Diablo III Review (Windows PC)

Posted by Pat Gibbons (RedCoatGunman), May 21, 2012 18:38

After eleven years of development, and 6 years of hype, Diablo III is now live. Once again, the forces of the Burning Hells have been loosed upon the world of Sanctuary, and they shall Diablo IIIserve to quench the thirst for some visceral, hack-n-slash RPG action. I do not exaggerate when I say that my expectations for this game could not be any higher. After hours and hours of continuous gameplay, scrutiny, and demon slaying, I am finally ready to pass judgment on Diablo 3.

Old Tristram vs. New Tristram

At first glance, Diablo III looks just like its predecessors. Taking the role of one of five characters, the player must fight against endless hordes of beasts, demons, and the undead in order to avert the coming apocalypse. This, of course, is business as usual in Sanctuary. Veterans of the franchise will instantly recognize the classic Diablo interface. The random Map and Loot generators make a return and almost guarantee a high replay value by themselves. Plus, Diablo 3 still has the old, top-down, hack-n-slash style of gameplay.

Diablo III gameplay

Diablo III does offer plenty of new gameplay features as well. The biggest deviation from the old games is illustrated in how each class plays. In Diablo 2, each class varied in terms of abilities and tactics, but they all still functioned on the same mechanic of consuming “Mana”. Now, in Diablo 3, the classes could not be any more different. Each class has its own power source, which is used and replenished in different ways. The Wizard, for example, uses a resource called “Arcane Power”, which regenerates at a constant, and rather fast pace. The Monk, on the other hand, uses “Spirit”, which can only be replenished by hitting enemies with certain strikes. The Demon Hunter class is especially complicated, in that it has two separate energy sources, these being “Hatred” and “Discipline”, which recharge at completely different rates. This means that the game will feel completely different depending on what class the player chooses. This adds a great deal of longevity to the game, and allows for the development of new and complex gameplay strategies.

Diablo III Character Progression

In the previous game, players progressed along a skill tree, which encouraged class specialization. Now, skills are gained in a scheduled, linear fashion, another big change. This means that a player will inevitably have access to every skill in their chosen class. However, only six abilities are available for the player to use at any given time in Diablo III.

Some extra customization options for Diablo III characters come in the form of Skill Runes that the player acquires as they advance in level. Each skill has five runes corresponding to it, which can be applied to alter the effects. Often, the Runes come with a damage bonus, but some also change how the skill is used. For instance, applying the “Thunderclap” rune to the Monk’s “Fists of Thunder” skill allows the player to teleport a certain distance to their target. I find this combination handy for taking down more elusive enemies.

Diablo III skill sets

While the Runes do allow for plenty of character building opportunities in Diablo III, I feel that some of the specialization options have been lost from the older games. Unlike in the previous games, stats increase automatically upon leveling up instead of choosing where points go. Furthermore, each class depends solely on a single attribute for its damage dealing ability. Strength only affects armor value in all classes, except the Barbarian. There are a lot of interesting combinations that can be had with Skill Runes, but I feel that a level of creativity has been lost without the ability to tweak one’s stats. There’s always augmentation via equipped items, but that may be more of a hassle in the long run.

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Our Rating for Diablo III Review (Windows PC)
8.5 Replay
While the game is as linear as they come, there is a surprising amount of content. Between achievements, crafting, random world events, hidden journals, and loot, it is impossible to see everything in one play through. Most of the unique items are only available after unlocking higher difficulties and Hardcore mode is available to those brave enough to play the game in a single life.
9.0 Graphics
Diablo III is a beautiful game all around. The environments are detailed and dynamic. The animations are both well done and flashy. The cutscenes are easily Blizzard’s best yet. I am hard pressed to find a similar game that looks better.
9.0 Sound
The music and ambient sounds set the tone for the game. Sound effects are spot on and give substance the player’s actions and the voice talent is superb.
8.5 Gameplay
Hack-n-slash action at its finest. The classes all play differently, and the Skill Runes allow for plenty of experimentation, though some additional customization options would have been appreciated.
9.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
Joining a game is incredibly easy. I only wish there were an in-game voice chat feature.
9.0 Overall
Diablo III is a worthy successor to the franchise. Blizzard continues its tradition of great story and gameplay. I am very much looking forward to the next one.

Rating: 4.3, votes: 11

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