Review by Ihavealotofspac
"Diablo 3 as a continuation of the franchise"
Ignoring the horrible launch and server issues, I really tried to give this game an honest chance. I ended up putting 85 hours into this game before I decided it was enough for me.
The battles feel great at first but soon get stagnant and one dimensional. You're usually attacking everything that moves mindlessly or running away from their missile attacks and/or AOE spells that are either peppered around the area or cast directly beneath your feet. Boss fights are also very easy and once you learn the attacks they become a pushover.
The other big aspect of hack and slash genre apart from the combat are the items and Diablo 3 also falls short of a good itemisation system. The rarest legendaries in the game fail to parallel even the common blue magicals in the game, making magic find feel obsolete. The bonus stats you can get on items are unimpressive and useless most of the time. Some of the best bonuses you can get just stats relevant to the class you're playing. Not exciting at all.
The difficulty in the game, or rather "false difficulty" as I call it, are just gear checks to see if you are well equipped enough for that particular area. The mechanics never change throughout the entire game and so do most of the enemies. What does change however are how many affixes an elite pack of mobs can have, most of which are just abilities that allow them to sprinkle area controlling AOE carpets on the ground which require you to make a run for your life. In the hardest difficulty of the game, inferno, you'll be required of kite a lot of enemies for long periods in order to kill them if you do not possess decent gear to clear them which makes for very tedious combat. I've seen many people defend this as a challenge but in my own opinion it's just dumb and not very fun at all. Flying an actual kite would be more fun.
Regarding the game world, maps are not really random at all. There are some random aspects to them but after a few play throughs you'll realise that most of the important things are always in a certain location which really removes any sort of desire to explore. Some people actually defend this, even Blizzard representatives in the forums, saying that they enjoy checking everything in a certain area before moving on. That's fine but there is little reward in doing so and is usually pointless, plus when a large portion of your game hours are made up of of turning over every dead body and breaking every urn in dungeons then something's horribly wrong. You'll find yourself getting bored of the same old scenery very very quick.
The skill system in Diablo 3 is essentially flawed. The game doesn't feel fast paced like its predecessor with the addition of cool downs, some of which go up to 2 minutes in length. It's understandable that you need these cool downs in place to stop players from spamming their strongest attacks but it just ruins the whole flow of the game, which they tried to emphasise so much pre-release.
I have no problems with how you unlock skills in this game, however, as much more traditional games with skill point allocations don't allow you to learn skills until a certain level, so in a sense it's basically the same as that. What I absolutely loathe about the skills is that many of the skills are absolutely useless without redemption. They can be fun but they just have little to no application. For example the Barbarian's Ancient Spear skill which pulls enemies towards him is just pointless. It has a 10 second cool down and all it does is pull enemies towards him while dealing moderate damage. It's easier to just run up to stuff and attack them.
Aside from a good number of skills being useless, there are also your fair share of useless skill runes that are overshadowed by better ones. This is a very important point to know because in inferno mode where everything one shots you unless you have optimal gear, you'll be using these optimal skills paired with their optimal runes usually just to survive. Goodbye build diversity.
I've talked a lot about the core of the game as I think those are the most important points to get across but now let's take it back to the surface.
The graphics are very well detailed and I can honestly say that I'm quite impressed that they can make 6 year old graphics look this presentable, but its age does stand out even on the highest graphics setting and it just keeps reminding me of how old it is. By no means do I hate the graphics but I can't say that I love them either.
The sound for this game is really good. The soundtrack was nice and fitting but it was rather forgettable. The voice acting was good but the script was so incredibly bad and sometimes even cheesy. For something nice I have to say about the sound it seems there's always down side to it. Well at least I have nothing bad to say about combat grunts.
For the story, I actually don't really know much about it at all. All I remember is that I hated most of the characters and that they were annoying tag alongs with key roles in the story. There weren't really any likeable characters at all for me except maybe the templar, Kormac, and his one liners.
The reason why I don't know much about the story is because, quite frankly, I don't care about it. I just want to play the game and farm loot to buff my character up.
Lastly, I want to talk about some flawed battle.net features that have a large impact on your game, and I'm not talking about elective mode or always online DRM, because those features are so bad they speak for themselves.
While it may seem minor, the disappearing text in the chat box is the dumbest design choice I have ever seen in an online game. There is absolutely no point of it being that way.
The other thing I really hate is how private messaging works and how I have to tab through my friends list to select who I want to message, and every time I reply with "/r" it defaults to that until I message my party again with "/p". It's incredibly clunky, slow and gets in the way of your gaming.
That's pretty much the gist of what I have to say about Diablo 3. It has redeeming values as a standalone game but not as a continuation of the Diablo franchise as it improves nothing on Diablo 2's legacy. I'm not saying I want a Diablo 2 remake but this game is not reminiscent of its roots at all.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 05/24/12, Updated 05/25/12
Game Release: Diablo III (EU, 05/15/12)
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