Ever wonder what it’s like to be the one-and-only-hero that can save the world from a bunch of pretty pissed of demons bent on conquering the world and the High Heavens above it? Yes. It’s called a Tuesday night. Or Wednesday night. Or Thursday… But in all seriousness, that is the most basic gist of what it means to be in the world Blizzard created for dungeon-crawling addicts like me in their latest outing, Diablo III. This, besides Starcraft II, has been the game Blizzard fans have been waiting for.
If you weren’t aware Diablo III is set 20 years after Diablo II and places you in the shoes of one of a number of classes – Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, Wizard, Monk, or Barbarian – with their own character storylines. That said however, the stories aren’t exactly different and each character hits the same story arcs regardless of who you choose. The story is interesting enough and it opens up with the hero heading back to Tristram, which is something old Diablo fans are sure to get a kick out of. You meet a bunch of characters and take on quests that help propel the story forward and along the way you see some gorgeous CG cutscenes. However, there really isn’t much to surprise you and the twists in turns the game tries to throw at you are so telegraphed they’re all but spelled out. However some of the background information provided by certain characters and the notes you find scattered in the world are genuinely fascinating at times.
As for gameplay, this is where the game really shines. If you enjoy collecting loot and doing everything you can just to find the next best piece of headgear, belt, weapon, or other what-have-you then you are in for a real treat. Much like its previous iterations you take on quests and along the way you level up which automatically raises your stats – Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality. As you reach certain level milestone you get new skills – every class has their own unique skill set – which will help you survive the hundreds and thousands of Hell’s denizens trying to use your skull to sharpen their fangs and teeth with. These are all typical things you’d find in a RPG but it’s easy to get into and more importantly, very fun.
There is an online component that allows you to team up with up to four players online and with each person joining the group the game gets harder but the quality of loot rises significantly. And we all love getting new loot! Besides, you’re going to need the best loot possible if you want to try your hand at the more challenging difficulty settings. Lag can be a problem at times, especially if you’re just a mistake awake from getting killed by a mob. This last point is especially true if you’re playing Hardcore Mode which makes death permanent. But thankfully, this was a rare occurrence in my playthroughs.
Another aspect of Diablo III‘s online system is the Auction House. It uses both Gold (in-game currency) and real money. You can use the Auction House to bid on or outright purchase any type of gear you want. Some have said the Auction House breaks the game’s overall premise but buying and/or selling is totally optional. It is an added feature that some will find useful but doesn’t hurt the overall gaming experience one bit.
With several difficulty settings, a pretty much infinite number of various items to collect, and very fun and addicting gameplay you just might be playing Diablo III for a very long time should you choose to play it. And should you? Absolutely.
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