Diablo 3 Review

By Keith Connolly on May 30, 2012

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Diablo 3 has pretty much been on my mind since around 2001 when I played a large amount of Diablo 2.  What Diablo is as a series has been copied, modified, and attempted by so many people since the original Diablo came out it's silly.  Diablo incorporates the best of action RPG into an easy to understand struggle between Angels and Demons (with humans in there somewhere).  Diablos point-and-click gameplays has always captivated it's audience without question.  

Diablo 3 is no different when it comes to those points.  Diablo three has you picking one of 5 classes (Monk, Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, and Wizard) and immediately being thrown into combat.  The game follows 20 years after Diablo 2 and does a good job tieing Diablo 1 and 2 together with eachother and with the 3rd installment.  

Diablo has always been about gameplay and Diablo 3 does not disappoint.  Random drops allow for unique, interesting, and nearly limitless possibilities of items to appear with more promised by Blizzard in the near future.  Random Dungeons allow the game to be both familiar when you re-play but also fresh on a replay.  One of the new features of Diablo 3 is the event system which allows you to take odd types of insta-quests that just activate as you enter an area or talk to an NPC.  These events usually involves some simple objective and usually provide rewards of experience, items, gold, etc. Blizzard has also added an aution house that allows players to buy and sell items for both gold and real money (which blizzard takes a cut of).  

While the sound design is really good the actual implementation of sound is kinda disappointing.  Music is sharp, crisp, and moody, which is a good thing.  The sounds of monsters attacking is both appealing as well as disgusting at the same time.  While the sounds are amazing and the mixing is great the engine does a horrible job delivering the sound.  Sometimes sounds drop off when a monster is still visible on screen and multi-channel support is bad at best.  Bets are off if you have a fancy (like my 7.2) sound system as they only support 5.1 sound and the 5.1 support is also positional only and has no real special effects going on.  Music is also limited to only the front channels.  

This is a MAJOR BONE for a lot of players right now.  The game runs of DirectX9 which is 2 versions removed from the current version(s).  The game looks a feels smooth, textures are not fantastic and can be muddy up close.  Models have decent poly counts but never amaze.  High graphics settings only show a few more stands of grass here and there and shadows are also unremarkable.  Something I want to point out though is that even when Diablo 2 came out the game was technically unremarkable graphically but I personally don't think it hendered the game at all.  Particle effects in the game are fantastic and physics really add to skills and destruction.

Something to note is that this game is 100% online and without a live connection you cannot play, even if you just wanted to play some quick single player.  The game REQUIRES an internet connection and multi-player is integrated with all aspects of the game.  Playes can join friends willy-nilly (or you can go to private mode) and you can open your game(s) to the general public if you are feeling lucky.  Co-op is great in the game and it always feels smooth.  

The online-only nature of the game means lag is a big issue even when playing BY YOURSELF.  It's really frustrating to play the game alone and still have a lag spike or similar issue (luckily I've never had many issues myself -- except for launch night).  The game's launch was filled with bugs and you were lucky to play at all, let alone for an extended period of time.  Luckily, most of those issues are all resolved.  Some people will find the game dumbed down and simpler but in reality you have a lot of customization but what you have avilable is more obvious, pertinent, and you can't really MESS UP your characters anymore with bad builds, etc.

Overall I'd give Diablo 3 a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The game is SUPER fun, amazingly smooth and well put together and keeps a lot of the flare of the original two games.  In the end while it is a very different game it feels like Diablo and I'm glad it's finally here, however, I'm not quite sure it was worth the 12 year wait.

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Keith Connolly
Queen Creek, Arizona 85142
P: (480) 231-9285