Diablo III PC Review – First Impressions & The Result of Our Long Wait
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: May 15, 2012
ESRB: M- Mature
This is the first review in a series for Diablo III. There will be follow-ups focusing on certain aspects, but this is a general overview of the first playthrough for new and returning players. Edit: loot review.
Having not played the previous Diablo games, I will be giving a fresh look at a well-established series. To be honest, I hadn’t even intended on picking up Diablo 3 this summer (let the blasphemous cries commence). However, you can blame my impulse Diablo 3 purchase on both peer pressure and a little nostalgia of my old Blizzard fling. So coming into it I already had a lot of respect for Blizzard and their games. Not only do they release quality material, but they also have a good time doing it. This is shown in all their references to other games and pop culture (no spoilers here, play the game and pay attention to find them). It all boils down to this: we knew Diablo 3 would be a good game, but did it live up to the hype and can we call it a great, must-play game even for new players? Read on to find out.
One of the many things I love about PC gaming is downloading full games and content. Diablo 3 is no exception. Don’t feel like driving up to your local game store? Plop yourself down in that comfy gaming chair and start downloading. The install didn’t take very long either, and before long I was up and running. Little did I know (although I should’ve expected), server issues were a problem for the first few days. And while I wasn’t lined up at midnight for this particular delight, I was still on the receiving end of the dreaded ERROR 37. Server issues, you might ask? Yes, even for single-player. Unfortunately, Blizzard requires you to login to Battle.net for all of its game now. So if you don’t have a decent internet connection… well let’s just assume you do for the remainder of this article.
When I was able to login, I found hero creation to be very simple. You don’t have many options when it comes to your hero: class, male/female, and name. While this was a bit of a shocker to me in comparison to other MMOs, it does allow you to jump right into the game. And that leads to another great feature of Diablo – multiplayer. Playing with your friends is as simple as logging onto one of your heroes and sending an invite or joining another friend from your hero select screen. You can play with up to three other friends, and difficulty scales with the number of players in your party. PvP was not available with the initial release but it will be coming out in a subsequent patch. Instead, we are left with an excellent (although linear) storyline. Not that there is anything wrong with linear, especially in this case. Diablo 3 does a very good job of keeping the story engaging and fast-paced. The story and gameplay integrate very well. There are a few cut-scenes (epic cut-scenes), but a lot of the dialogue occurs during actual gameplay so it doesn’t feel choppy. And – my favorite – you can skip dialogue and cut-scenes so you’re not stuck on later playthroughs.
One of the first things I noticed about D3 was the gorgeous visuals. You may find reasons to stop playing (food, bathroom, girlfriend) but I can guarantee the visuals will keep trying to bring you back. All of the abilities have unique animations, and they really help to customize your hero. The sound quality is also very well done, similar to the visuals in uniqueness for abilities and characters. Some of your in-game sidekicks can be a little annoying sometimes (regarding speech), but you’ll forgive them after they save your life. The menu system is pretty standard. One aspect I found rather interesting was the details portion of your character stats. You can see some pretty detailed statistics about yourself if you care to look for it. Otherwise, it is all pretty simplified and not very cluttered: all good things to have in a menu.
So was the hype worth the wait? Should you play Diablo 3? Well, do you like bashing demon heads with your fists or chucking jars of spiders from a safe distance to plague your enemy? Do you like stunning visuals, varied settings, and constant entertainment? Do you enjoy joining up with your friends, sharing loot, and challenging yourself with higher difficulties? If you answered yes to any of these, I’d recommend giving Diablo 3 a closer look. If you answered yes to more than one, than you should probably buy the game. There is a lot of replayability, both on individual heroes and among all of your heroes (you can share loot among them, we all know you’re going to make one of each). And you can try Hardcore mode if you’re one of those guys: if you die in game, you lose that hero. If that’s not a challenge, I don’t know what is.
As I continue more playthroughs on different heroes and more content is released, I’ll release more review material on Diablo 3. I may even give Hardcore mode a try, just to brag if I somehow manage to pull it off. Leave some comments about what more you’d like to know about so I can include it in future reviews.
+ Well-written and fast-paced storyline
+ Multiplayer is well-integrated and enjoyable
+ Excellent visuals
+ Lots of replayability
+ Killing demons
- Requires an internet connection to play (even by yourself)
- Little hero customization
- Not all game content was released (but at least the rest should be free)
- TOOK FOREVER TO COME OUT
4.5 out of 5 stars