the true challenge of Diablo 3 comes in especially when played with other friends. There have been moments where I've been in awe at how difficult and rewarding it can be.
The Game as Whole:
I'd have to say, Diablo 3 was and is a good game. However, by no means does that make it a perfect one. With its rough start with the infamous error 37 messages that gave players headaches and other errors that barred people from playing Diablo 3 since the release date. There have been numerous patches that have been made to the game since then to have an attempt at making the gameplay seem..."better". It provokes the question of "was this game initially a full game or was it just a rush job"? I say this because of the lackluster story and the numerous patches to the game. This goes along with my other points of the character customization and auction house (yes I didn't forget coming back to them). You cannot do anything to your character beyond picking their gender and class. The only thing that you have control over in terms of character customization is the armor dye color. Yes you do get some interesting armor as the level goes up but you can't change any of it except the color so you have the potential looking like a goofy warrior for most of the game unless you invest in some dyes.
Warning: Your characters might not look this cool
In that aspect, Diablo 3 is seriously slacking in a field in which RPGs have been well-known to have a robust customization attribute. The next topic that is worth bringing up is the auction house. While it does provide a way to get some of the best items in the game for a specific price, it's set by the people who sell them for real or in-game money; but by doing this you essentially offset most of the challenge of the game. You could buy a complete set of armor and weapons that could make you severely overpowered for a part that is supposed to give you a challenge. Also, this puts jewel-crafting and blacksmithing almost obsolete because there is no need to have any of it when you could buy items cheaper. The same could be said for the shops. Just why bother at that point. Diablo 3 if the auction house is used becomes a game that requires the player to farm gold through collecting loot to sell or replaying chapters for gold. Diablo 3 is a game that just feels incomplete as what it is trying to accomplish. It tries to hard to sell a believable story and the auction house essentially detours players from actually enjoying the random loot and dungeons that occur in the game. But I must say, the journey to level 60 is a fun one. I still go back to this game no matter what bad things could be said to this game because I love to grind out those levels and see how each class plays differently. It is a very fun experience that could be had solo or with friends. I'd have to recommend this game because of its re-play ability and the random probability that you might find something even more useful a few days later after you've stopped playing. It's a difference experience each time the game is booted up. Go out and play Diablo 3 and enjoy loosing yourself in hours of leveling.
- Each time the game is booted up you will be greeted with a different experience each time.
- You could play with up to three of your friends which offers up harder enemies.
- Diablo 3 really drives it home with the challenge that gives the player what they paid for by hacking and slahing their way to victory.
- Auction house as a whole
- End Game replayability
Despite my nitpickings I still recommend this game to anyone who is looking for an RPG for the PC that will take up hours of their time. If you could get past the cons I mentioned previously then you really have a solid game. I would give it an 3 out of 5.