Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review - Diablo 3, Part 1; The Good

I'm 70 hours into Diablo 3 as of this writing.  The majority of it spent as a Witch Doctor, however I've dabbled with the other classes and spent a good chunk of those 70 hours with friends that chose to play a different class at release.  I've seen just about everything every character has to offer, and I've done it all, so to speak. 

With that, here's part 1 of my Diablo 3 review - The Good

- The game stays true to what Diablo was over a decade ago, a smash and grab equipment grind that features multiple enemies in an number of environments, all tied in together with a decent story line.  Game play wise - there's nothing someone who played the first two Diablo installments should be surprised by.  

- The Normal difficulty is exactly what I expect from a baseline game experience.  Blizzard got the entry level difficulty, game length, and challenge spot on.  I try, and fail, to think of a game that has done such a good job in this endeavor.  I had to think, but not too much.  I got to sit back and annihilate countless waves of enemies, and even had to re-specialize my character a few times to take on the more challenging bosses and scenario's presented to me.  

- The character classes seem well thought out, and fit right into the Diablo universe.  It's expected that every build for a character won't be viable on harder difficulties, and this is especially evident in Hell and Inferno settings (more on that in another review), but the sheer number of options seem both useful and potentially deadly.  I love the skill system, the ability to augment my skills as I wish, not having to pay to re-specialize over and over, and the overall feel and style of each character.

- The story keeps me intrigued.  And while it was super-obvious where it was going after a point, I was honestly riveted and had many questions for at least 80% of the game. The first play through of the game took me ~23 hours, which is WAY more than most games these days.  Subsequent play-through attempts on harder difficulties left me still hovering around 20 hours each without absolutely rushing to get from one place to another and never taking a break to shop or craft.

- Boss abilities are challenging and make you re-think your tactics and abilities constantly.  Fitting in with what I said above, the randomization of rare boss abilities and enchantments keeps you on your toes.  You never know what you're going to come across, and when you find out its often too late - its adapt or die, and I love that.

- Your stash, gold, and crafting progress are global.  All your characters share your gold and crafting level, as well as access to your stash.  All your characters, save hard core ones, which is 100% right - you shouldn't be able to buff a hard core character, which only gets one life, because of your progress on a regular character.

- You get your own loot in multiplayer.  Thank god.