Review: Diablo III

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Chris Maeurer from the website could not stop talking about Diablo III. I figured it was time for me to see what all of the fuss was about. It lived up to, and exceeded the hype that Chris had built up for me in regards to the game.

Diablo III has also restored my faith in Blizzard Entertainment for the first time since World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Let’s take a closer look at Diablo III and see everything it has to offer.

30 Second Review

+ Best Diablo gameplay to date

+ Casual and hardcore gamers welcomed

+ Seasons mode

– Act IV feels incomplete

– Small issues with the story line

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Notable Features

  • 5 character classes: Wizard, Demon Hunter, Monk, Barbarian, and Witch Doctor
  • 3 AI followers are available to assist with solo questing and can be upgraded with items and leveled up as well
  • New rune system utilized to make your abilities stronger as you level up
  • 1 on 1 dueling system to challenge and play against your friends
  • Experience a new approach to the way that identifying items, using a portal to go to town or a friend’s location, and using health potions work in a Diablo game

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Made for casual and hardcore gamers

I know it may be a lot to take in–wondering how Diablo III was created with both casual and hardcore gamers in mind. For years a lot of the dedicated fan base of Blizzard Entertainment has been complaining about Blizzard’s games becoming more and more casual and less intense. Even I have been confused by their approach in games. Diablo III finally has given me some insight into this conundrum. Blizzard Entertainment believes that their games can be enjoyed by everyone, both casual and hardcore. While I scoffed at this idea originally, I now realize that they were right, and I was wrong.

Diablo III has several game modes–Normal, Hard, Expert, Master, & Torment Levels I – VI. Normal – Master levels are where the casual experience can be found. Torment levels I – VI are for the intense and hardcore crowd. These difficulty levels affect the AI, how much health they have, how many unique abilities they have access too, along with the percentage and drop rates of gear, and how experience is earned.

The normal and hardcore experience is designed with character selection in mind. Choose to play the game the standard way, and you’ll be able to die and retry levels without any penalties or repercussions. If hardcore is selected, you are given only one life. Once the character dies, the game is over, and a new character will have to be created. I really enjoy this style of gameplay, because it is a nod to everything I love about Rogue-Like games.

Seasons mode is now available in Diablo III. At the start of each season create a fresh and new character. Essentially starting a new game from the very beginning, while also competing against other players in a ladder system to see how far and how much of the game each player can accomplish with everyone starting on an even playing field. This mechanic adds a lot of replayability to the game. I believe Path of Exile was the first to implement such a system, but I’m glad that Blizzard included it.

As far as gameplay goes, this game really is the best Diablo to date. Playing it makes me want more and more content.

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Small issues with the story and Act IV…

While I have always enjoyed playing games in the Diablo genre, there are a few issues that nag at me. In regards to the story of Diablo III, it is a story about Heaven and Hell, angels and demons, and humans being caught in the middle of this eternal struggle. As a faith-based gamer, it is interesting to see a game take on this type of a power struggle. However, it has zero biblical grounding. The story to some degree is a bit sacrilegious. For me, it is a minor issue, but it is still something that Christian gamers need to take into account. Diablo III is more mild when compared to the elements found in games like the The Binding of Isaac.

Act IV is the weakest part of Diablo III. The story is interesting and holds up fairly well.. until you get to Act IV.. Even the gameplay takes a nose dive. I feel like Act IV was rushed and thrown together in order to provide the game with an ending. I’ve replayed the story several times, and the more I play of Act IV, the more I dislike it each time. The maps feel very linear in Act IV; they do not feel as open as other maps that are experienced previously. At times you’ll feel like you’re running down a narrow corridor from point A to point B. The angels act in a way that feels a bit out of character in my opinion. I also don’t feel like there is much resistance from the enemies or even the boss battles. It all just feels like you’re steam rolling through an area just to get to the conclusion of the game. Act IV is also quite a bit shorter in comparison to the other acts. While this might be a blessing just because Act IV is so weak, it just adds to the feeling that Act IV was rushed.

Diablo III is rated M for Mature for blood, gore, and violence. It certainly earns the rating and is something you want to take into account before purchasing for younger gamers.

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The price is right!

Diablo III has been out for a few years now. My published review for the Reaper of Souls expansion is also available. Diablo III is at several retailers for $19.99, which is the perfect price for this game unless you’re getting a bundle that includes the Reaper of Souls expansion. If you’ve not played Diablo III yet but are still unsure whether this game is right for you, then download the demo for free here. The demo allows you to play up to a level cap of 13 and defeat the Skeleton King boss battle.

Basically you’ll be able to experience the first 2 hours of Diablo III for free. I highly recommend playing the demo, as I played it quite a bit, leveling each of the 5 character classes to 13 before I purchased the game. I hope you found this review helpful, and feel free to come play with me in Diablo III. This game is going to monopolize a lot of my time over the next couple of months.

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