GAME REVIEW: Diablo 3



GAME: Diablo 3

PUBLISHER: Blizzard Entertainment

CONSOLE: PC

RATING: 4.5/5

It's hard to believe DIABLO came out in 96. It was the first game I ever played on PC and what fueled me to buy my first computer (writing was a close second). This was back when Blizzard Entertainment wasn't a household name, but they were working hard at it. DIABLO 2 was a masterpiece, improving on everything the first game was and then some. The storyline was ground breaking, and though I enjoyed the first game's story, the second blew me away. The cinematics were unparallelled at the time, something Blizzard's become known for, and the story upped the DIABLO's ante significantly. Yes, there was an expansion, and it was all right, but whispers of DIABLO 3 have been circulating for years. Blizzard Entertainment blew up quickly. WARCRAFT 2 and 3 were great, but WORLD OF WARCRAFT gained a cult following like no other game out there. STARCRAFT 2 finally surfaced as well, so to say Blizzard's had their hands full these past twelve years since DIABLO 2 would be a severe understatement. Some believed DIABLO's time was up, but the third game is every bit as addictive as the first two with enough upgrades over it's predecessors to remain current. 

What's new? Well, they've added some new character classes to play with like a Witchdoctor, Demon Hunter, Monk and Barbarian. The Templar and Enchantress represent your old school Knight and Wizard characters from before, but these are also two of three class choices available to you as NPC followers (the Scoundrel being the third), so I recommend trying something new like I did (I chose the Demon Hunter). The follower idea is much like any other game, someone to distract the enemies while you try to overcome them, and like in most games, you can't really depend on them for much else. There's also many WORLD OF WARCRAFT upgrades like an Auction House (love this idea) where you buy items for gold, and even a soon to be active, real currency Auction House where you can purchase and sell in game items for real money (I haven't seen this in action yet). The new checkpoint system for saving your progress is annoying, but you get used to it. There are also many different achievements to keep you busy as well as a Jeweler and Armorer to help upgrade your stuff...which gets trickier as you progress. All in all, the new isn't bad and helped to re-shine this old penny. When it comes to old, well, if you've played these games you'll be happy to hear everything else stayed the same. I was a little disappointed by this at first, but quickly realized that if it's not broke (which it clearly isn't even after all this time) there's no need to fix it, a lesson Square/Enix should consider with the FINAL FANTASY franchise.

The graphics are beyond amazing down to the smallest detail. As I mentioned before, Blizzard's become known for soaring above and beyond when it comes to their cinematics and these don't disappoint in the slightest. That said, the only thing I was a little let down by was the storyline, it felt much too linear in comparison to DIABLO 2. Don't get me wrong, it's cool, especially the Nephalem stuff, but DIABLO 2 was groundbreaking in a way that really pulled you into the game. You didn't dare stop until you reached the next Act because you HAD to know what happens next. This one is still engaging to a point, but I just felt it should've reached higher, especially considering all the time they had to put into it. There are a few paths still open, hinting at expansion content and that's cool and all, but you see this story coming a mile away and that's something the first two games have over this one, especially DIABLO 2, you just didn't see that stuff coming and it made you cringe with excitement when all the pieces were finally revealed. Replay value is here in spades, much like before, with four difficulties; Normal, Nightmare, Hell and Inferno. Normal's cake, I cut through monsters like warm butter. Nightmare requires some planning, but as for Hell and Inferno, prepare to die like your playing DARK SOULS, especially on Bosses.

DIABLO 3 was worth the wait when it comes down to fun factor and sheer eye candy. There's something to be said about a game that can make you crave more...more gear, more dungeons, more chances at legendary loot, more, more, more. I wasn't sure I would feel that familiar itch so many years later but it's there, and it's damn hard to scratch! The other immeasurable factor working in DIABLO 3's favor is the voice acting and score. They're superb, truly superb. Blizzard may take their sweet ass time, but at least it does show in the final product. I also bought the collector's edition which came with loads of extras (being able to add the angel wing graphic to my character is a guilty pleasure), something else Blizzard is good about, they really do reward you for that extra money. DIABLO fans will enjoy this new installment and will burn hours and hours trying to master it in every way possible, but again, that's because the fun factor's still alive and well here and that's where Blizzard excels over other franchises. Yes, there comes a time in all games where it begins to feel a little like work, but that passes the minute you see something colorful and shiny hit the ground. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

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