Smash reviews Diablo III.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

So, here it is folks. My first user review on this site. I have a few thoughts on Diablo 3 I want to share and where better to do it?

About online only - in this review, I wont cover the online only thing. This is just about the game. I'm sure everyone has read enough about the DRM already. Online only also wont influence the end score this game gets.

image

After 12 years of waiting, the newest Diablo title has finally hit the shelves. Can the game live up to the expectations of gamers around the world?

In almost all ways, Diablo 3 is another hack and slay almost identical to any other in the genre, and yet the small twists it does bring with it more often make the game worse than they make it better. Combat is brutal and satisfying, and I don't think I have ever played a game that made launching yourself into a hoard of enemies from a birds eye perspective more satisfying and thrilling than Diablo 3 does. Fights have that feeling of impact, that oomph factor that can make or break a title like this. In this respect Diablo 3 is miles ahead of other games battling for the title of king of the genre, and it might be what will ultimately keep this game on the throne.

Even with low system requirements and muddy-ish textures, Diablo 3 looks great.
Even with low system requirements and muddy-ish textures, Diablo 3 looks great.

The aesthetics are outstanding. While the graphics are less than impressive when looked at from a technical stand point, they are still good enough to help create Diablo's dark and brooding atmosphere. You will wander through ancient dark dungeons, navigate graveyards crawling with undead, explore torture chambers scattered with the remains of victims - if you worry Blizzard have sacrificed the dark atmosphere Diablo is partially famous for for a cartoony happy vibe, you can rest assured. Its not the case. The story is equally dark, but it only gets a passing mention, since its rather cliche. The cinematics at the end of each chapter are stunning, but other than that, the story is unlikely to raise or keep your attention for long.

On top of that fights look and sound very nice indeed. The visual and audio feedback do a lot to create the overall feel of combat I mentioned earlier. Stand in the middle of a bunch of enemies while using your abilities and you will be treated to a feast for the eyes. Spells explode left and right, monsters fly around the screen as they die, the occasional baddy even explodes, covering the ground around it with blood. This spectacle only becomes better with each character that joins your party.

Which brings me to the one and only thing that drags Diablo 3's combat down a notch: the difficulty. The game is incredibly easy on the "Normal" setting, so easy in fact that until the end of the third act you will have to actively try to die to get into any sort of real danger. All but 2 of the games big bosses are laughably easy. They are so easy you might feel a bit stupid after spending 10 hours listening to people talk about how oh so powerful this or that demon is, only to finally meet him and kill him in less than a minute without taking more than 100 points of damage. After completing the game once on "Normal", you do unlock the "Nightmare" difficulty setting, which immediately makes the game as challenging as it should be and even requires you to use a bit of tactic from time to time.

Diablo 3's lackluster, tedious abilities menu hints at a rushed game, as ridiculous as it sounds.
Diablo 3's lackluster, tedious abilities menu hints at a rushed game, as ridiculous as it sounds.

Now its time for a big negative point. Level ups.

As you may have already heard, you no longer assign points or unlock attributes yourself. Its a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who have enjoyed various hack and slay games over the last few years, since hours of grinding finally paying off when you reach that next level were only rewarding when you got to assign points to various attributes and skill trees.

Diablo 3 has done away with that - it does everything automatically, and there is no skill tree in the game at all. Instead, we get runes, which are also automatically unlocked without player choice coming in, but at least give you one tiny bit of customization. Its still not enough to replace the old system. Level ups feel less satisfying as a result of this switch, even more so when you consider that you can pass numerous levels without unlocking anything at all, and whats more, this system will have one conclusion that could prove demoralizing for anyone planning to play Diablo 3 for hundreds of hours; your level 60 demon hunter or monk will be almost identical to every other level 60 demon hunter or monk out there. And as if that wasn't enough, the screen where you assign abilities and runes is a bit of a cluserbuck. Switching between runes and abilities turns tedious quickly, a process accelerated by a puzzling 5 second cooldown every time you assign a new spell or rune to a mouse button or key. Theres just absolutely no reason for it to be there in single player or co-op. Its something that belongs in PvP, which one might add, did not ship with the game and will only be added at a later date.

More "casual" player may even see this as a plus point, and for them it probably is. If you haven't played a hack and slay before, its one less complicated thing standing between you and kicking monster ass. But for veterans of the genre its a big turn off. After 10 !!! years of development you cant help but ask why they couldn't come up with something better, some middle ground, something more polished. They certainly had enough time.

The auction house is a seemingly useful feature that may turn out to do more harm than good in the end.
The auction house is a seemingly useful feature that may turn out to do more harm than good in the end.

Another of Diablo 3's more controversial features is the auction house, a place where players can trade items between them with either in game gold or real money. On the one hand, its good, because it destroys the gold and item farming market that plagues other titles in one swoop, a market which was ripe with fraud and dodgy websites. On the other, it may destroy the staying power of the game even further. One of the big things in this genre is repeatedly farming bosses for powerful new items and set parts, but who will do that when theres a safe, legal auction house right there in the game which allows you to buy the most powerful items in the game for real money? Only time will tell how this turns out.

Bottom line: Diablo 3 is a more than competent hack and slay, and you are likely to have a lot of fun with the fights themselves, but almost everything surrounding it is dripping with disappointment and bad decisions. Nothing in the game hints at its long development time - its something that could have been done just as well by another studio in 3 years. If you have some loose cash laying around, its worth a buy, but its not worth your last buck. With games like Path of Exile, Torchlight 2 and Grim Dawn coming up, it might be a better idea to wait it out and invest in those games instead.

Score: 3.5/5

image

So that was my first rather long review. Be sure to let me know what you think if you got through the whole thing, criticism and feedback is appreciated. Also, discuss the game and my views on it, of course :P

I agree with your summary for the most part. I don't find that the game really lives up to the hype.

Still, I feel that the skill system is very flexible and allows for you to develop a "favorite strategy" and then cherry pick skills to aid in that. Want more aoe? Chose x ability with y runes. Want to incapacitate enemies, choose skills g and f with z runes. Want more survivability? Tweak your passives and switch one rune to one that heals you etc etc. It's really creative in my opinion.

My only problem with it is that you don't get the flexibility to choose the right skils for your style until later in the game - level 25 and beyond. It's about 6 or 7 hours before the skill system really starts to shine - before that you basically just use what you're given and the game drags a lot in that regard. It's a blast afterward though, especially once act 3 rolls around.

Justin Fritz:
Still, I feel that the skill system is very flexible and allows for you to develop a "favorite strategy" and then cherry pick skills to aid in that. Want more aoe? Chose x ability with y runes. Want to incapacitate enemies, choose skills g and f with z runes. Want more survivability? Tweak your passives and switch one rune to one that heals you etc etc. It's really creative in my opinion.

While its true the runes system grants at least some freedom, its nothing when compared to other hack and slays. In Diablo 2 you could specialize your build toward one type of damage, Titan Quest allowed you to pick 2 specializations that each came with massive skilltrees.

Anyway, thats just my opinion. I can see why some people would prefer the new system.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Justin Fritz:
Still, I feel that the skill system is very flexible and allows for you to develop a "favorite strategy" and then cherry pick skills to aid in that. Want more aoe? Chose x ability with y runes. Want to incapacitate enemies, choose skills g and f with z runes. Want more survivability? Tweak your passives and switch one rune to one that heals you etc etc. It's really creative in my opinion.

While its true the runes system grants at least some freedom, its nothing when compared to other hack and slays. In Diablo 2 you could specialize your build toward one type of damage, Titan Quest allowed you to pick 2 specializations that each came with massive skilltrees.

Anyway, thats just my opinion. I can see why some people would prefer the new system.

Before Diablo 3, I played about 50 hours each of both Diablo 2 and Torchlight. A lot of the time, while I was alloting my skill points, and this was equally prevalent in both games, I would be dumping them into skills I already had just to make them stronger by an arbitrary value whether it be flat or percentage based. It was rare I could get a new ability or upgrade an existing one, and that to me was the fun part of character growth - but it only happened rarely. Then the leveling slowed down and it became a chore to even get that satisfaction. You get new abilities every single level now and you can use whatever you want whenever you feel like it. It feels like a huge upgrade to me.

I can't say I understand your viewpoint, but we haven't had the same experiences.

Justin Fritz:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Justin Fritz:
Still, I feel that the skill system is very flexible and allows for you to develop a "favorite strategy" and then cherry pick skills to aid in that. Want more aoe? Chose x ability with y runes. Want to incapacitate enemies, choose skills g and f with z runes. Want more survivability? Tweak your passives and switch one rune to one that heals you etc etc. It's really creative in my opinion.

While its true the runes system grants at least some freedom, its nothing when compared to other hack and slays. In Diablo 2 you could specialize your build toward one type of damage, Titan Quest allowed you to pick 2 specializations that each came with massive skilltrees.

Anyway, thats just my opinion. I can see why some people would prefer the new system.

Before Diablo 3, I played about 50 hours each of both Diablo 2 and Torchlight. A lot of the time, while I was alloting my skill points, and this was equally prevalent in both games, I would be dumping them into skills I already had just to make them stronger by an arbitrary value whether it be flat or percentage based. It was rare I could get a new ability or upgrade an existing one, and that to me was the fun part of character growth - but it only happened rarely. Then the leveling slowed down and it became a chore to even get that satisfaction. You get new abilities every single level now and you can use whatever you want whenever you feel like it. It feels like a huge upgrade to me.

I can't say I understand your viewpoint, but we haven't had the same experiences.

How much have you played? Have you started playing a harder difficulty setting yet? Because I stopped getting new abilities and runes with every level up a while ago.

Anyway, shall we just agree to disagree? I really prefer the old system, while you prefer the new one and thats fair enough. Its not that I'm not interested in hearing your viewpoints and opinions, it just seems like we could go back and forth like this for 20 posts and not really get anywhere.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and if you could tell me what you thought of the quality of the review I would love that too. You know, just briefly tell me if my style is good, if I should have covered certain things less or more, that kind of stuff.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
EDIT: Oh yeah, and if you could tell me what you thought of the quality of the review I would love that too. You know, just briefly tell me if my style is good, if I should have covered certain things less or more, that kind of stuff.

It's a decent review. You actually make an effort to be objective, which is rare, and your score of 3.5 out of 5 is fair. You could've touched on the always-on DRM portion of the controversy without letting it affect your score if you'd wanted.

If I had any complaints it would be that it's a little dry.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
EDIT: Oh yeah, and if you could tell me what you thought of the quality of the review I would love that too. You know, just briefly tell me if my style is good, if I should have covered certain things less or more, that kind of stuff.

It's not bad honestly. The only way I could tell this wasn't a professional review was the fact that you consistently used "its" instead of "it's". The content quality was perfectly fine, and unlike professional reviews (I've been reading a lot of reviews), you didn't just kiss Blizzard's ass the whole time. Other than my little... let us say disagreement, I concur with the score you gave and your criticisms as well.

BloatedGuppy:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
EDIT: Oh yeah, and if you could tell me what you thought of the quality of the review I would love that too. You know, just briefly tell me if my style is good, if I should have covered certain things less or more, that kind of stuff.

It's a decent review. You actually make an effort to be objective, which is rare, and your score of 3.5 out of 5 is fair. You could've touched on the always-on DRM portion of the controversy without letting it affect your score if you'd wanted.

If I had any complaints it would be that it's a little dry.

Justin Fritz:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
EDIT: Oh yeah, and if you could tell me what you thought of the quality of the review I would love that too. You know, just briefly tell me if my style is good, if I should have covered certain things less or more, that kind of stuff.

It's not bad honestly. The only way I could tell this wasn't a professional review was the fact that you consistently used "its" instead of "it's". The content quality was perfectly fine, and unlike professional reviews (I've been reading a lot of reviews), you didn't just kiss Blizzard's ass the whole time. Other than my little... let us say disagreement, I concur with the score you gave and your criticisms as well.

Ok, thanks. I might start writing a few more of these, just from time to time when a title comes along that interests me enough. Glad you guys liked it anyway.

EDIT: And to Guppy specifically; I thought about writing a paragraph on always online without letting it effect the score, but its been discussed to death on these forums already. Its a bit like the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy - everything that can be said about it has been said by at least 50 people in gaming discussion.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
EDIT: And to Guppy specifically; I thought about writing a paragraph on always online without letting it effect the score, but its been discussed to death on these forums already. Its a bit like the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy - everything that can be said about it has been said by at least 50 people in gaming discussion.

Fair enough, that's a salient point.

Just out of curiosity, do you use elective mode for your skills? I found it a lot less on rails after that.

BloatedGuppy:
Just out of curiosity, do you use elective mode for your skills? I found it a lot less on rails after that.

Fortunately I saved myself a lot of trouble by activating elective mode right at the start of the game. It was the first thing I did when I entered, even before killing my first monster. A Gamestar video I watched a day before release gave me that hint.

Its still to on rails for me. I think that crept into my review a little; I'm kinda butthurt about how on rails it all is.

But you know, I'm still playing it, so its not that bad.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Fortunately I saved myself a lot of trouble by activating elective mode right at the start of the game. It was the first thing I did when I entered, even before killing my first monster. A Gamestar video I watched a day before release gave me that hint.

Its still to on rails for me. I think that crept into my review a little; I'm kinda butthurt about how on rails it all is.

But you know, I'm still playing it, so its not that bad.

Ah. I wasn't even aware elective mode existed until someone on these forums informed me of it. They really tucked it away, didn't they? Should've been the default. Seriously weird decision.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Mighty Snipping

First off, beautifully put together review. Formatting is of exceptional quality, especially for a forum post, and your writing was excellent.

Game opinion wise, I'm only just finishing off my first run through on Normal, and I have to agree the game is a fair bit too easy on Normal. Only time I've had any trouble is on my Demon Hunter versus very specific types of monsters. Looking forward to getting into Nightmare and Hell though.

As for skills, I agree with Justin. I enjoy the new skill system, customisation in games of this type has a tendency to boil down to "pick and plan your build beforehand", Diablo 2 was a particular nuisance for this with the majority of builds even being named after their most used move e.g. Zealadins, Conc Barbs, Summancers. I feel that the variety of passive skills and runes allow you to carefully customise your build until you have the 6 skills your most happy with working just how you like with your favourite passives helping out. Though I recognise this is a very subjective matter, and I wouldn't for a second suggest your opinion is wrong. Just different.

As for the armour thing, dyes will help a little I think, though it is a shame most people are going to look identical to other members of their class. Saying that, I do plan to be the only Barbarian decked out in all white gear like a colombian drug lord.

Lastly, kudos for not allowing the "always online" issue to influence your score. While it is a severe annoyance at times, I've had a reasonably straightforward time with it, even on launch night (took about 20 mins to get in and then its worked pretty much fine since).

So yeah, excellent review, would probably bumped it to a 4 myself, though I can respect your standpoint and I look forward to reading future reviews.

Peace.

BloatedGuppy:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Fortunately I saved myself a lot of trouble by activating elective mode right at the start of the game. It was the first thing I did when I entered, even before killing my first monster. A Gamestar video I watched a day before release gave me that hint.

Its still to on rails for me. I think that crept into my review a little; I'm kinda butthurt about how on rails it all is.

But you know, I'm still playing it, so its not that bad.

Ah. I wasn't even aware elective mode existed until someone on these forums informed me of it. They really tucked it away, didn't they? Should've been the default. Seriously weird decision.

Yeah, its a bit weird. I get they wanted to make the game accessible for people who hadn't played previous Diablo/hack and slay titles, but its going a little far. Its probably more of an annoyance than a helping hand for hack and slay virgins.

Isalan:
Also snipping

I actually have to give a good bit of credit to this review here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/326.375485-Risen-2-Dark-Waters because I had no bloody idea how to center images and such. So I quoted his post and memorized them from there.

(His review is also really good, by the way - probably ahead of me in terms of writing quality and it helped me decide to hold off on buying Risen 2.)

But anyway, thanks for the feedback. And on the skills system; its starting to look like I'm in the minority here, which is surprising to me, but its good to hear people are enjoying the new way abilities are handled. And...

Isalan:
Lastly, kudos for not allowing the "always online" issue to influence your score. While it is a severe annoyance at times, I've had a reasonably straightforward time with it, even on launch night (took about 20 mins to get in and then its worked pretty much fine since).

...Just to very briefly touch on this; I had trouble logging in on launch day and the day after that, but after those initial troubles it was smooth sailing. Since then the only real things I have been noticing are small and infrequent lags.

I still don't like it, mainly because I'm afraid Diablo 3 will be unpiratable and as a result of that every developer, publisher and their momma will start adopting the heavy always online competent Diablo has going on, with loads of core gameplay elements running client side. As rocky as the launch was (mainly in the US), I think we might have had an even worse experience if the servers were being run by a company like EA or Capcom. Not to knock them, they just have a rather messy history.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
So that was my first rather long review. Be sure to let me know what you think if you got through the whole thing, criticism and feedback is appreciated. Also, discuss the game and my views on it, of course :P

Hey smash great review :)

I have never played the other Diablo's, I was wondering how you found the story? I have been thinking of getting the game, but I like at least a bit of story in my game(but I will sacrifice it for good looting opportunities).
Oh yeah can you still be a necromancer?
Thanks :D

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Isalan:
Lastly, kudos for not allowing the "always online" issue to influence your score. While it is a severe annoyance at times, I've had a reasonably straightforward time with it, even on launch night (took about 20 mins to get in and then its worked pretty much fine since).

...Just to very briefly touch on this; I had trouble logging in on launch day and the day after that, but after those initial troubles it was smooth sailing. Since then the only real things I have been noticing are small and infrequent lags.

I still don't like it, mainly because I'm afraid Diablo 3 will be unpiratable and as a result of that every developer, publisher and their momma will start adopting the heavy always online competent Diablo has going on, with loads of core gameplay elements running client side. As rocky as the launch was (mainly in the US), I think we might have had an even worse experience if the servers were being run by a company like EA or Capcom. Not to knock them, they just have a rather messy history.

Good point, Blizzard has a LOT of experience with always online launch titles (WoW + 3 expansions and SC2) and still found issues, though I suspect they mainly relate to largescale access demand on launch as things have calmed down now. I figure the reason this always seems to happen is if you were to allow suffcient server bandwidth to cover the launch day of a game of this, shall we say, popularity, then your gonna end up with a lot of unused servers a week down the line as everyone reverts to their normal playing schedule.

But as you point out can you imagine Capcom doing this? Without blowing a hole the size of Birmingham in the Earth? I wouldn't put a penny on that working out. But then, maybe thats what the industry needs. Someone to try this kind of thing and then spectacularly fail. Ubisoft didn't take long to learn their lesson which leads me to believe that Blizzard are probably one of the few companies with the necessary experience to pull this kind of thing off.

As always, only time will tell.

Edit: Ooops, buggered up the quoting.

verdant monkai:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
So that was my first rather long review. Be sure to let me know what you think if you got through the whole thing, criticism and feedback is appreciated. Also, discuss the game and my views on it, of course :P

Hey smash great review :)

I have never played the other Diablo's, I was wondering how you found the story? I have been thinking of getting the game, but I like at least a bit of story in my game(but I will sacrifice it for good looting opportunities).
Oh yeah can you still be a necromancer?
Thanks :D

Well, the story is... Meh. Its the old tale of evil vs good, and there are some pretty epic bosses you work toward. Its enough to keep you going and motivate you but nothing more - the twists are predictable and you are unlikely to get attached to any characters.

And the necromancer has kinda been replaced by the witch doctor, who has some sort of voodoo shit going on and summons minions to aid him. Not a classic necromancer but if you like playing them you will probably like the witch doctor.

Isalan:
But then, maybe thats what the industry needs. Someone to try this kind of thing and then spectacularly fail. Ubisoft didn't take long to learn their lesson which leads me to believe that Blizzard are probably one of the few companies with the necessary experience to pull this kind of thing off.

Mmmmh, I never thought of it that way. Maybe you are right, I certainly hope so.

Good review, Smash, I think you just about touched upon everything about Diablo 3 you could in there - save the online thing, but that has already been mentioned.

Also, throwing in my support for the skill system too. I'm liking it more than Diablo 2's so far, admittedly. Feel it gives me more opportunity to experiment with skills and different combinations while being able to switch them out at will to do so, unlike the previous two games where you pretty much aimed to fill a skill tree and other builds were forced to be experimented with by alts..

ShadowsofHope:
Also, throwing in my support for the skill system too. I'm liking it more than Diablo 2's so far, admittedly. Feel it gives me more opportunity to experiment with skills and different combinations while being able to switch them out at will to do so, unlike the previous two games where you pretty much aimed to fill a skill tree and other builds were forced to be experimented with by alts..

Huh. Maybe I'm just so used to the old systems after playing so many old loot em ups.

Ah well, theres Grim Dawn coming up, I'm pretty sure thats going with the old skill tree style. And Path of Exile, which has a completely new system... Looking forward to that.

Great review, and almost mirrors my opinion completely. It was very well written and the layout made it comfortable for the eyes to read.

Diablo 3 is just a very average game, not worth the decade of development time.

Nice review. Well stated, covers all major points.

I am ambivalent about the skill system. I absolutely love not having to play up a whole new character to try a different build. I can say, "This A-B-C combo I've got going just isn't good, I want it to be A-C-F instead" and have that combination of skills in just a few seconds. For folks who simply cannot play the game ten hours a day this is a godsend. On the other hand, the switch from the tree system to the rune system feels like a letdown. For some reason I can't put my finger on, it feels like something's missing. Not being able to place attribute points also bugs me. Maybe I wanted to play a Strength monk just for yuks. Now I can't.

I do like the ways the various skills combine or don't combine with each other. The best analogy I can think of is a fridge full of food. Each item does its own thing, and certain combos are better than others. Roast beef with peanut butter is probably not going to work, but roast beef with garlic and horseradish will slay 'em every time. Of course, some people would rather have mayonnaise with their beef, someone else will eschew beef in favor of chicken, and so on. It's about building the sandwich that is perfect for you. I think that's something this game does better than D2. There are no wasted skill points this time around. Adding new runes helps keep early skills relevant and useful as the game progresses.

Several people have made the "ten years in development, why isn't it better" comment. Actually, I think ten years in development *is* why it's not better. This is Blizzard, they are infamous for their inability to leave their product alone. Over that kind of time span, any great ideas will get tweaked, and tweaked again, and eventually reduced to some sort of too-many-cooks compromise that just feels like it's all polish and little substance. Remember a year ago when video clips showed skills with colored socketables? What happened to that? What system did they have in place before that, and before that? Chances are they had something better at one point. Blizzard is also guilty of media oversaturation, leading us on with cool little tidbits until the game has to be the best thing ever in the history of humankind to live up to its promise. When it inevitably isn't, people feel let down. It's not a bad game. It's just not equal to its hype or its gestation period.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

BloatedGuppy:
Just out of curiosity, do you use elective mode for your skills? I found it a lot less on rails after that.

Fortunately I saved myself a lot of trouble by activating elective mode right at the start of the game. It was the first thing I did when I entered, even before killing my first monster. A Gamestar video I watched a day before release gave me that hint.

I didn't see that video in time, but some of my friends told me about elective mode. Without them telling me i'd probably not have known about it.
I tend to buy Gamestar rather regulary but almosr never visit their website :P.

A lot of usefull options seems hidden in the menus, f.E. the advaced tooltips help a lot in chossing your skill build by actually showing damage ratios and other useful info.

First of all this is a really good review Smash. It's nice to see someone being objective on the matter rather than what's happening over at the Gaming Discussion forum. With the skill system I found that the new system gives me so much more freedom than the old skill tree system and to me it works really well. If you built your character wrong with the tree system you pretty much had to start over but with this system you can just swap out the skills that aren't working for something else. Also, I think this system actually offers more customisation. With the old system in tended to boil down to near on the same thing each time you rolled a class. Now there's plenty of different styles available to you at any time you want it which I think really adds to the game. Funny thing is that I'm not using elective mode. I mean I have it enabled but the skills that I'm using for my monk are from each of the sections so I could easily have it disabled and I wouldn't notice the difference.

Your right with the difficulty, it definitely is too easy on normal. The main things that cause issues are the elites/champions with incredibly annoying abilities. Stuff like molten and arcane enchanted are the main things that really screw me over.

Any who, this is a really good review. I probably would of given it a 4 as of this posting but depending on the end game (by end game I'm referring to hell and inferno modes) it might get put up to a 4.5.

black_knight1337:
Your right with the difficulty, it definitely is too easy on normal. The main things that cause issues are the elites/champions with incredibly annoying abilities. Stuff like molten and arcane enchanted are the main things that really screw me over.

Should have mentioned this in the review really - what I really like is how enemies actually get completely new attacks and what not with each difficulty. It really gives the combat some depth and challenges you to relearn, instead of just giving every baddie the standard 50% more health and damage treatment.

Of course, that means some elites will really kick your ass, but whatever.

Extremely well written. Far more rational and clear than anything I could ever manage.

you might want to add a section about the items. For instance most Uniques are essentially trash in nightmare and hell. Blues are often significantly more powerful than their rarer gold counterparts.

Also, You only ever get multiple gold and blue item drops from bosses ONCE. For all difficulties. Kill the boss in normal and you get a couple golds, a bunch of blues, and some gems. kill the same boss in nightmare and you're lucky if you get three blues and one gem.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Justin Fritz:
Still, I feel that the skill system is very flexible and allows for you to develop a "favorite strategy" and then cherry pick skills to aid in that. Want more aoe? Chose x ability with y runes. Want to incapacitate enemies, choose skills g and f with z runes. Want more survivability? Tweak your passives and switch one rune to one that heals you etc etc. It's really creative in my opinion.

While its true the runes system grants at least some freedom, its nothing when compared to other hack and slays. In Diablo 2 you could specialize your build toward one type of damage, Titan Quest allowed you to pick 2 specializations that each came with massive skilltrees.

Anyway, thats just my opinion. I can see why some people would prefer the new system.

In the idea of "Builds that are actually good and viable" you will find Diablo III much more satisfying in the way that, sure you could have a barbarian throwing javelins for a living but unless you grinded for ever to get that 340% enhanced damage ethereal replenishing quantity rare to actually make him useful you would simply find that any usual build would simply wreck you.

Every character settled into around three or four variations with extremely limited builds which would require hours and hours of grinding to achieve a potent combination of survivability.

What I find is, sure you may be waiting for your next predetermined rune or skill but you've got plenty of variations and combinations of each skill and each skills rune with a trio of passive skills to follow up, meaning you could experiment with each skill and each rune without having to rebuild your entire character from scratch to compensate.

I appreciate the stance people have with this but if you do look back and compare builds which were decent and not experimental ridiculously expensive or silly there are hundreds more ways to build each individual character with limitless gear etc.

I'm a huge fan of Diablo II but I will say Diablo III fills the shoes of it's predecessor.

Nice review,thank you for not just making it a giant wall of text.It was very well written,not to mention it pretty much sums the game up nicely.

The review isn't bad, you should watch out for repetitions here and there.

But there are a few things I do not agree with.

First of all of course the game is like any other hack and slash, Diablo invented the genre as it is today. More accurate would be saying that any other hack and slash is like Diablo

Secondly, the skill system allows for real customization and uniqueness between characters. Compared to Diablo 2's cookie cutter builds that only worked if you put points in a very precise way. One bowazon was identical to all the other bowazons, hammerdins, etc. No, your demon hunter will look nothing like the next demon hunter, just like I've not seen my monk build on any other monk I've played with.

Also you unlock something new every single level, without exception. You even get a prompt telling you what you've unlocked.

Verzin:
Extremely well written. Far more rational and clear than anything I could ever manage.

you might want to add a section about the items. For instance most Uniques are essentially trash in nightmare and hell. Blues are often significantly more powerful than their rarer gold counterparts.

Also, You only ever get multiple gold and blue item drops from bosses ONCE. For all difficulties. Kill the boss in normal and you get a couple golds, a bunch of blues, and some gems. kill the same boss in nightmare and you're lucky if you get three blues and one gem.

Not really.

All non-unique items are fully randomized, this means that you get, depending on item level, x number of suffixes with y-z possible values. Rare items have a larger number of possible suffixes than blue items, with the same (if not higher) y-z values. This means that once you average out for the same number of drops, rare items are much stronger than blues. The best items will always be rares. The reason why you might seem to find better blues at times is because blues have a much higher chance to drop and such a much higher chance to get items with suffix values closer to the max possible value.

So basically your average blue will have higher stats (but fewer
) than your average rare, but the best blue can never be as good as the best rare for the same level.

Also bosses will drop more rares than your first kill once you have your nephalem buff maxed out. This encourages you to explore the dungeons as well as killing the boss, not just doing the same boss run over and over and over and over and over again.

The real problem with the items is that rares are better than uniques too. Stupidly a rare items with ideal maxed out stats is better than any unique with ideal maxed out stats. Considering uniques are hard to come by indeed, this makes the rarest items in the game pretty much worthless.

Pretty solid review, covers pretty much everything of interests, good language and disposition. Good reasoning and arguments, solid conclusions, nice layout (especially for a forum post)...

I'd say it's worth...an A. Compared to some other so-called "professional" reviews, it's outstanding.

Verzin:
Also, You only ever get multiple gold and blue item drops from bosses ONCE. For all difficulties. Kill the boss in normal and you get a couple golds, a bunch of blues, and some gems. kill the same boss in nightmare and you're lucky if you get three blues and one gem.

Well, first off, it sounds like you were just unlucky.

Second, I actually don't know for sure if Diablo 3 works this way, but almost all games in this genre have their bosses have a much better drop rate the first time you beat him and a lower one the times after that.

VladG:

First of all of course the game is like any other hack and slash, Diablo invented the genre as it is today. More accurate would be saying that any other hack and slash is like Diablo

In hindsight that would be more accurate, but it doesn't really change anything. You would still expect a game with 12 years of development (in the hands of Blizzard) to really make some big changes, regardless of what an old game in the same series did before.

Of course the lack of really big innovations doesn't make the game any worse, people expecting them might just be disappointed, which is why I think it's fair to mention it in a review.

Also, big thanks for more than 1000 views everyone! And thanks for the feedback. I think I'll be writing more of these when other big releases roll around.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Justin Fritz:
Still, I feel that the skill system is very flexible and allows for you to develop a "favorite strategy" and then cherry pick skills to aid in that. Want more aoe? Chose x ability with y runes. Want to incapacitate enemies, choose skills g and f with z runes. Want more survivability? Tweak your passives and switch one rune to one that heals you etc etc. It's really creative in my opinion.

While its true the runes system grants at least some freedom, its nothing when compared to other hack and slays. In Diablo 2 you could specialize your build toward one type of damage, Titan Quest allowed you to pick 2 specializations that each came with massive skilltrees.

Anyway, thats just my opinion. I can see why some people would prefer the new system.

Nice review dude and i agree with the most part.

I would imagine the reaon it has been more streamlined into auto leveling abilitys etc etc, is to appeal to a wider audience which can be abit damning. With that said i have found alot of customization with all the abilitys and runes you need elective mode on without it, feels very flat.

The only thing i would say whilst all 60 characters have access to the same abilitys etc and same base stats they can be very different. Whilst joining up with friends i found my friend was playing the monk completely differently to me relying on hit and run damage.

I had built my monk to just be a monster tank with 2 primary attacks on the tool bar and dancing between attack speed aura and dodge aura with invulnerable heal to cover me if it gets dicy. So there can be a big difference between plays characters.

Great review though dude GJ.

VladG:
First of all of course the game is like any other hack and slash, Diablo invented the genre as it is today. More accurate would be saying that any other hack and slash is like Diablo.

Diablo owes its loot and leveling to classic CRPGs, and its general game play to Gauntlet. There are very few truly original games that weren't built on the shoulders of something else, Diablo included. It has spawned a lot of direct imitations though, so you can make the argument that it's an extremely influential and historically important series.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Verzin:
Also, You only ever get multiple gold and blue item drops from bosses ONCE. For all difficulties. Kill the boss in normal and you get a couple golds, a bunch of blues, and some gems. kill the same boss in nightmare and you're lucky if you get three blues and one gem.

Well, first off, it sounds like you were just unlucky.

Second, I actually don't know for sure if Diablo 3 works this way, but almost all games in this genre have their bosses have a much better drop rate the first time you beat him and a lower one the times after that.

VladG:

First of all of course the game is like any other hack and slash, Diablo invented the genre as it is today. More accurate would be saying that any other hack and slash is like Diablo

In hindsight that would be more accurate, but it doesn't really change anything. You would still expect a game with 12 years of development (in the hands of Blizzard) to really make some big changes, regardless of what an old game in the same series did before.

Blizzard and changes? C'mon man. I can't imagine anyone could say that. This is the company that basically has 3 games under it's belt (4 if you want to stretch it) since they took the name Blizzard. The most innovative game they've ever done is probably Warcraft 3. Everything is an upgrade over the previous version. Big changes is one thing I don't expect from Blizzard.

It's true, most of the games do have something to set them apart, but it's usually a feature present but mostly ignored in similar games of the time that Blizzard has improved, polished, and shown it can have a place in genre games. Like Multiplayer and a more interesting mission progression for Warcraft 1, Having very different but equally powerful factions in SC, The rpg elements and greater story focus from Warcraft3, That mmos can be more addictive than cocaine and can bring in more money than a coca plantation. Stuff that's present, but nobody really ever got right before Blizzard.

What I would expect from those many years of development (and it's not really 12 years in development, it's been 12 years since Diablo 2. It's a stretch thinking they've been developing Diablo 3 while working on LoD) is better balance, a not completely stupid storyline that doesn't butcher the original lore and a more stable platform.

Rastien:
Whilst joining up with friends i found my friend was playing the monk completely differently to me relying on hit and run damage.

I had built my monk to just be a monster tank with 2 primary attacks on the tool bar and dancing between attack speed aura and dodge aura with invulnerable heal to cover me if it gets dicy.

Man, I need to really try monk and play that class for a longer while, sounds like so much fun.

Anyway, I don't doubt the new system is great in terms of experimentation, but with this "everything is available" stuff, how long is the game gonna last? You hit, what, level 30 and have all your abilities. Then you play for an hour while experimenting with different skills and then... That's it. You've seen all the class has to offer. Apart from some of the runes you only unlock later, but runes rarely make that big of a difference in how you play the game.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Dat Review!

Having decided not to purchase the game myself for as long as I've known always online DRM was there (enough said on that), I was worried that I might be missing out on a real modern day gem.

The hype was there (10 long years!). The Pedigree was there (Blizzard are many things, but bad developers is not currently one of them). The curiosity on my part was there...

You know, for me, it's both kind of sad and relieving that this game did not hold up to the hype. On the one hand, I feel for those of you who waited so long to not get what you really wanted, but on the other I'm not tempted to go back on my consumerist vows.

A lot of folk have been talking about Planescape: Torment lately, and I've been looking for a decent ARPG I haven't tried yet... at least now I know where my money is going next.

As for your review. It's good and clear in its intent. I can understand your beef with the game, without having tried it myself in order to comprehend it. I can also appreciate the positivity you allowed it and it does hearten my interest in it ever so slightly. You rated it as an ARPG, not a Diablo ARPG, which is fair. Also, as Guppy says above, you kept it relatively objective, you took a step back to see what works... not just lashed out at what pisses you off.

If I'm to be brutally honest though, as competent a review as it is, it doesn't separate itself from the norm. It's very clinical to the point of sterile and the flashes of emotional investment only accentuate this. Different reviewers aim for different things, if you want cold hard analyses you will need to tone out the emotional presence altogether (totally objective), but if you want to entertain while you inform you will need to add more emotive language, maybe even some specific experiences within the game.

A nice touch would be to make small comparisons from other shining examples of ARPGs in the industry, or do a side by side comparison between Diablos in the series. You briefly touched on this in each paragraph (the vibe of the games, and the differences in the leveling system) but you could have gone further... give a specific example of how your monk is more generic at level 60 then Diablo 2s equivalent in that scenario.

If you manage to avoid nostalgia vision, these cross comparison reviews become a great double wammy of info. While you gently dissect one game you can simultaneously be boosting interest in another. Rather then suggesting soon to be released games you can't truly vouch for, you can recommend another game of the same vein via the review, not just a tidbit at the end.

Don't worry about gimmicks or quirks in your reviews. Get a nice groove going with your analytical thinking, refine your objectivity and presentation... then work in some flavour. We all start from somewhere (usually nothing), and this is definitely a good start.

/my review of your review.

And tips on how to better my reviews of reviews are welcome (inceptioned this thread).

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked