Review: Diablo III
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And it's about time..
After its year-long hiatus, Diablo III has exploded on the PC in full visceral and bloody glory. It is once again your task to slay the demons of hell and fight back its rulers in an effort to prevent the apocalypse from happening.
After choosing my class – a rather sexy looking female demon hunter – I launched myself into Tristan, the hub for Act one of the Diablo III story. Of course it doesn’t take long before the rancid corpses start to reanimate, and battle ensues. Combat feels weighty and is extremely violent, a mainstay for the series as a whole. Defeated enemies rag doll away, blood spewing from severed limbs, bodies exploding and heads being ripped clean from their shoulders. This is not a game for the squeamish.
Playing as the demon hunter, my skills limit me to ranged attacks and laying traps. Not that this poses a problem, especially when one of your skills equates to firing a machine torrent of arrows at whatever is unfortunate enough to cross your path. There is nothing more satisfying than laying a trap in a small archway that your enemies have to go through, watching them get snared and then letting all hell break lose as a thousand arrows pummel into their flailing bodies.
Other classes in the game include the muscular Barbarian, who relies and on getting up and personal with your foes, leaping into battle. For those who wish for a little more finesse, then there is the Monk, who relies on his skill and dexterity, as well as a plethora of fist weapons and martial arts to smack the underworld in the face. The Mage enjoys a massive death laser, obliterating everything in their path. Finally we have the Witch Doctor, who brings the dead back to life and uses them as his loyal minions, inflicting hell spawn with plagues and summoning zombie hand to grab opponents.
The world of Diablo is a joy to admire. Locales range from traditional medieval villages, crypts and sunken temples. A great addition that Blizzard has made to this world is the physics. Piles of logs and be unleashed from their bindings to roll down hills and crush unsuspecting goat men. Even little things like chairs and tables – merely props in other RPGs – are fully destructible. It really makes the game feel more organic, that you are playing in a living breathing world, not some virtual playground with set constraints made by the developer.
Quests in Diablo III are what they say they should be, epic adventures across the land. There is no “kill ten boars” or “find six orbs”, you are on a journey to save the land, and each quest you complete leads you onto the next. When you are presented with a fetch and carry mission, it isn’t a slog that take you away from the main story, there is a reason. You need to kill a certain number of monsters, simply because they are attacking a village, and if you don’t, you’ll be killed.
A great addition to the main story are events the occur when you activate certain items in dungeons or on the overworld. Touching a jar in one of the earlier dungeons summons a relentless horde of skeleton warriors hell bent on making you one of their own. This triggers a timed survival event, where you must take down as many of these bony battlers and keep alive, until you get the chance to destroy the jar of souls and claim your gold and exp as rewards.
The story of the game is driven forwards by the quests that you are given. The things that your character is asked to due push them towards the next twist and turn in the narrative. Its this story driven game play that pushes you forward and breeds that “one more go” attitude.
The drop in and out co-op is also a great addition. You can play the game solo and at times recruit an additional party member who is controlled by the computer. However you can take your carefully crafted character and join a public game allowing you to quest alongside other players. You can also open up your current single player game to others. The game immediately adapts to the increase of players, making enemies tougher to beat and greater in number, making a more thrilling undertaking.
If I had to find one fault with the game, it would be Diablo III's reliance on being online all the time. Granted the game is geared towards playing together with friends, but when just blazing through the story in single player, I fail to see the need to be connected to Blizzards Battle.net servers. However this is only a minor gripe. Most people will have an active internet connection whilst playing anyway, and you’ll no doubt end up playing with other people across the world anyway.
Diablo III is a thrilling and engrossing game, full of dark fantasy and violence that makes your want more. Blizzard so far have yet to make a bad game, and this is just another title that shows how flawless they are. From start to finish, its impossible to not have fun playing this game. The best thing is that you don’t need to the best computer in the world to have fun. The graphics can be scaled down so much, that although you may lose some of the graphical flair, its still enjoyable.
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