Review by Viridianbarry
A truly Diabolic waste of time.
The long-awaited third installment in the Diablo franchise came with massive hype. So I picked it up with a childlike glee waiting to dig right into a brand new game. Unfortunately, the game was not at all to my liking, and further hampered by seriously unacceptable flaws in gameplay. I'll rate the game based graphics, sound, story (without spoilers of course), and finally the all important gameplay factor (includes replayability).
Graphics 3/10- Going into a game like Diablo, I was more than a little surprised to see the Cartoonish graphics. Everything just seemed to want to get up in my face. I felt as if I was playing a graphically enhanced Warcraft game (unsurprising since it came from the company that created those titles). Even though the settings were dark, very few of the enemies were scary looking. Even the commonplace skeleton seemed like it wanted to laugh and dance its way to me. The locations would have been nice, but everything seemed so vibrant, and visible I never felt scared. Also, there is the occasional textural flaw that would be best described as black chicken-scratch. Some people may like the cartoon style, but very few enjoy graphical flaws. Overall, not fit for a dark, evil game. Some of the cinematics were interesting though. I would have given this a higher score, but my eyes were starting to hurt, and that's not good at all.
Sound 7.5/10- The sound of the game is possibly the best part. From when I first put the game disc in, I was greeted with a fantastic rendition of Tristram's theme song from the first Diablo. Some of the music would increase tensions if it wasn't for the graphics. Many of the classes abilities and the enemies attacks sound great , but nothing that is just magic to the ears. However, the voice-acting is below mediocre. I can only recall a grand total of two times where the voice-acting felt serious. Most of the time however, the lines come out cheesy, and I even had to bury my face during a few lines because they were so cringe-worthy. Great music, especially the Tristram theme. Pretty good enemy sounds and character abilities. Awful voice-acting.
Story (Spoiler-free) 5/10- I was expecting a mediocre story, and that's exactly what I got. Nothing too exciting. However a warning, without prior knowledge of the Diablo games, the story may not make sense to those who don't read up on lore and go through all the dialog (as bad as the dialog is, I wouldn't blame them). The story itself...comes off as cheesy in some parts, and something I've seen before as well. That being said when the cheesy parts were over (and there were a lot of them), the story could actually be enjoyable and the ending is somewhat thought-provoking. A story about as good as the first 2 games in the series if you enjoy that sort of thing. Don't expect to be feeling a wide range of emotions or care for the characters though.
Gameplay 1.5/10- This is the ultimate failure of the game and is unplayable at certain times. The game requires internet connection to play single player. This creates lag when the servers are heavy (which they are awfully packed). Multiple times I would have enemies without the teleportation ability suddenly appear in my face. This delays inputs (as much as a few seconds!!!) as well as "rubberbands" the character backwards during crucial moments. There is no option to play offline either, so pray that the servers arn't packed, and that they don't suddenly disconnect you from them as well (happened a few times for me). Not only that, the game doesn't run very smoothly, if quite a few enemies were on the screen the game would experience some heavy slowdown.
That alone is enough to break a game, but the gameplay itself when it did run smoothly wasn't fun. The game can be beaten with the exception of boss fights (and only a few of them at that) with the use of two mouse buttons. The skills are quite boring (except for the witch-doctor class) and get old after only a few uses. Most of the time I found myself playing with one hand and leaning backwards in my chair bored. Even with all the lag-based problems of an online game it was far too easy. At first I thought the game was just easy for me because I picked a strong class and was an amazing Demon Hunter. So I asked my friends who were also playing and picked different classes (we had planned to play with one another...but none of us enjoyed the game, and couldn't bring ourselves to do it more than once) and they said they were blowing through it without any problem as well. I would say the game lasted me 9 hours on normal difficulty, and that's with checking every last part of the map. It would have been nice to add harder difficulties off the bat, but as tradition with this series of games, you can not go on to a harder difficulty without first beating the previous difficulty with that character.
The Enemies are uninspiring for the most part. Very few new enemy types added and even fewer interesting ones. These guys can be destroyed with a click of the left mouse button, or if they're really big they take 3 or 4. Some of these baddies would be very threatening if it wasn't for the ease with which they could be dispatched. At one point, this giant enemy attacked me breaking down a wall, which got me a little excited. Then I held down the right mouse button and he died before even getting close. The major boss fights are quite fun however and take a little bit of strategy to bring down. These major bosses are really the only fun part of the gameplay when they arn't filled with lag or slowdown (most are).
The multiplayer is alright to play with friends...anything with friends is better even if the core problems still remain. Still, after an hour we were bored and decided to do something different. We had a brand new game none of us wanted to play. I tried multiplayer with random people as well, but no one wanted to team up, and no one wanted to talk. 4 people (if you're lucky) and I couldn't get a word out of them. This happened with the ten games I joined like this. I'm under the assumption everyone was rushing to be the best player and didn't care about having fun doing it. I gave up on multiplayer as it was going nowhere for me anyways. I also could not figure out a way to attack these silent people! There might be a way to fight one another, but I havn't found it.
Character customization is non-existant. I wasn't able to alter my character's facial features, hair color, body type, or anything besides gender. This was a problem in previous Diablo games and remains here. However, the placement of stat points has been completely removed, every character ends up the same at every level if they are of that class. Skill points have also been removed from Diablo 2, and every character gets every ability via leveling. I thought this was a good idea at first, but it took away a piece of uniqueness the character could have had. Besides random pieces of armor obtained, there's no other way to customize your character.
There's also apparently an auction house where one can sell items for REAL money. This baffles me, but I decided not to bother with it at all because the money amount made would have been minimal anyways. I can see the game 2 months from now where the most valuable piece of armor would be worth $1.
Halfway through the game, I realized I wasn't playing a Diablo game. So I took a different approach about halfway in and decided I'd treat it as a whimsical game. This didn't help any of the earlier problems however, because the game would be bad for a whimsical as well. I couldn't bring myself to enjoy it at all unfortunately. Every enemy felt like work, which is unfortunate because some people will in fact take this up as a little work because of that auction house in poorer countries.
I could see some replayability in this for harder difficulties, but I certainly won't go through it again. There could be that super-secret ending that one would have to beat the new "inferno" difficulty for. That wouldn't change the fact that you'd have to go through terrible and boring gameplay to even have a chance to see something that might not be there.
Final score/thoughts 3/10- Diablo III is a massive disappointment, I would have been happy with an average game but it's not even that. Nothing in the game is great, and only the sound is any good when no one's talking. Gameplay was abysmal for 8.5 out of the nine hours I played it. Even if you're curious, you can't rent the game or even really borrow it because of the account system. The game has the feel of an MMORPG with very little MMO involved. This evident by the auction house that requires real money (spend more after buying a game!), and the online requirement even for single player. After 11 years I hate to say this but, skip this title. It will save you $60 you could spend on a different game or an amazing party. After completion, I felt like I had wasted my time. This doesn't even have laughable bad quality that can be gotten from some games. A shameful edition to a great series and a shameful showing from a once great company.
Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Product Release: Diablo III (US, 05/15/12)
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