Diablo 3 Impressions

June 9th, 2012 -

Hey guys, it is Los, or rather, Potionetta Los! After chatting with Ryan and Chris for several months about joining the team, finally, my time has arrived. Now, don’t get too crazy, I don’t necessarily bring “it” like the Rock but I plan on bringing some additional content to the team such as impressions, thoughts on current affairs, etc. Maybe, I’ll even join the team on occasion during a ‘cast! So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to the guys for accepting me and to you, the audience, I hope that you find my pieces informative and entertaining. So, here we go!

Diablo 3 recently came out and was greeted with an enthusiasm not seen often in the PC segment. For those of you who are not in the know, Diablo 3 is the newest release in the series that started in 1996. Diablo 3 is the long awaited sequel and now that it is out, I dove right in.

With most RPGs, I am pretty skeptical. I have a problem with investing my time in something – and like a relationship, it has to be worth it (e.g. the story develops nicely and there is a robust combat system). I have never been one for graphics; as long as the graphics are something akin to the Atari 2600 and it works well with the game, I couldn’t care less. So when I started Diablo 3, despite not knowing the history, I started playing it with an open mind and open heart (cue cheesy music).

The basics of Diablo is this: the title is broken up into 4 acts, where the user will go through and hack ‘n slash his way through essentially waves and waves of undead, mostly dead, sometimes alive, and other unique and often strange looking creatures. In between the hacking, there are some quests that drive the story, some music, some CGI, and a nice twist in the middle. Then, when you beat the game, you can go back and play it again using the same character(s) in a single player and upped challenge (you can control the difficulty) mode, or co-op with friends. The ultimate Diablo experience, however, is the “hardcore” mode, in which you only have one life and once you die, you are dead. Definitely try that if you want a challenge. Seems easy enough, right?

Diablo, in a lot of ways, mirrors what World of Warcraft is today, though the latter probably received its DNA from the former. With that being said, there is so much built into the game with regard to skills, talents, etc., that if you were to look at them on a piece of paper or on a screen without knowing anything about them, you’d probably get a little scared. But Blizzard does an incredible job of allowing you to grow into a few; gain a level and you unlock one or two different talents related to abilities you’re already using. While there is no skill tree per se, Diablo does allow you to customize the various abilities and techniques you will use throughout the game with runes, which give special bonuses to a certain ability. And then, between fights, you can switch out abilities and runes for something else if you wish without being penalized money (wow) or anything else.

Questing is notoriously easy: go to one place or another, kill this monster or that, really nothing extraordinary. There are also some really cool things that go on like the “Events” in which you go through a wave of bad guys and if you are successful, you will get an achievement atop gold and xp. Also, for those not familiar with WOW (Warcraft) or Diablo, the quest box on the right hand side of the screen makes it really difficult for someone to be clueless about what they have to do. And if you are close enough, the map will show an arrow in the direction that you need to go.

My favorite part of the game is the graphics. I mentioned before that graphics do not detract from the game so long as they fit in with the concept. The graphics for Diablo 3 fit tremendously, flowing smoothly from one crashing blade into an enemy skull to the next. There is just something alluring about the colors, almost a water-color look that is very fluid. And when the colors get bright and rich, they are everything you expect, plus some more. Blood is rich, the sand is golden, the hardened earth baked and rough. Really, there is not much more I would ask for.

Music? What is that?

So in roughly 16 years, three games… what? How does that make sense among the rehashes and/or yearly updates of Call of Duty, Madden and Final Fantasy? If you know how Blizzard works, you would understand that they have this arguably insane quality system that all of their games go through, and if it doesn’t meet the standard, it is redone, rebuilt, whatever you want to call it. But that is what makes their games work, that eye for quality that often does not exist with today’s releases. Granted, compared to yesteryear, games released lately are a bit more buggy, but equally a lot more complex in design and scope, not to mention the near infinite combinations of computer builds that any singular title might be up against. It also does not help that if the Diablo servers are down, then you cannot play the game. Yet, Blizzard tends to make up for these unfortunate events by providing some very interesting and outstanding gameplay.

In the end, for someone who has never touched a Diablo game before, I found it immensely enjoyable, full of excitement, danger, and a growing propensity to waste my time. If you like games at all, this is something you should, at the very least, check out.

 

Authors note: I wrote this last week and I find myself a little torn that despite how great the game is, it feels empty as a single player endeavor… and if that is all you go for, then $60 is a little steep. If you have friends playing this as well, you should definitely join up with them and play along, because that is where the most fun is at – multiplayer action until the sun comes up. However, since I’m pretty much a recluse… Heh. 

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