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Diablo 3 Review

Justin Clouse | 18 May 2012 21:20
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Taking place 20 years after the events of its predecessor, Diablo 3's puts an enjoyable cap on the trilogy. While Blizzard has mentioned that this won't be the last we see of Sanctuary, the setting of the Diablo series, this is the end of the tale surrounding the demon lords, soulstones and one unfortunate town by the name of Tristram. It might have been nice to see just a little more ambition after 12 years since Diablo 2, but Diablo 3 nonetheless delivers on that endless drive to click your way to power, glory and shinier loot.

Throughout your adventure, you'll run into a number of familiar faces, like the Horadic mage Deckard Cain, and visit just as many prior locations. At this point in the story, the demon lords Mephisto, Baal and the all-important Lord of Terror Diablo have been defeated, though the lesser evils of Belial and Azmodan still seek to conquer humanity. A falling star crashes near the town of New Tristram, causing the dead to rise and pulling a new group of heroes into the conflict between man, the High Heavens and the Burning Hells. It's a little too easy to spot the plot twists, but the story provides an important and interesting reason to visit a variety of environments with all kinds of local monsters, fat with experience and treasure, that need slaying.

Monster hunting hasn't changed much in 12 years, and you're still going to be spending a lot of time left-clicking your opponents to death. The action in Diablo 3 has been refined to be extremely fast and fluid, and it's never felt better to wade into a big group of enemies. Blizzard accomplished this by streamlining many of the combat mechanics. For instance, instead of gulping down gallons of health potions, monsters will occasionally drop health orbs, which become your primary method of healing, relegating potions to emergency use. Removing the need to endlessly quaff potions keeps you in the fighting longer, as the surest way to gain health is to kill more enemies. You're losing a little of that tension when you're on your last set of potions and trying to conserve every hit point, but you're also avoiding combat that all too often looks like it would be perfectly scored to "Yakkety Sax."

Another change is the removal of Mana for all but a single class - each class now has their own resource to fuel their skills. Classes also interact with their resource in different ways, the Monk and Barbarian build their Spirit and Fury by attacking with specific skills whereas the Wizard quickly regenerates Arcane Power. These individual mechanics helps to further define and delineate the classes instead of forming them from a single cookie cutter. For instance, the Wizard is a glass cannon that can quickly unload powerful spells and the Monk and Barbarian are rewarded for mixing it up in melee unlike the other classes. It's a great mesh of lore, strategy and gameplay mechanics.

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