Diablo 3 review (normal/nightmare)

How do you follow up an act like Diablo II?

That is the question Blizzard had to find an answer to when working on the third title in the legendary franchise. There are expectations to meet, standards to adhere to, and the satisfaction of millions of fans to satiate. For a title that people have been waiting more than a decade for, it’s not easy to meet such high standards, especially you have such a volatile fanbase as Blizzard’s. So the question that remains would be such: does Diablo III, a game that people have been anxiously waiting years for, deliver on its promises? Was the game worth the long wait?


Graphics

While highly anticipated, in this department Diablo 3 was quite a letdown. The physics engine is wonderful but when looking at raw graphic quality, even on the highest settings D3 still pales in comparison to current-gen games. Zooming into my character revealed high amounts of jagged textures and items ghosting into each other. On the other hand, environment detail is simply stunning. From deserts to tunnels and from demonic fortresses to heaven, they all are beautiful renderings with dynamic moving backdrops, which made the experience much more enjoyable.
Item skins are repeated and highly generic, with the exception of legendary items which all have some unique textures. All in all, I have seen maybe 100 different item skins by level 42.

Gameplay

Simply perfect. D3 is a game that can be quickly picked up by gamers of any level. While those experienced in ARPGs will have a challenging time keeping themselves up through some serious burst damage, they will not be truly challenged until hell or inferno mode.  For experienced players I suggest the demon hunter or wizard.

For players new to the genre, this is an easy “pick up and play” game. Normal mode will provide some sort of challenge for them and nightmare+ will begin to truly test their skills and make them start thinking about builds, itemization, and party composition. For new players I suggest the Monk or Witch Doctor classes.


Some more hardcore players will want to use the “Hardcore” mode, which is extremely risky but can provide wonderful rewards. Although facing possible perma-death, item and gold drop rates are increased.

The rune system basically turns every ability into 6 different ones and increases player customization. Without cookie-cutter builds and stagnant optimization, the player can tune his/her avatar into however it suits their style of gameplay.

Although Achievements and Banners add a bit to the game, they are rewarded for every baby step.
Economy

Diablo 3’s economy completely revolves around the auction house system. Players buy and sell equipment, gems, scrolls, and just about anything they find in the world. With the real money auctions hitting live servers on the 22nd of May, many will try to cash in by farming for countless hours. Estimated prices of legendary items will vary anywhere from $5 to $500.

Although Blizzard will be taking $1 + 15% for every transaction, there is still a possibility of a nice little paycheck boost from your travels in D3.

This also brings about a new issue. With the chunk that Blizzard will be taking, many sites with *Free Transactions* will pop up all over the web, selling D3 items without that $1 + 15% charge.

With high drop rates on items and easy farming, the economy should be stable by around April, and we will truly see if this was the best choice for Blizzard.

Audio/Video

The battle sounds, voiced over text, and epic cinematic sequences, Diablo 3 will keep both the audiophiles and video junkies highly satisfied. One amusing moment arose when an NPC trapped in a barrel began to speak to me, and for some odd reason the voice was highly familiar. For those of us that have seen Kung-Fu Panda, this will definitely ring a bell, and if not, think Noodles.

Every ability has a different sound and enemies have a wide array of death and decapitation sounds. The environment also has great audio combined with the physics engine. Ambient sounds fill your ears as everything from the floorboards to the huge chained demons creak and scream at you from all directions in a symphony of terror.

Replay Value

This is Diablo. The series is famous as with all Blizzard titles for their replayability and overall addictiveness. Although I have to say I was not nearly as pulled in as I had been with both World of Warcraft and Starcraft series.

This game is definitely more fun with one vital aspect, friends. Without friends to play with and do dungeons, mess around, do stupid combinations and just overall explore, this game will bore you to death after completion of normal mode.

Graphics: B-
Gameplay: A
Economy: B
Audio/Video: A
Replay Value: A

Final Grade: A-

Tips/Tricks:
Play the auction house and learn to recycle your gear. Buy something, use it, and resell it. Simple. In the end you should have as much or more gold than you paid for the item.

Monk is a great class for new players, while more experienced gamers will enjoy the Wizard for the wide array of utility they possess.

Do not only focus on your main stat, pick something like vitality as an off stat.

Gold/Magic find is vital to keeping a steady amount of gold in your pockets.

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Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian
Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian 397 posts

Adam "kharakov" Kharat is part nerd, part geek, and full awesome. With deadly writing skills and the sleeping habits of a jackrabbit, late night gaming sessions are all but mandatory.