Diablo III review (PC)

MattyG | 71d ago | User review
Reviewing: Diablo III
A Looter's (Always Online) Paradise
Diablo 3 launched on PC in May of 2012 after many years of development and waiting. Amidst the buzz and excitement, though, was frustration and dissapointment. Errors at launch, a real money auction house and always online DRM were the main issues fans had, and they hindered many players enjoyment of the game. While the errors have long since been sorted out, most of the games flaws still remain. So, was Diablo 3 worth the wait, or did Blizzard sabotage their own product with poor decisions?

Picking up twenty years after Diablo 2's conclusion, Diablo 3 follows the player and a cast of sometimes interesting, if mostly cliche cast of characters in their quest to defeat the returned Lords of Hell, Belial and Azmodan, and eventually Diablo himself. The fairly thin plot is helped along by some stunning cinematics that give a sense of context to the events unfolding in Santuary. These cinematics are few and far between however, and ultimately seem to be just eye candy rather than a means of deep exposition. But the draw of the Diablo series has never been in it's story, but rather game's consistently addictive looting mechanics.

Looting has always been at the core of the Diablo experience, and Diablo 3 isn't planning to change that. Every dungeon is packed with gold and loot to be hoarded away, and many of the enemies you defeat will spew out something shiny for you to pick up. This time though, Blizzard tried to add a wrinkle to the loot system in the form of the much maligned auction houses. These allow you to sell any loot you aquire for in-game gold or small amounts of real world currency. Many players felt that this made the game feel less about the looting and more about how much you could spend on items, as well as potentially lowering drop rates on the more rare loot in the game (I never felt this was an immediate issue, but it has been thrown around the D3 commiunity for a while). However, if you were driven off by the auction houses, you're in luck as Blizzard is removing them in a little over a month, so a few of the issues players had with drop rates many be resolved when this takes place.

Future fixes aside, Diablo 3 has an addictive and compelling system at it's core. But a solid looting system is nothing without a fun means to aquire said loot. Luckily, Diablo 3 delivers fun, satisfying combat in spades. Diablo 3's 5 main classes all deliver varied and interesting sets of skills which fundamentally alter the rythm and flow of the game's combat. A wizard build may focus on slower area of effect attacks, while a barbarian may be a tank on legs whose focus strongly leans towards melee. There's a class and skill set for everyone in Diablo 3, it's just a matter of putting the time into leveling and discovering what skills work best for you.

As fun as it is however, Diablo 3 can occasionally be dragged down by one of Blizzard's most baffling and frustrating decisions; an always online requirement. Although it was rare, I noticed quite a few instances where gameplay would stutter and sometimes halt, not due to my hardware being unable to handle the game, but due to a slightly unstable internet connection. In a single player game (which is admittedly has optional co-op), it is absurd and frustrating to have the quality of one's experience dictated by their internet quality. Again, this was never a massive issue for me, but I suspect that it could create major problems for some.

Visually, Diablo 3 retains a similar aesthetic to it's predecessors. Everything has a decidedly Dungeons and Dragons look to it, although this isn't to say it's generic or derivative. Like most Blizzard games, Diablo 3 has a certain charm about it that sets it out from the crowd. It doesn't take any major risks in the visual department, but it is consistently good looking. The games physics help it to feel like a real world as well, with books flying across rooms and desks shattering on a spell's impact.

Diablo 3 may have suffered a turbulent launch and a large amount of (justified) fan backlash, but many of the problems that it suffers from can easily be overlooked in the face of it's fun gameplay, addictive looting sytem, and frequently charming aesthetic. The always online requirement can be a drag at times, and the auction houses can feel like an intrusion on the game's otherwise impeccable looting system, but it never feels unenjoyable due to these things. If you originally avoided Diablo 3 due to negative rumblings, give it a shot. You might just be surprised.
Ups
Looting is as enjoyable as ever
Visually appealing
Varied classes keep gamplay fresh over multiple playthroughs
Downs
Always online requirement
Story isn't exactly compelling
Score
8.8
Graphics Although not groundbreaking by any means, Diablo 3's aesthetics hold an unidentifiable charm/
7.5
Sound There isn't much special in terms of sound. Music is consistently great, but that's about it.
9.0
Gameplay Even after 15 hours on a single character, Diablo 3 kept me hooked by it's combat and looting system.
8.5
Fun factor Killin' demons and lootin' chests is always fun, no matter what.
6.0
Online Co-op can be fun (although I didn't experience enough to have it be a significant factor in my review), but if you don't have a solid connection the entire gameplay experience can be hurt by Blizzard's online requirement.
8.3
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
moegooner88  +   71d ago
Great review Matty, I see you have been putting your PC to a good use. Thinking about picking this up for PS3.
MattyG  +   67d ago
Thanks Moe!

I've actually heard that the console versions are just as good, if not better, than the PC version. I might pick it up when it hits PS4.
#1.1 (Edited 67d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
coolbeans  +   70d ago
Good review, Matty. Even with the reported fixes, I've never had that much of an interest in this series.

Love this old honest game trailer that released closer to its initial launch: http://www.youtube.com/watc...
#2 (Edited 70d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
MattyG  +   67d ago
Thanks Coolbeans!

It's definitely not for everyone. The entire ARPG genre never really interested me until I played a little Torchlight on 360, and then I was hooked.
liamrowee  +   69d ago
Great Reviews Sir, got a lot of very informative information after reading this article...
MattyG  +   67d ago
Thanks, I'm glad it was helpful!
#3.1 (Edited 67d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
FogKnight22  +   66d ago
It is great to see the PC version of Diablo 3 review so I gotta thank you for that. Well written and the points are agreeable. The story wasn't really that spectacular but the addicting game mechanics made me play it until I finish the Inferno Mode on my PS3.

I have played the console version though so there will be comparisons and differences between those two versions and the same reason why I am happy to see PC review for the game.

Again, thank you for your time to make the review :3

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Diablo III

Average Score 8.6 Reviews(276)
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