Diablo III review
Ask anyone below the age of 20 to name an RPG and you’ll probably get a multitude of responses, but ask anyone slightly older and there’s one answer that will come up time-and-time again. Diablo. It’s an absolute classic series, which has been lying dormant for over a decade. Developer Blizzard has finally awoken the beast for a third outing,
After saving the world of Sanctuary at the end of Diablo II, players must take control of a new generation of heroes to protect it from the approaching forces of evil. There are four character classes to choose from: the monk and barbarian specialise in melee combat, whereas the wizard and demon hunter are more suited to ranged attacks. The witch doctor is more unique, summoning demons and minions to help out during battle. And you’ll need all the help you can get, especially during the fiendishly difficult boss fights.
Character development and progression has been simplified and streamlined from previous games, as you no longer assign individual attribute points. Instead, you can only choose which skills are active at any one time. You unlock more as you level up, but always in a set order. Series purists will find this disappointing, but there are still plenty of opportunities to shape your character to suit your own personal play style – with loot remaining core to the gameplay.
Enemies drop it, chests hold it, merchants sell it, and you want it. As you progress, the quality of gear you find improves, letting you take less damage from your enemies or dish it out with greater force. Weapons, armour and accessories can all be enchanted with magical properties, until near the end of the game when you’re practically a walking tank. Every single loot drop is random, so you can never be sure what you’ll get over the course of a play-through, but determined players can trade for items in the new auction house. This uses real world money, so you’ll really have to want that enchanted helm to justify spending cash, especially as this is predominantly a single player game.
Even though you’ll spend a significant portion of your time underground, fighting your way through caves, dungeons and ruins, there’s still ample opportunity to appreciate the gorgeous graphics. Even from an isometric perspective, the character models and incidental details are incredibly easy on the eye, but it’s the magical and special effects that light up the game. You won’t need a powerful PC to run it on low graphics, but turn up the detail settings and frame rates will tumble unless you’ve got a decent graphics card.
Perhaps more impressive is sound quality – Blizzard have done a fantastic job with both music and effects, creating an atmospheric tone that suits the game perfectly. We would definitely recommend playing with a pair of headphones or surround sound speakers for the most immersive experience.
With five characters to choose from, there’s plenty of replay value, although the main quest can be finished (if you rush) in around 12 hours. That’s assuming you can get into the game at all – the first 48 hours after launch were chaotic, with login servers filled to capacity and many players unable to get past the main menu. Blizzard has tried to combat piracy by forcing gamers to keep an active internet connection when playing, even if they just plan on adventuring solo. This alone could be enough to dissuade some people from giving Diablo 3 a try, which is a shame. It’s not quite the same game we learnt to love twelve years ago, but it’s still great fun and just as addictive as ever.