Review by djinni204

"The best detailed review, with some personal bias and TLDR! WiP."

After years of waiting, Diablo 3 was finally released.
I was one of those people who were eagerly waiting, specially after the enjoyment I had from its predecessor, Diablo 2
and its expansion, Lord of Destruction. Hours upon hours(or should I say months, maybe a full year?) of total playtime
wasted(gloriously). So now that its out for a couple weeks and having played up to inferno, I think I'm able to give a decent review on how I think the game is.

DISCLAIMER:
This review is valid up to patch 1.02b. I will probably write a new one or update this as the game goes on(that if I'm still playing until patch N.xx ) This is also in the eyes of a Witch Doctor player. Now onto it.

Graphically, Diablo 3 is superior graphically than its predecessor, and that's a good thing. I mean, we only waited a decade for it that if it actually got worse well, that's just dropping the ball on the basics to put it lightly. Anyway, the skills, animations and (throw random graphics words here to make myself sound so hardcore knowledgeable in graphics) are all well done. Surprisingly, it's not "OMG that is so epic!!!" but it's good. I still see a lot of blood and the skills don't block the whole screen at least enabling you to dodge what the enemies are throwing at you. And with the graphics looking "good" but not too system requirement heavy, a lot more people can play the game on their older machines. So overall rating for this part: A.

When it comes to Audio, the game is a mixed bag. I know some people hated the voice overs. Personally, I find it fantastic. Well let me reiterate that, I find the Templar voice over fantastic. Nothing like having him say "FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY! DO YOU SEE THAT MONSTER OVER THERE?!?" after seeing an elite or rare pack of mobs. His small talks are also pretty good. The only thing that makes me want to take a fork and use it to stab him in the eyes is in inferno. Saying "Can we find more like that?" after finally killing a ridiculous combination stat on a rare pack with Jailer, Illusionist Mortar Waller(and some other stat I don't remember).Uh, Kormac, just no.

But I digress. If there's anything that is bad about the voice over is the bosses. They just never shut their mouth. Like they literally talk you through their plans. And they also have that "sour grapes" syndrome. You destroyed something, they will be all like "I didn't need that to begin with". And that's BEFORE the actual boss fight. DURING the fight, you will be blasted with so many cliche, non sensical tirade that I usually mute them. Although now that I think about it, it's probably Blizzard way of adding difficulty, by annoying you to death while fighting a boss.

As for effects, It's well done. Slinging spell sounds matches the type that you casted, you know, nailing down the basics. In game music I'm not the person to ask. All I can say is, "it's not annoying". I play this game for loots, not as a practice of having more musical awareness. So overall rating for audio: B+

Control wise, this is as easy as you get. For hot keys, you get 1-4 and left and right mouse button. Even your grandmother can play and learn this control system. Seriously. If you don't like something, just go to the menus and go "elective mode". More customization instead of the default, dumb downed version.

And now we come to the meat of it all, the GAME PLAY.If audio was a mix bag, more so is this one. I don't play every type of game but out of all those games I played, only World of Warcraft beats this game in terms of the amount of whining, contradictions and overall dumbassery induced. I will touch those in a minute. Overall, the game play is pretty good. Normal mode is the tutorial of the game. Everything dies if you so much breathe into them. A good introductory stage. Nightmare is I think, "normal mode". Decent difficulty, but get too careless you can/will die. Hell is where it gets challenging(I know some people claiming to be hardcore will say "lolzzzz Hell is ez mode l2play nub Inferno is all that matters!", but those people are just so, oh so "special") and you will actually need to have some sort of plan before you run into a room full of mobs. if you are a caster like me, this is the difficulty where you learn to "kite" kill mobs. If you don't know what kiting means just Youtube it or Google it.

Overall, I think hell got a pretty good balance in terms of difficulty. Mobs hit hard, but they do not just one shot you. Unless you haven't been upgrading your gear. Which brings me to Inferno difficulty. It's an unforgiving difficulty, this one. Yes you can't really just walk in without upgrading your gear significantly specially if you want to tackle act 3-4 as the damage mobs inflict is quite ridiculous. There are some youtube videos that show how UNDER GEARED PEOPLE GET WRECKED. Let me say it again, UNDER GEARED PEOPLE GET WRECKED. Actually everyone gets wrecked. But being GEARED HELPS. Its a special beast.

Now to the whining, contradictions part I was talking about. Inferno is difficult as it should be. It's the end game. But at the same time, I find(and a lot of other people actually) the damage is too spiky, that you can't even react sometimes. Walking into a room and you didn't see the mob before hand? "lol, you dead". While I did say being geared helps, it shouldn't require uber gear. The point of the game is to find said uber gear through skillful play(and good equips). You know it's bad when some of the geared people intentionally avoid fights in a diablo game to get to the boss. It's just not a good balance. I'm sure it will be tweaked. PERSONALLY, I want the HEALTH of monsters to INCREASE and their damage NOT AS SPIKY. Instead of 40k or something big hit how about 10k~ over 4 seconds? meaning if you stay in range of the mob you are going to die. I think this will help give players the chance to react. Cheap death isn't fun.

Now that's just for the difficulty settings. Then there's things like 4 player limit. I personally find this limitation annoying as I have RL friends who plays the game as well. Diablo 2 handled 8, the drop was really unnecessary. Then there's also the fact that you can't bring your follower with you to a group game. I think I'm just used to having a follower in Diablo 2 so I did want to have it as an option for this game, however it's not really a big concern. Then what do I consider as a big concern? ONLINE ONLY.

Now I know some people will say "LOL WHO DOESNT HAVE INTERNET NOWADAYS LOLZZZZ?" See that is not the problem. The problem is that some people PREFER to play it offline. Not having that option taken away sucks. And you ever though about the other side effect of this? it's server stability. You got more people on, the laggier it gets. Because on top of people who wants multiplayer, you also have players who wants "offline" playing on their own private game. Yes, there's talks about Blizz not wanting to lose profits because it will just get pirated blah blah defense force going around but this is a game review, not an economics 101 newsletter so Im not going to touch that.

BAZINGA! I will. Its because of the REAL MONEY AUCTION HOUSE. At this point in time it's not implemented yet, with a patent blizzard "soon". Now some people are having an orgasm thinking that they can make money off it, well that's their idea. But the fact that Blizzard will get a cut of, at this point in time, 15% for being a mediator is ludicrous. They want to stop people from going to third party sites so they say. they just want a cut I say. 15% is actually a lot. Why not just 5% ? It's a fair amount if they just want compensation for processing things. What this will do to gold only auction house, is left to be seen. There are several possible implications, but you know, unlike some people I don't have a time machine so I don't know what going to happen.

Now backtracking, RUNES. Yes runes. YOU MEAN LIKE ENIGMA RUNE WORDS? nope. Each class has skills, and each skill has runes that can be attached to said skill. It changes or adds to the effect of the skill by adding a particular rune. Some people say this will lower replay ability. And you can change this as many times as you want. I personally think it's a step UP from diablo 2 release wherein you had to re roll if you muck up skill placement back then. This makes for a variety of play style. Which is good. The Bad? not all skill/runes are viable in HELL~INFERNO. EVEN WITH AWESOME GEAR, AT THIS TIME OF WRITING. As an example, my class, the Witch Doctor, is hailed to be a pet class. Well my pets are next to useless as they are on cool down of 1 minute, yet they die in 5 seconds in Inferno unless you gear a specific way to make them die in 15 seconds instead, at the cost of your personal DPS. Hoping for a tweak for all classes. But so far, only nerfs on the viable builds have been introduced by blizzard.

Another hit, crafting! Almost forgot about this one. This will be a good gold sink, they just need to tweak it a little bit. Someone will much rather spend 100k gold in the auction house rather than spend 100k in crafting with nothing to show for it. Along with jewel crafting, this looks promising.

I know I've mentioned RMAH, but regarding auction house(gold in game currency) some people don't like this, but I actually like it. It's a much easier route than posting in the trade forums where you have to "bump" your thread for others to see and other people are doing the same. Then there's the scammers etc to deal with on the actual trade as well. This stops all that. Got an item? toss it in the AH and be done with it. If it sells, get your money after blizzard cuts off 15% gold off selling price. Now this 15% gold cut is the only one I like because it slightly lowers gold in circulation, making gold useful.

PvP: Not implemented and also under the Blizzard "soon" trademark. So no comments. Except they better not nerf skills based on PvP. Like they did in WoW. Just make it same skill, two effects/durations. One effect/duration for PvE and one for PvP.

So Overall rating for Game play: B+

TLDR:
Graphics: Yay
Audio: Ok
Controls: Yay
Game play: Personal Preference

THE GOOD:
+Simplified
+Graphics
+Controls
+Skill+Skill runes = Varied and diverse play style.
+Gold sinks in Jewel crafting and Blacksmith
+In game gold auction house

THE BAD:
-not all skills/skill runes useful
-no offline mode
-4 player max per game
-need various game play tweaks
-A little high real money auction house cut
-Community. More people, more trolls. Just ignore them and move on.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/11/12

Game Release: Diablo III (US, 05/15/12)


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