Diablo 3 Review
An addictive dungeon crawler with great replay value and strong foundations. Always online requirement hurts solo players.
Posted by Ben Thomas (nutcrackr) on May 28, 2012 - 8:26am EST (May 28, 2012 08:26)
Diablo is the most iconic hack and slash RPG franchise of all time. The original, released in 1996, took heroes through catacombs beneath the town of Tristram. Players descended into the darkest recesses of the cathedral to face the Lord of Terror himself. The isometric view was populated with evil creatures, random dungeons and a range of awesome spells. Diablo 2 and its expansion were released at the turn of the century. They expanded on the original, offering more monsters, items, locations and some fantastic pre-rendered cut scenes. The longevity enjoyed by both games is a testament to their quality. Diablo 3 holds many of the characteristics that have earned the series so much admiration.
Diablo 3 has been in development for a long time and it draws directly from the previous games. The first three acts follow very closely to Diablo 2 in terms of structure. Familiar faces, locations and characters return, including Deckard Cain and the cursed town of Tristram. The Diablo games have always been addictive with constant clicking through randomized levels. The sequel is no exception and players can easily lose hours by clearing dungeons in search of treasure. The constant potential to upgrade weapons and armor compels you to clear one more area. Amazing monsters provide refreshing encounters when you visit the different lands.
Skeletons, zombies, goat men, spiders, fallen and bats are just some of the returning creatures. New inclusions, like the obese Grotesque and the gigantic Wood Wraith, are superbly designed and fun to fight. Series fans will get a good dose of nostalgia when they meet returning foes in the later acts. The variety of interesting monsters is probably the most appealing and faithful aspect of this sequel. Killing these creatures is just as fun as collecting the rare treasures they drop. To eliminate the wide range of denizens you use a skill system that has changed significantly from its predecessors
Instead of investing points into a tree based system, you are given skills as you level up. You can use any of the unlocked skills at any time after a brief delay. These skills are unique to each character class and there are no scrolls to provide additional magic support. Skills receive alternative modifications via level based runes. You can continue using early skills because damage is calculated from the weapons and items you wield. Equipment is more important and character customisation is transferred from skill allocation to item selection and modification.
You can use the services of a blacksmith and a gem dealer to produce or enhance items. These characters can be trained (paid) to unlock more powerful items and also salvage components. The blacksmith offered useful items for great prices once trained. Gems can be combined just like they could with the Horadric Cube in Diablo 2. Gems increase attributes depending on which item they are placed in. They may improve damage, health or even gold drop rate. The item progression system is fantastic because you always feel like your next upgrade is just minutes away through a drop or upgrade. Changes from the health system in Diablo 2 shift the focus during combat.