Written by Jesse Seilhan
Diablo. There are few words in the gamer language that are more powerful. Diablo has stood the test of time by staying a benchmark of success while building a legacy with each passing title and subsequent gap between titles. The first two games took players on a journey through medieval settings and pit them against unspeakable foes with intensely dangerous and diabolical powers. Since then, Blizzard has staked its claim with the World of Warcraft franchise and is finally ready to unleash an all-new loot grind unto the world. Seeing as how it sold 3.5 million copies on the first day, it looks like the world is ready, but was Blizzard?
The gameplay revolves around an OCD-fueled piñata mechanic where players click multicolored demons until various prizes and gold spill forth from their mortal wounds. Given the random nature of said spoils, the hours can rack up quickly while trying to obtain that sword or necklace with one fancy attribute that you just have to have. The simplistic controls offer an easy entry for novices to become acquainted with, but the mix and matching of various powers allows veterans to get the specialized character they can obsess over. Not so simple is the difficulty curve, which swings from paltry and pathetic to mind-numbingly troublesome from one level to the next. Normal mode offers little-to-no challenge and is mostly a primer for the game’s mechanics and systems because once Nightmare, Hell, or Inferno mode begins, the time for learning is over and the time for pain is nigh.
Four-player co-op in the game is of the “drop in/drop out” variety, allowing players to seamlessly play alone or with others with a click of the mouse, something you will be quite good at after playing many hours of D3. If playing with others is not your bag, the game does offer various A.I. companion characters to help out on your journey to defeat the dark lords that reside within the game’s various environments. Those areas are spread across four acts, taking at least a dozen hours to complete, but doing so would make little sense. I spent a good 20 hours until I saw the credits roll because I replayed the first two acts before venturing forward, simply to help out buddies in trouble or attempt to grab some better loot than I did on my prior run. The trend-setting graphics and sound set new benchmarks for CG video cutscenes and help propel you between these large acts. Tying this universe and gameplay together is an engrossing storytelling that only Blizzard can create, weaving mystical plots through one another over a few dozen hours. There are aspects to Diablo III that have nothing to do with the game but must be taken into account before a purchase, such as the “always on” internet policy, meaning that even a single-player experience requires constant connection and also means the pitfalls of the internet such as lag and disconnections are a built-in reality. If you can ignore that singular choice Blizzard has made, then you will be left with one of the finest games to hit any platform since its predecessor was released. If you own a PC that can run this game, it needs to be run.
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