Blizzard EntertainmentDeveloped By:
1 (2-4 Co-op/Online) Rated:
M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Violence) Release Date:
September 3, 2013Screenshots: Link Amazon: Buy Now! Written By:
Matthew PruntySeptember 15, 2013
– For what almost seemed like forever, the Diablo series has made his return to home consoles, releasing for the PS3, Xbox 360 and the soon to be released PS4 in 2014. Instead of straying away from what made the series great, Blizzard Entertainment enhanced the experience and continued the lore of Diablo into a franchise/series/trifecta that spans generations. With sitting out the PlayStation 2/GameCube/Xbox generation, and the better part of the current generation, many wondered whether Blizzard was up to the task of returning to consoles. I’m happy to report that Blizzard was definitely up for the task and created one of the best Action-RPG titles to have been released this generation.
There are millions of Diablo players around the world that were waiting for the opportunity to pick up this game; having not fully embraced the PC versions of the game. There is something about a game controller that feels satisfying to countless gamers, so opting to sit out the PC release of Diablo III was a bit disheartening. Lucky for all of us Blizzard Entertainment wanted the world over to experience the latest chapter within their Diablo series.
The first order of business in Diablo III is selecting one of five classes – Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor and Wizard – each with their own distinct fighting styles and abilities. The Barbarian and Monk classes fight on the front lines with devastating power attacks. The Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor and Wizard all fight from a distance allowing to protect comrades while delivering devastating attacks. The Demon Hunter wields a deadly bow; the Witch Doctor can control a horde of undead minions to do their bidding; and the Wizard knows every spells possible to inflict some kind of devastation on their enemies. But the beauty of Diablo III is that; regardless of the class selected, how you actually control the character is up to you. As of righting this review, I have a level 35 Wizard that fights on the front-lines like the Monk and Barbarian classes delivering devastating attacks that inflicts damage on countless enemies at once.
After selecting your character, you are treated to an opening cinematic that sets up the story. The events within Diablo III takes place roughly 20 years after Diablo II, within the evil-filled world of Sanctuary. Deckard Cain and his niece Leah are investigating some ancient texts regarding a worrying prophecy in the Tristram Cathedral when a mysterious star strikes the cathedral, Cain disappears and hordes of the undead rise all around the world. Upon arriving to New Tristram, you help Leah locate her uncle Cain in order to get to the bottom of this “Hell on Earth” situation the world is facing. This is where you get your first taste of the combat system; for those who are not familiar with the Diablo series.
Each character class has nine skill slots that you will be customizing throughout your epic journey in Diablo III. Six of the slots are active, while the other three skill slots are passive. The active skill slots are mapped to the different buttons on the controller making it easy to use these abilities in battle. The passive skills you assigned to the remaining three slots vary in usefulness, however just like the active skills, having the right ones activated can be the difference between being alive or dead. While unlocking new skills, you will also unlock secondary attributes ranging from increasing the potency of your attacks to equipping raised animals with venom for deadlier attacks.
Besides slaying hundreds, if not thousands of the undead, Diablo III keeps you busy both on and off the battlefield. You can relay or luck to acquire good weapons and/or armor from enemies you kill on the battlefield, or simply work with a blacksmith to enhance you and your comrades. In each town you visit, you will come across a blacksmith, who can forge new weapons and/or armor for you to take into battle. Of course, to forge new gear you must first salvage various items you collected on your quest, which are turned into valuable materials. The blacksmith uses said materials to make new weapons/armors for you and/or your other characters in the game. By leveling up the blacksmith, he will learn how to forge new, more powerful gear, which can give you the edge when in battle.
The gear you find on your journey and collect from fallen enemies is classified based on its color. Any weapons/armor highlighted in gray is your “run of the mill” item, which isn’t really worth holding on to. Going up the scale, you have your blues, yellows and orange. Orange highlighted weapons/armor is the rarest items you will come across in the game. Acquiring these for use now or for another playthrough will give you an edge in battle. If you decide to scrap the gear, expect the materials earned to be of a more rewarding use.
Several omissions have been made in order to make Diablo III the best possible experience for home consoles. The first is the most obvious one, the lack of the auction house, which is an iatrical part of the PC experience. While I’m sure Blizzard could of figured out a way to implement it within the console version, they opted to remove the hassle all together and instead make it so you can acquire higher grade gear throughout the campaign, thus rendering the need for the auction house irrelevant. Another change to the experience in Diablo III is the inventory system, which now uses a radial menu for sifting through the goods you acquired. This system is more stream-lined that the one used in the PC version, which will definitely be pleasing to hear for those on the fence about picking up the game.
The world of Sanctuary; the primary focus of Diablo III, is divided into four main areas and are explored across four chapters. Each main area you explore will have its own distinct enemies and settings to explore. The only drawback to the presentation I found was the recycling of the dungeon paths. Most of the dungeons you will explore can be navigated and completed fallowing the same exact path; minus one of two turns being in opposite directions. The environments are full of color and look crisp at all times, which is a testament to the skill and dedication of Blizzard. Most will not realize this, which is a testament to the skill of Blizzard Entertainment. The scope of this game is insane as the average player will most almost half of what can be explored within the game. This is partly because of the enormous lands above and below ground. What also plays a hand in this is the intuitive and delightful multiplayer experience.
Diablo III has tons of content for you to explore, which can easily take upwards of 60-80 hours to see and experience it all. While this game can be tackled alone, the action is more intense and rewarding when playing with friends. Blizzard gives you the option of playing with up to 3 other players via local co-op or by taking the action online for a full online multiplayer experience. Either way, the more people join in on the action, the harder the enemies are to kill and the better the loot that is dropped. If you luck out and play with some cool players, they may drop some gear for you to equip for a better outcome in battle. If you opt for loco co-op, keep in mind that everyone involved will be fighting for the loot dropped and whenever you bring up the inventory menu, the game is paused for everyone while you make adjustments to your gear. In online multiplayer, the action continues around… which is a good and bad thing. If you didn’t clear the area when you brought up your inventory menu, you can easily be attacked and killed without you knowing it.
You can easily see; whether playing on PC or home console, Diablo III was designed with consoles in mind. The action is fast paced and addicting. The loss of battle.net account support and action house may be a downer for some, but the inclusion of local co-op, reworked inventory system and a seamless online experience more than makes up for the minuses. Diablo III is an action-RPG that will test your resolve and dedication to eradicate all evil. Four acts, four difficulty levels, and hours upon hours of gameplay, Diablo III is one of the best; if not the best, RPGs of 2013.9/
10Review copy provided by Publisher...
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