Wait, I thought we already got Diablo 3? Pretty sure it was called Hellgate: London…
It’s been awhile since Tristram had a bad day, almost 20 years or so. Granted, that’s because it’s a ghost town, save for two individuals; Deckard Cain and his niece Leah. While going through various tomes there, a certain someone decides to, literally, drop in, which brings you to New Tristram to investigate. Now it’s up to you to find Cain and this visitor and figure out what the hell is going on.
Of course, since this is Diablo, there is a lot of hell going on and you are just about the only thing standing in its way.
So, right off the bat, you get to choose a character class, and unlike the games before it, those choices are pretty much all new. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds playing Diablo without a classic Warrior/Knight like class strange. The only returning class, by name, is the Barbarian, but it’s not exactly like the Barbarian from Diablo 2. The remaining four classes are the Monk, Witch Doctor, Wizard, and Demon Hunter. Each class has its own skills, abilities, and weaknesses which will all come into play almost immediately. It really all comes down to play style and no class is inherently better than another.
The game plays like you would expect, though there have been some revisions here and there that make it a more streamlined experience. The most noticeable change is the Skill Bar, which works like you would expect it. The second most noticeable addition is that of the Artisans. These NPCs will be able to craft special weapons, armor, and items if they are given the proper ingredients. These items can be collected and also broken down from other items, so now you’ll have a use for a lot of the stuff you find, aside from getting money for it.
Speaking of money, there are also going to be two forms of Auction Houses; one using in-game money and one using real money. That’s right, it’ll be completely legal to spend your real money on virtual items within the game.
Honestly, there really isn’t much in the way of “new” that needs explaining, and for hardcore Diablo fans this is a good thing. For people who didn’t really like Diablo 1 or 2, I’m sorry to tell you that this is not the game for you. Nothing about the game is going to make non-fans into fans.
The audio visual department isn’t really impressive, as it does just what would be expected of the game. That isn’t to say it sounds or looks bad, just that it isn’t really mind-blowing in either aspect. The visuals give off the same feel as the classic games, but are completely rendered in 3D which adds a flair of newness to the game. The camera angle is fixed with only the ability to zoom in, which is pretty useless in this kind of game. This is fine for those of us who loved the isometric angle from the classic game, but not so much for those who didn’t.
As said before, this game is really for the fans. Musically, you’ll have exactly what you expected, right down to the almost haunting theme used for Tristram in the last two games. Fans will find no reason to be disappointed with either aspect of the game, and even non-fans might be able to appreciate both.
The real fun the game offers is the ability to have up to two people jump in and out of your game at any time, and the ability for you to do the same. Say you have a friend who is two acts ahead of you and you are pretty stuck where you are. You could join their game, quest with them for better gear and experience and then go back to tackle things, or you could have them join you and go through it together. Now, while having another human player is an advantage, the enemies you’ll face with be that much stronger. Teamwork is key, as you’ll be at a severe disadvantage if you separate.
Outside of the main game, there is the minor PVP aspect as well as the different difficulty levels. As of now the PVP has yet to be implemented, though there is a lot of information online in regards to the features they plan to ship out with it in a future patch. The difficult levels, on the other hand, are in the game and are quite difficult. Hardcore Mode is the first of these that can be unlocked, and as the name suggests, is only for the Hardcore players. When you die in Hardcore, that’s it, game over. On top of this, you are locked out of Real Money Auctions.
For those of you that feel this difficulty is no sweat, there is Inferno Mode. Inferno Mode sets every monster you fight to levels beyond the level cap of 60. That’s right, the very first mobs you’ll encounter will all be 61+. For those of you that don’t think that sounds so bad, you’ll need to take into consideration that the only people to have beaten this mode did it through exploitation. Many players, myself included, think that this difficulty level needs a bit of nerfing before it becomes enjoyable.
Overall, Diablo 3 is just what any fan would expect without trying too hard to beat any of those expectations. If you loved the first two, you’ll love this one, plain and simple. Expecting anything more and better than what was offered before? Well, sorry, that didn’t happen.
The game is not particularly long, but due to its randomly generated areas and events, each play through is slightly different. This, however, only matters to those of us that actually relish dungeon crawling to begin with though. Blizzard played it safe with this game, and went with what they knew would work without any risks involved.
GO Rating: 3.5/5
[Intro image via]