Review by chufa

"An unbiased review from a series first-timer"

Diablo III released May 2012 under much hype, almost 12 years after its predecessor. The series virtually invented the modern dungeon crawling genre and enjoys an almost cult-like following of millions of fans. Somehow the series avoided me, having been mostly a console gamer myself until relatively recently. Nevertheless, I thought I may enjoy this game, having enjoyed Diablo-inspired crawlers such as Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, and also other Blizzard's games such as World of Warcraft.

After playing Diablo III for many hours, and beating it multiple times in various difficulty levels, I felt compelled to write a review from an unbiased, series first-timer's perspective, especially since most reviews out there are from fans whose opinions, while valid in many cases, may be biased by their expectations based on previous Diablo games.

The first few minutes of the game were very disappointing, as it was plagued by launch issues, online connection required annoyances, complete lack of character customization, and graphics that seemed from the previous generation. This did not improved much as the game went on, as the overly simple and initially easy gameplay became somewhat boring, and other flaws became apparent, such as a completely useless crafting system where you have no control over what you create, overabundance of worthless loot trash, and a cooperative play with total lack of synergy that made it easier and more rewarding to play solo rather than in groups. To top that off, there is no PvP, so the fact that this is an online game at all baffles me. In essence, this is a game that has all the cons from being an online game (lag, disconnects, nerfs, account hacking, server downtime, etc.) while none of the pros.

The game itself is short, but you can continue leveling your character by beating it again in 3 increasing difficulty levels. So to really beat the game, you have to beat it 4 times. Really? Ouch! People who loathe repetitiveness may want to look elsewhere.

Story is not the game's focus, especially when you are expected to beat the game multiple times to get the most of it. However, I should say it is surprisingly good, and there is even a nice twist in the end. There are some decent cinematics scattered through as well.

Finally, for all of Diablo III's hellish flaws, somehow, I keep coming back to play the game. There is an intangible addictive quality to it that is hard to put into words, and that is perhaps the biggest success of this game, and perhaps of the Diablo series and the dungeon crawling genre in general. A sort of nerd's hypnotist pocket watch quality to it that keeps you driven to do the same thing over and over again just for that extra level or that extra piece of loot or that little edge in stats; or just for the satisfaction of mowing down another horde of enemies. In the end, I feel I got my money's worth in entertainment, but I can't help but think how much better it could have been had Blizzard tapered some of its flaws.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 06/18/12

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

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