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Diablo III

Ready your ice packs and stock up on Ibuprofin…the world’s clickiest game is back and it is better than ever. Not much has changed in terms of overall gameplay, but that isn’t always a bad thing. There are plenty of bad guys to kill and tons of items to loot…though we must ask the question, “Is it worth sixty bucks?” Keep on reading to find out.

Diablo III (May, 2012) – PC / MAC

Diablo III (May, 2012) – PC / MAC

Diablo III is an action role-playing game that pits players against thousands of enemies via a hack and slash dungeon crawl, much like its predecessors. You’ll be able to pick one of five distinct classes and continue where Diablo II left off. If you’re not someone who is familiar with the lore or back story (I personally didn’t follow it), don’t worry…you’ll be too busy spilling blood to really care.

If you’ve ever played Diablo II or Torchlight, then you’ll feel right at home when you’re introduced to the game mechanics. Granted, there are some slight differences, but the overall feel of the game will allow experienced players to jump right in. You have your waypoints, you have your gear, you have your health potions, you have your quests, you have your companions…yet despite its redundancy, it maintains to be a fun and very fluid game.

Diablo III Lightning

Zapping baddies with lightning never felt so good.

New to the series is the auction house, which allows players to buy and sell their items in exchange for gold or real cash. Yes…real cash. I’m not sure I’ll hop on that train…maybe it’s my age *shrug*. You can read more about the auction house and its intricacies here: Diablo III Auction House FAQ.

Also new are health globes that you can pick up as you kill enemies…quite the welcome change from having to run and quickly use a potion before dying. I found that the health globes help to keep the game moving and I welcome their addition.

Diablo III allows your friends to drop in and out of your game on a whim, making it easy for guildmates to have some mindless fun without too much effort. Enemies increase in difficulty as more players join the fray…though you are limited to having four players at a time and your companion goes back to town when you have friends with you. Loot and gold that you see are specific to you, so the fear of someone else ninja looting has gone the way of the dodo. Health globes are shared amongst your group…so even if you are at full health, you could potentially help a nearby, injured comrade by picking one up.

Pairing up with players of different classes can help you overcome even the most difficult of foes.

Pairing up with players of different classes can help you overcome even the most difficult of foes.

Another thing I really like is the way that skills are handled. No longer will you cuss and swear when you pick a skill in the talent tree that you didn’t want (and can’t change)…Diablo III allows you to change out skills and talents on a whim. Coupled with this system are runes that give those skills various special effects, allowing players to customize their character almost any way they wish to.

Have I mentioned that the graphics are gorgeous? When I saw my first cut scene, I was blown away by how detailed the character models were. Diablo III isn’t something you can bring home to you mother, but that’s not to say that you won’t be able to appreciate its eye candy.

Diablo III Cutscene

I couldn’t get over how lifelike the characters appeared.

Crafting also makes an appearance, though it is very simplified compared to say, World of Warcraft. Casual gamers that are expecting to mine veins and look under ever nook and cranny for rare gems for crafting purposes won’t have to worry. You pay to level up your blacksmith vendor and salvage magical items for their mats in order to craft new things.

There are a few things that bugged me about this game. For one, you have to be constantly connected to the internet, even if you are flying solo. I imagine that this is so that well-versed programmers can’t cheat and modify their character files, but I personally don’t appreciate having to rely on servers that have a tendency to lag out from time to time. There is nothing more frustrating than constantly jumping back to where you were two seconds ago within the blink of an eye every ten seconds while trying to play an action RPG.

Diablo III Skeleton King

Lag is your worst enemy, especially when fighting a boss.

I also don’t like how your game doesn’t completely save until you’ve reached a checkpoint…and even when you do, the map that you explored before quitting becomes unexplored when you log back in again. World of Warcraft allowed players to exit or logout anywhere and still retain all of their progress…why not Diablo III?

Finally, you still don’t have the ability to send your companions back to town to sell your materials…this is a mechanic that Torchlight mastered from the get go. I’m a hoarder…and as a result, I find myself traveling back to town every five minutes to clear my bag space. I would also appreciate it if the game could indicate whether or not the gear I have in my inventory is better than what I have on, something that Dungeon Defenders did relatively well. Yes, there are stat comparisons, but many of the special stats like health regeneration don’t show up when stats are being compared, forcing you to manually look at the gear anyway. A simple thumbs up or thumbs down would have sufficed.

Diablo III Items

It’s hard to tell sometimes whether or not swapping out gear is worth it.

Overall, Diablo III succeeds at doing what it does, when it isn’t plagued by DRM and lag issues. If you enjoyed Diablo II or Torchlight and are a fan of hack and slash dungeon crawlers, you can’t do wrong by picking this up…just keep in mind that you’ll need a constant internet connection. It’s also worth mentioning that recently, many have reported their accounts compromised by hackers…so if you do plan to get this game, I’d recommend buying an authenticator. You shouldn’t have to resort to those measures to begin with, but it’s food for thought.

As always, check your PC specs and the game requirements before purchasing!

Final Verdict: 8/10

Editor’s Note: This review was written in early 2012 and a lot has changed with the game since then. Time permitting, I’ll re-review the game when/if I decide to pick up the recent expansion, Reaper of Souls.  Until then, enjoy the new content via the below videos.

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