Friday, June 1, 2012

Diablo 3: Review

Yes, missing in action but my intention is to try to fill this sucker with as much content consistently as possible :P

So here is my written review of Diablo 3, unedited before I sent it to my newspaper. Video review in a day or two.

Few game titles in the world can get its fans to gobble like gooses or faint like tween in a Justin Bieber concert like Diablo 3 but under all this hyper-hype does it do windows too?

Diablo 3 story follows the story of the Dark Wonderer and his niece Leah after a star fell from the heavens. Needless to say anything falling from is not good news and all manner of undead and demonic creatures decide to hold a massive rave for the event.

Your hero arrives to the scene lead by some cosmic dowsing stick in time to see New Tristram under attack by the undead. After dealing with them the plot thickens to implicate Leah's mother, Adria, is somehow involved in all of this mess. To make a short story shorter, you see Angels, Demons kicking Angel butts and you killing Diablo again for the third time to play the whole shebang again at higher difficulty.

Ok now let's get to the part you all are waiting for: character creation and development. The procedure is fairly painless, choose the character class that you are partial to then select your primary attack type (left click) which charges up your ability's resource pool, i.e. Mana, Hatred, etc. Next you select secondary attack type (right click) which uses your ability's resource pool. In addition, you have quick slots for 4 special abilities and 3 passive abilities (these are always active). As you level up you gain access to more attack types, special abilities and passive abilities which also gain upgrades (not passive abilities) called ruins to help with particular dungeons or enemies.

Along the way you pick up armour, weapons and articles of clothing. Each, adding bonuses to you impressive stats, come in a few varieties: non-magical, magical, rare and legendary. If you are not satisfied with what you find can craft yourself new gear by sacrificing some magical ones for the raw ingredients.

Not good thing should go unshared, Diablo 3 has online multiplayer co-op (sometime soon Player vs Player) so you can bring that fun to your friends has you gang up to beat-up large groups of feeble enemies like a bunch of school yard bullies that you are.

Now come to the part all you fan boys dread; what do I think of Diablo. Honestly, speaking I am a hater of the Diablo series. I did not the first and second instalments of the franchise. But to the credit of Blizzard, they streamlined a lot of the gameplay mechanics of the game. One of the biggest improvements in this regard that Town Teleportation is now available as ability.

Another thing I enjoyed is the ability to change the upgrade to my abilities to fit my type of combat allowing me to choose lower upgrades should I want or need it. Which, when it all comes together lead to some epic battles with the hordes of enemies from low level bosses.

But it is not all smelling of roses in the land of Sanctuary, I got issues and you will hear them. First, off the story is extreme short and boring. Playing through normal difficulty completing all the quests and killing every single thing that is not a red highlight took only 12 hours. Once, you have finished the first run though you cannot much be bothered with the story anymore. The different classes have very little variety in terms of dialogue so do not expect a plot twist somewhere.

Since, you have to grind a lot to get some useful gear to use you will have a mass of magical and most annoyingly non-magical items laying around. Which is a shame since you cannot use these high quality non-magical gear to craft into excellent into higher grade stuff. Instead they go for mere pennies are better left on the floor. That is a pity because it would be nice to encounter some enemies that are totally immune to magical equipment like that of Skyrim or Baldur's Gate.

What is most disturbing is the Auction House and the economy of it. Because you can buy and sell items for real cash it feels more of a bankrolling system for World of Warcraft palyers to support their addiction rather any meaningful ecology of the game.

Diablo 3 is a good game but after hitting the 40-50 hour mark all that left is for you to spend the addition time on making some cash but for me I think I may just sell off my account after hitting the 40 hour mark.

If the game was cheaper to begin with and maybe had several DLCs announced that would expand the story or plot a good 20 hours I would hang on for a bit more. But for me the greatest appeal so far is those huge single player tactical battles against the hordes of enemies, I find multiplayer co-op cheapens that experience, the big boss battles are just time wasters and the whole finding, crafting and auctioning nonsense just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

System Requirements:
OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
CPU: Intel Pentium D 2.8 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
RAM: 1 GB (1.5 GB for Vista and 7)
Graphic Card: NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT 256 MB or ATi Radeon X1950 Pro 256 MB
Sound Card: 100% DirectX card
Space: 12 GB

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