It’s time to brush those cobwebs off your sword and get ready to re-enter a world of goblins and all things evil… Yes, the day has come. It’s been a long twelve years since the last Diablo game. Now you can play Diablo 3 and have that feeling of enjoyment that made Diablo 2 so successful. With the recent news from Blizzard showing this game to be the fastest-selling PC game ever, means it can’t be too bad at all can it?
Diablo 3, for those that don’t know, is an action role-playing game that takes place throughout the dark fantasy world of Sanctuary. You play a lonesome hero who engages in some fast-paced and bloody combat, where you need to use your fast reflexes and tactical decisions, to slay all that comes before him. As you progress, you unlock and learn new skills to help you defeat the evil that lies within the dark world of Sanctuary.
So what’s the story so far: The game takes place in Sanctuary, the dark fantasy world of the Diablo series, twenty years after the events of Diablo II? While investigating ancient texts regarding an ominous prophecy at the Tristram Cathedral, Deckard Cain disappears before his niece Leah, falling into a deep crater created by a mysterious object that falls from the sky striking the Cathedral. Your character, known as the Nephalem, arrives in New Tristram to investigate the fallen star. The Nephalem rescues Cain on Leah’s request and discovers that the fallen object is in fact a person. The stranger has no memories except that he lost his sword, which was shattered into three pieces.
Before you can start your adventures the first thing you need to do is choose your class. They oprions are:-
Barbarian: This stoic warrior used tremendous physical strength to crust foes.
Demon Hunter: His ranged weaponry and shadow manipulation make this hero an elusive stalker or demons.
Monk: A holy warrior who attacks faster than the eye can follow, disabling enemies with some lightning fast moves
Witch Doctor: A manipulator of the forces of life and death, this shrewd caster wields the power of the spirits in astounding ways
Wizard: A master of temporal and elemental energies powering creation itself.
Once you have chosen which class you fancy, it’s time to begin. Right from the offset you are faced a locked third-person point of view looking from above. You can’t zoom in out, and you can change which angle you are looking from. At first you may think that’s a bit rubbish as in almost every game you play nowadays you can change the camera view and zoom level to exactly how you like it. Also, you often need to do this in games to help you see what the hell you are doing. We’ll let me tell you now, this does not matter.
As you start to play the game and take in the really nicely drawn artwork you’ll notice the graphics are simply beautiful. You have usual options to change the resolution, have full screen or windowed view. You can change the detail, adjust the sound preferences, pretty much everything else you would expect. Once you start playing after wiping the drewl off your face, it doesn’t take long to see why it has taken Blizzard so long to develop and release the game.
Every creature and character is so finely detailed. The environments are all beautifully hand drawn and simply looks the dogs bollocks. Blizzard certainly have some talented people working for them. The environments are even destructible to a point. As you look around a bookcase may tumble on your head or you may choose to cut a chandelier down and take out some evil goblins. This, coupled with the sound effects as you take out the various enemies, makes for a very immersive feeling and you can quickly forget your surroundings as you are drawn into this new world.
As a die-hard fan of the Diablo series, I was a bit worried that my expectations would be too high for this game and that these would spoil the impact it would make on me. However, I have not been let down. The controls are easy to master too; you simply use the left mouse button to do almost everything, along with the odd keyboard command to bring something up like your inventory. They have pretty much taken the World of Warcraft approach and made the controls as simple as possible to navigate. It doesn’t take you long to feel at home with the control method. As you run around and kill everything in sight, like all ARPG’s, you level up, and as you do this you get stronger and stronger. Nothing new here really.
Now, just because the controls are basic it doesn’t mean that Diablo 3 is simple. It has loads to do; you can even play parts of the game with an internet buddy if you wish. Some demons, especially the boss demons are blooming hard to defeat by yourself. In fact, I had to call upon a friendly Internet player to help me kick a demon’s but at one point.
You also have the usual vast array or weaponry and armour to manage. You pick up loads of loot as you play along. Then you need to manage it all, by either selling it in the in-game auction house, or selling the stuff you don’t want to street vendors that are scattered around the friendly zones and towns. If you are lucky enough, there are even random drops of very rare goodies that I have read can appear randomly. I am yet to be gifted with such an item, but if you are lucky you could find a unique weapon and sell it off in the auction house for a vast amount of money. This is a unique feature of Diablo 3, one that make it so much fun and adds an incentive to occasionally veer off the main quest and explore the huge world of the Sanctum.
The in-game auction house is pretty much what it says, it’s a place you can buy and sell items either by placing a bid, or opting for a ‘buy it now’ price. Its Blizzard’s attempt at an eBay-style world, and so far it looks promising. You have the option to use the in-game gold-based auction house or a real-money auction house. The gold auction house is pretty much as I sounds. You use the gold you acquire during your adventures in Diablo. For the real-money auction house, you buy and sell items for real life money. It seems Blizzard are trying to give people a safer environment to make real life transactions that happen all the time. Often you find people selling off items on eBay, now Blizzard are giving you a safe place to trade; and pocket some commission of course. This is a great new feature, and I can probably see myself using it.
There is a great multiplayer aspect to the game where, if you are stuck on a quest, you can open your game up to public. This way people can join your game and help you out. They can do this either by receiving an invite from another player or by simply searching for available public games that take your skill level into account. There would be no point in you joining a level 50 player’s game when you are level 10. You would be squashed at the first sign of trouble.
There is a small issue I should mention that covers the whole game. If you don’t have an internet connection then you can’t play Diablo 3 as the game requires authentication against your battle.net account. I guest this is there to combat piracy. I do feel it’s a bit risky though as some people still don’t have access to a fast internet connection. I am not sure this is a wise move from Blizzard, but it’s there to protect us all I guess. I feel Blizzard want people to play together and enjoy the world of Diablo 3 together and this certainly helps tie that knot.
There is so much I could talk about in Diablo 3, since the beta I previewed a while back so much has changed. This game has a few minor niggles that could potentially ruin some people’s enjoyment, but these are nothing big. It’s been a long twelve years I have waited since Diablo 2 was released, and now I get to enjoy it all over again. Also if you buy the Limited Edition you can get to play Diablo 2 as it comes on the USB soul stone. Now that’s pretty cool. I am yet to grab one myself but I may fork out if I can get one. Diablo 3 is simply awesome for all levels from newcomers and the die-hard fans of the Diablo series that have been playing Diablo since its first release way back. Diablo 3 is Diablo 2 but far, far better. Something I thought impossible. Now, I have to run. I have another four classes of characters to level up.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
Sound - /10
Replay Value - /10