Diablo, a once small franchise originally hailing from the world of the keyboard and mouse, now a dominating dungeon crawler for the masses.
When I heard a sequel to Diablo II was set for development, a staggering 8 years after I had completed it, it was fair to say I was happy… when it was announced that it’d also be coming out on consoles… I was turned to a blubbering mess of joy. Yes, Diablo III (360) has been a very big deal for me, so why don’t you “stay a while, and listen” to my review…
Graphically, Diablo III isn’t the best looking game. Don’t get me wrong it looks fantastic, but it’s nothing ground-breaking. The long distance semi-bird’s eye view has been done plenty of times before, by plenty of different developers. Yes, it is a signature of a true Diablo game but it’s nothing revolutionary. That too, carries for sound as well, it’s nothing that’d make my jaw hit the ground. The score is fantastic, but the general hack and slash sounds mixed with your very predictable zombie-groans and creature-growls leaves little to the imagination. With this said, I understand it’s a challenge for developers to really alter SFX that much, at the end of the day, if I see a zombie, I’d wanna hear a zombie as well.
The story, as it should be with Diablo, is a long and twisted tale with multiple characters battling demons, creatures and demigods. I’m sure the most avid Diablo fan would sit and read the seemingly-endless pages of dialogue between two characters, and I’m sure it’s got a really great story, but I honestly couldn’t do it. The speaking just seemed to drag on and after a while, I found myself aimlessly skipping through these spoken-novels each of the characters would like to share, just to get a sword back in my hand to kill myself. To be honest, you can still enjoy this game massively without knowing where the sun is in the sky that day, or why the leaves of the Red Skylight Tree are actually blue. However, if you’d prefer to know who it is you’re hacking to bits then by all means, do sit through it as you’ll be rewarded with an even greater playthrough. Blizzard are brilliant at writing thousand of years worth of lore and have an ability to tie in so many awesome characters.
The combat I love. Massively! This is coming from someone who used to spam the heck out of the left-click mouse button when playing Diablo II on my dated old PC. The combat feels as though it’s been designed just for consoles. The skills can be assigned to specific hot keys or buttons on the 360’s controller and just makes the fighting so exciting. You’re much more in-control while playing
with a controller.
One thing I would love to see from Diablo in the future is more character customisation. You can choose the sex of the character, and one of a choice of five classes; Barbarian, Monk, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor and Wizard. However, once you’ve made those two (fairly trialing) decisions, that’s it. There’s no choices as to skin tone, hair-style, beard colour, nothing, you’re just made to get on with it. Understandably, after an hour or two of grinding, your warrior will have enough armour equipped to hide his or hers blood-sodden face.
The skill tree works well within Diablo III and rather than having to waste precious skill points on attacks or perks that can at times be useless to your build, as you progress you’ll gradually unlock all of them, you simply choose which skills your choose to assign to which buttons. This way, you can change your build, free of charge at any time. A brilliant idea!
I must say, I’m not a fan of the matchmaking tool. You select your chapter, act and difficulty setting and you’re simply thrown into a game matching your criteria. While, yes it’s arguably a more time-busting way of managing and online community, I didn’t like how random it could be at times. I could be thrown into a match with one player half of my current level in an act far too difficult for said player, leaving me to do all the work for half the rewards. I’d like to see some kind of tool in which you could search the available matches. Once you find a suitable match, with a free space you can jump in and join the online experience. That’d be pretty ace.
Overall, Diablo III is the game I wanted it to be. It failed to surprise me with anything truly awe-inspiring or new but it’s exactly what I expected to see from a Diablo game. A brilliant game from an awesome developer.