Playing on : Windows 10 PC (AMD fx-8350, GTX 970 FTW, 12GB DDR3)
Year: 2012 (Reaper of Souls 2014) (Rise of the Necromancer 2017)
And thus the latest Diablo and it’s expansions fall before me. Where to begin with this one. In all honesty I feel like I should of replayed Diablo and Diablo II before tackling this game since it would of greatly assisted me in determining what was simply feelings nostalgia and what was not when comparing this game to others in the series.
I guess I’ll talk about what I liked first off. First off and I guess this doesn’t technically count but I’m really happy they didn’t go with the cartoonish “World of Warcraft” art style the game was said to be originally made in though it would of matched a few aspects of the game which I’ll talk about shortly. As for the art style they did go with I think it looks really good for what Diablo is and it feels like a natural progression from the earlier games. Its obviously newer and better looking but it sticks with a similar realistic look of Diablo I and II.
The game world itself is pretty expansive. I don’t remember exactly how much world traveling you did in Diablo II (it’s been over a decade since I beat that game) but in Diablo III and its expansion you get to visit a variety of areas, some which are quite beautiful to behold. From New Tristrim to the deserts and to the frozen battlefields you get to see possibly more of the world of Diablo then ever before. This game more then the others (if I recall correctly) delves into the lore of Diablo and shows us more of the demons and angels that play such a significant role in events. The game even eventually takes you to battle in the high heavens and a final showdown with a reborn and more powerful Diablo, the games namesake and end boss of the original game.
The game also did a great job of bringing back characters and concluding the story of the trilogy (while allowing future games of course). It was especially nice to see old Deckard Cain back, if only for a brief time, and his iconic voice beckoning me to “stay awhile and listen”. The story in my opinion is the highlight of the game and overall its pretty well done and even throws in some twists. As the game progresses not only do you unravel the story as it goes on but there are many tombs in the various dungeons that reveal much of the games overall backstory from the madness of the king in Tristrim to the affairs of the demons and angels.
Another positive is the expansion, Reaper of Souls, which I feel is a very worth expansion adding a significantly beefy act as well as compelling villain. The Demon lords such as Diablo are evil simply because they are evil but the angel of death in Reaper of Souls has more complex motives and was once the wisest of all the angels making him a much more interesting villain.
Controls and the interface are basically like the first two games in the series with 2 globes to represent your life and mana pool as well as the traditional grid inventory with limited space. I played as the Necromancer, my favorite class from Diablo II so most of my battling was done by my minions as I stood back and threw spells. There were a few times where the amount of enemies on screen was pretty high and you could tend to get dog piled but this didn’t happen often if your careful.
One of the big pools of Diablo has always been collecting the loot and the excitement of what will drop from defeating enemies and especially bosses but the thing is I didn’t feel the same rush as I did in Diablo I and II. Somehow the items in Diablo III just felt really….generic. Now to be fair maybe I’m the problem and not the game, maybe my tastes have just changed but I distinctly remember getting excited about the variety of drops that occurred in Diablo and Diablo II and taking time to maximize states and match armor sets. In Diablo III I just wasn’t feeling any of it. Maybe this is the fault of the lack of challenge which I’ll tackle in a moment but loot drops just weren’t satisfying to me as they used to be.
Gold and potions I also found pretty useless and I pretty much never used either throughout the entire game.
And now for what I disliked most about Diablo III, the difficulty. As I mentioned earlier it’s been a very long time since I played the first two Diablo games but I do remember a challenge, I remember fear when encountering Diablo and I remember making good use of my potions. Diablo II is without a doubt and without mincing words, an absolute cakewalk. I was so shocked at how easy the game was I went online and did some googling because I couldn’t believe the game was without this much challenge. So I went back and restarted the game on the hardest difficulty available (I’ll get to this) but it was hardly any more of a challenge. I’m not a big fan of RPG’s with variable difficulty levels in the first place and would prefer a standard experience more hand crafted by the developer but regardless I set my difficulty to what I believe was called “expert” and started anew. The first 30 minutes or so actually felt a little closer to the challenge I remember from the previous games but as soon as I started gaining levels and spells things quickly became unbelievably easy again.
Maybe The Necromancer class is overpowered with its spawnable minions but every victory I achieved in the game felt hallow and unearned. Even death held very little penalty as the two or three times I died during the entire game only meant my weapon and item durability dropped a little and just required a quick visit to the blacksmith a few gold to fix of which I had acquired tons of gold. You even get the option to simply respawn right where you died if you want.
Okay, to be fair you do get higher difficulty options open up to you once you reach level 60 but come on. you basically have to beat the game before you are allowed to set it to any kind of challenge level. So you either have to restart on “master” level or forge on and perhaps set it to “torment” or “torment II”. even with the higher difficulty settings it just feels like it makes the game just more tedious rather then challenging.
The second issue that many people have brought up is the “always online” aspect. Diablo III requires the player to connect to a server to play even when playing single player. Now I’m not for this sort of thing at all and I can’t help wonder what will happen when those servers go down even if it takes a long while for this to happen. Even though in theory I really dislike this I have to admit it never hindered my game experience. I never had any issues connecting to the servers and it never slowed the game down. The only time it had any effect was when I left the game up and took a break only to come back and find my game disconnected due to inactivity and I lost some progress….not something that crossed my mind would happen for a single player RPG.
I didn’t hate Diablo III but beating it felt like an empty victory. RPG games by there nature aren’t as challenging as say a platformer that takes skill. In an RPG you can usually just spend some time grinding XP and leveling until your strong enough if you can’t get by a point but even that grants a sense of accomplishment by putting in some sort of effort to pass a point. Diablo III really offers no challenge. Adding the master difficulty setting from the start probably would of gone a long way to fixing that problem. The scenery was nice and the story was pretty good but it was my least favorite of the trilogy. Deckard Cain you will be missed.
Game World – B
Controls – B-
Game play – D-
Plot – B+
Graphics/Sound – B+
Protagonist (Main Character) – C
NPC’s, Antagonist (main villain) – B
Weapons/armor/items/magic – B-
Enemies – C+
Stability – B
Overall – B- (87)
Personnel Rating – D