Retail Price: $60
Release Date: 5/15/2012
Having one of the longest development cycles in gaming history, Blizzard’s third entry in the Diablo franchise was released nearly twelve years after Diablo II. This was due to everything from scraping the entire game at one point, to a ridiculous amount of fine-tuning. This overly long development period was something that has kept fans of the franchise eagerly awaiting its return. It could be said that Diablo III might be the most anticipated videogame of all time.
Honestly, for me, I didn’t really care about the franchise until about two years ago when I was introduced to Torchlight (created by the original guys that did the first 2 Diablo games) on XBLA. Turns out, these, “loot games,” are actually some of the most addictive games I’ve ever played. Playing Torchlight for just a couple of hours was all it took to understand why people were clamoring for Diablo III, and that it had a lot to live up to.
So here’s what you need to know about loot games in order to enjoy them.
1. Kill monsters.
2. Monsters explode like a piñata and yield gold, armor, weapons and accessories.
3. Check the stats of your items and determine whether or not the items are better than what you currently own.
4. Equip your shiny new gear.
5. Repeat steps 1-4. Over and over and over again.
While this may not seem enjoyable at all (and it really doesn’t on paper), I can assure you that it absolutely is. The player will find him or herself playing for hours on end to get that awesome rare or legendary helmet that has stats which absolutely trump those of the item currently equipped. The fun can also be shared with up to four friends due to the game’s extraordinary multiplayer functionality.
Now that we have a basic breakdown of what kind of game Diablo III is, here are the specifics:
Graphics – 9/10
Is Diablo a graphically intensive game? Not so much. That’s not to say that it isn’t a pretty game, but it’s not on the same level as a game such as The Witcher 2’s graphics on the highest settings possible. But the thing is, it’s not intended to be. Diablo’s main focus is having tons of enemies on screen at a time, thus sacrificing quality for quantity. This approach also allows nearly anyone with a modern PC to play the game at max settings, something which is a credit to Blizzard as it allows more people to play and enjoy their game without fear of being unable to meet the system requirements.
Sound and music – 7/10
Diablo incorporates full voice acting for all characters including your own. The voice acting is pretty well-done and helps move the limited story along. The music, while good, could perhaps be a bit more epic since the player is, after all, fighting the fictionalized legions of Hell – something that one would think should lend itself to more intense music.
Story – 8/10
To be perfectly honest, not many people are going to play Diablo III for its story. To sum it up: The player is championed with taking out the Devil and his minions. That’s about the gist of it. Not too complicated, not terribly done, but ultimately not the focus of the game. The story only serves as a set up for the environment in which the player lives and breathes.
Playability – 10/10
The game, like most PC games, uses a combination of the mouse and keyboard hotkeys. The depth of the game’s system is not overly complicated and should be pretty simple for new players to pick up immediately.
Overall – 9/10
Was Diablo III worth the twelve year wait? Since this reviewer only waited two, yes it was. The game will go as deep as the player takes it. It can be simplistic, it can be complicated, but it’s ultimately the player’s call. But how can one go wrong with hacking and slashing through huge dungeons with friends while collecting awesome gear? One can’t. Plain and simple. For now, Diablo, as a franchise, reigns supreme as the king of loot games… That is until Torchlight II comes out. But that’s a later review for a later time.