It took longer than expected, but I finally had time to beat Diablo 3, and it was pretty impressive.
Let me start by saying (for those who don’t know, or are looking to get into Diablo for the first time) that D3 is a dungeon crawler. For some people, that’s an immediate killer. It’s a very repetitive game that doesn’t stray from it’s walk/point/kill/repeat formula. If that’s not something you’d enjoy, then it’s probably not the game for you. If it is, read on!
The reason that D3 is so addictive, is what it DOES with that basic dungeon crawling format. Beautiful scenery, huge backgrounds and detailed foregrounds make every level stand out and create a distinct feel for each of the game’s four acts. The controls are smooth and the boss fights are epic – really creating a genuine feeling of accomplishment at the end of each act. While you’re continuously bombarded with dozens of enemies on screen, killing them never really feels tired.
The reason: you’re constantly upgrading your abilities and spells, making them more powerful, or acquiring new ones. Watching the wizards disintegration spell go from one beam, to two beams to a multi-beam and then – with the Archon ability activated – an all-out devastation beam is really gratifying. You work hard to get the XP to upgrade, and when you finally do, it’s a great feeling. Not to mention that you do considerably more damage to monsters, and with a group of four friends all smashing away at a wall of flaming enemies, the battles look so epic it’s hard not to just lose yourself in this game and wonder where the hours went.
Along with the leveling of abilities, the game also gets harder as you level. Once you beat the game on normal, you unlock a harder difficulty. These harder levels give you access to more rare drops and better items/equipment. In order to get the best gear, you need to play on the hardest difficulties. There is another way too though, which I’ll explain a little later.
All of these things add to the main aspect that makes D3 such a great experience: Exploration. While wandering you can run into boss fights, random dungeons and treasure as well as finding hidden areas and vendors. There’s so much to find! Loot drops like crazy, and you’ll find yourself heading back to town to craft items and free up some bag space so you can get back out there and fight.
This brings me to another awesome part of D3. The ease in which you swap in and out of battles is great. You simply teleport into town, free up bag space and teleport right back to where you were in the dungeons. That’s it! For fans of World of Warcraft, you know what a HUGE difference this is. Things like repairing items and buying pots and other items is so simple, that I wonder why any other iteration of the implementation ever existed! When in a group, one person can port back to town, do business and then simply click on the flag of another member of the party, and instantly port to where that person is (usually right in the middle of the fight you just left). So good.
One thing I have to say is that the controls – while simple and awesome – have one tiny flaw. For ranged attackers, you need to point in the direction of the enemies you want to attack, and often, the screen is so full of enemies and fire that you lose your cursor. This leads to madly flailing your mouse around until you see it again, then attacking. Small, but annoying thing in a general bucket of gaming awesomeness.
Now comes my biggest gripe about the game. Seeing as it is a single player experience, and no other player has any sort of detrimental effect on you, this shouldn’t really matter, but it’s just a matter of principle that I bring it up. The auction house sells any and all items that you could possibly want. You can completely deck out your character in high-level gear if you have the coin to do so. The reason I don’t like this is that it completely ruins the exploration aspect of the game. One of the best parts is finding a rare boss and beating it to see what you get off of him! If you equip your character to the nines with AH bought items, then you won’t get any enjoyment out of killing/looting bosses. Seems like a trivial argument, but it’s one I’m making none the less. If you want it, earn it by beating the appropriate boss. It was the same in WoW, and I know that it’s part of the game, but still.
All in all, D3 was an awesome experience and I’m looking forward to playing through the harder difficulties now, seing what drops and hopefully getting through it with my sanity!
If you’ve played Diablo 3, let us know what you think!