Game: Diablo III
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Available on: Windows PC and Mac
It’s been 11 years since we last saw an entry into the Diablo mythos, with 2001′s Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, it’s also been 4 years since Diablo III was announced at Blizzard’s Worldwide Invitational back in 2008. Plenty of people have been excited about a third Diablo, even before it was announced to the masses, but is it a game worth investing in? Are people going to be disappointed in what they waited so long for? It’s a relatively big gamble on Blizzard’s part, but is it one that’s about to pay off?
STORY: The story of Diablo III is dark and twisted, just like the previous games in the series. This new game takes place 20 years after the events of Diablo II, Deckard Cain has spent much of that time working on books, reading them and compiling information about the End of Days. It seems that all of his research is about to pay off as a massive object falls from the sky, straight through Tristram Cathedral and into the depths below. This is the start of the prophecy of the End of Days and – as you would expect – Deckard and his niece Leah decide that it’s about time they warned the good people of New Tristram.
You’ll be sucked into the story of Diablo III from the moment you start the game up for the first time, the excellent cinematic draws you in and the well written story will keep you entertained for the remainder of the game. There are a few sections where the narrative will seem to drop off a little but it’s not long before things start to pick up again. This is Blizzard storytelling at its finest. The world of Diablo has spawned many side projects, novels, comics and the like, with story as in-depth as it is here in Diablo III, it’s easy to see why.
GRAPHICS: If you’ve seen any of the trailers for Diablo III, or even the trailers for any of the Blizzard games over the last five years, then you know the standard of artists they’ve got over at the giant developer. The entire game doesn’t look like the trailer, no computer in the world would run it, but even if the visuals in the main game aren’t what you see in the trailer, they’re nothing to sniff at. After years of developing World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and the unknown amount of time that Diablo III has been in development, Blizzard have become exceptionally talented at knowing just how well their engines run, as well as just how much they can put into them in order to get top notch quality out of them.
This is evident in Diablo III. It’s by no means the best looking game on the market, but it will run on a wide range of PC that are out there at the moment, from the low end to the top of the range. When you’re running a business, surely it makes more sense to make your game work on a wider range of PCs than to make it look the bee’s knees. If the gameplay is there, people aren’t going to care so much anyway; and the gameplay is most certainly there.
SOUND: Diablo III is absolutely chock full of sounds, from the enemies that you’ll be slaughtering along your path, to each and every one of the characters that you’ll come across being full voice-acted. Diablo III is a testament to how a video game should sound, it keeps you intrigued during the lulls in the narrative by utilising some outstanding music and then, when you come to a new area of the world or a new quest point, you’ll be treated to characters speaking to you instead of just presenting you with a wall of text to read.
Each time you come across a new enemy, or a book that you happen to have picked up along your travels, you will be greeted (yet again) with the text being read to you. This means that you can continue playing the game while still learning about the lore of the world and the enemies you’re facing. All of this put together ensures that the game flows well, the only time the action will stop is when you’re ready to stop it, which won’t be anytime soon.
GAMEPLAY: Diablo III – for those that haven’t played any of the games in the series to date – is a typical dungeon crawler game. Click on the enemies that you want to kill and, depending on whether you clicked the left or right mouse button, you’ll attack them, kill them and be able to loot them. Looting is one of the major aspects of a dungeon crawler game and you’ll have to be wary about what you’re picking up, especially in the longer dungeons. You’re able to click on the town teleport button, or just press the ‘T’ button, in order to take you back to closest town and sell all the unwanted equipment you’ve picked up, but this breaks the flow of the game so it’s suggested that you don’t do this too often.
There is a crafting system built into Diablo III, and those of you that have played World of Warcraft will be able to draw a couple of similarities between the two systems, but it’s an altogether more simplistic affair. Players will be encouraged to salvage magical (purple) items and better in order to gain the materials that you’ll need to craft weapons and armour for yourself and your companions. The major downside for people that are expecting a crafting mechanic similar to World of Warcraft is that you can’t level up the skill by crafting items, you have to pay for each level of crafting skill. This makes the whole crafting mechanic a little more simple and easier to understand for people who aren’t used to this kind of mechanic in games, but also makes it a little too simple for the people who are used to it and would have liked to see something a little bit more in-depth. It’s a trade-off, but whether it’s a good system or a bad one will be down to each player’s individual tastes.
Another area of the game that will keep people coming back for more and more is the levelling mechanic. Once you’ve levelled up, as well as becoming a little but more powerful you will also unlock some skills that can be assigned to either the left or right mouse button, or the numbers one to four on the keyboard. There aren’t many skills that you can unlock, you’ll unlock modifications to those skills more often than not, but these allow users to not get overwhelmed while also allowing them to concentrate on the couple of abilities that they do have, mastering them and becoming adept with whichever character class they’ve chosen to play the game as.
LONGEVITY: Diablo III will last as long as you want it to last. If all you want to do is play the game from the beginning to the end, on your own and without doing any of the multitude of other things that are at your fingertips, then you’ve still got a pretty meaty game in your hands. If you want to utilise some of the other aspects of the game, such as grouping up with friends and heading deep into the underworld of Sanctuary, then you could literally play this game until Diablo IV comes out and you’d still be experiencing some aspects of the game for the first time. Diablo III is massive, there’s no doubt about that, and every single nuance of the game has been developed in such a way that you’re not going to want to put it down.
VERDICT: If you’re even the least bit interested in the Diablo universe, or even if you’ve never played any of the Diablo games before, then you should be getting Diablo III. It is excellent value for money whether you intend to play on your own, or with a group of friends. There’s always going to be something to do, even if you only intend jumping into the game for a couple of minutes (even if “a couple of minutes” tends to turn into “a couple of hours”).
A lot of people may have gotten Diablo III through the World of Warcraft Annual Pass, while others didn’t. This could potentially lead people to believe that the game may not be that good if Blizzard are willing to give the game away to millions of people. Well, I’m here to tell you that you couldn’t be further from the truth: Diablo III is an amazing game, not one that should have been in development for 11 years, but a good game nonetheless. If it isn’t on your list of games that you need to play, put it on there now. You won’t regret it.