Diablo III: The highly anticipated Error Crawler
Finally, after roughly fifteen years, it is here.
Following constant demand from the constantly demanding fans (I care not about redundancy), Diablo III has finally hit shelves for you to ‘loan’ from Blizzard, and update constantly while you read the blurb on the box and think “I cannot wait until this has updated”. I say loan because if you haven’t played Diablo III, and I assume most have (or at very least tried to), it must have a constant internet connection to operate. So you really don’t own the game but you have permission to play a game that Blizzard owns.
I admit I have gotten off to a rather negative start, but I began writing this review while Diablo IIIwas updating so my bias has reason. Plus I have a shitty internet connection, and playing the game when it is updating isn’t a walk in the park either – unless I go for a walk in the park waiting for it to update, ZING! Ok I’ll stop now. But the fact remains: what happens when the servers get turned off.
Diablo III is part of the dungeon crawler genre and is possibly the most anticipated game of 2012. After its fifteen year development, we finally have grasp of its addictive grinding experience and, staying true to its roots, Diablo III doles out its enjoyment through the appeal of constant loot fests and levelling. As I mentioned, the game is addictive. Not necessarily because of its storytelling or immersive gameplay, but because it falls on the all too familiar trope of the RPG grinding experience. Bright lights and loud noises are used to indicate character level growth, with bright colours used similarly for rare or magic gear. It’s these gimmicks that entice people to continue playing.
True to its formula, Diablo III has a minimal amount of story. For most Diablo III, fans the lack of story isn’t a big issue as it has never really been about story. Personally, I don’t find much reward from investing my time in a game that doesn’t even try to draw me into its fiction.
For a game that had such a potential for story it seems they rather just fluffed it up with the book of Cain to satiate the hunger for those all too eager fans.
Perhaps I raised my expectations too high after reading the book of Cain simply because I actually found it an enthralling read. The book goes into great detail over the different Lords of Hell and fleshes out their different characteristics quite well. However, they are merely very linear obstacles strung together so you can finally come up against the Lord of Terror himself.
Even though they tried to flesh out the Lords of Hell in Cains’ journal in the game their characters have been left rather vacant. When coming up against Belial, the Lord of Lies, I was expecting that he would shift the world itself to confuse you. Perhaps health globes would instead hurt my character or give him some sort of ailment and in turn, I’d find myself being challenged by his web of lies. Instead of being challenged, we get Belial disguising himself as a small child. What a fucking twist.
Since most Diablo III fans don’t care about story or character development in the game, let us talk about the gameplay.
In typical fashion, you have the choice of picking your own character class. New to Diablo III is the ability to change your gender…we have come so far. So you choose your class and gender and go out into the world. As you explore the world, you begin to realise that it is just as exciting as the story and even seems to be vacant in certain areas. For a game that had a fifteen year development, it seems to lack variety.
This was a big thing for me. If I’m supposed to stay invested in a dungeon crawler I need a lot of variety. Having randomly generated dungeons (same three or so rooms used over and over) and tedious loot drops (same loot, different stats) is not enough for me to stay invested. I could also pick one voice actor doing many of the different characters throughout the world. I mean really, after fifteen years they couldn’t get a couple more different voices just to shake it up a little?
Also the combat seems to be a constant of mind numbing button mashing that allows you to fell the numerous amounts of opponents crowding the screen. I didn’t feel much strategy was involved with the game, aside from being specific about what stats you have on your gear. The Demon Hunter does require some strategy mixing up his stun and evade abilities, but it soon becomes an abundance of spamming area of effect spells so you can slaughter as many squishy enemies as possible.
I have been harsh on Diablo III. Don’t get me wrong, it does do some things right. The gothic look still retains form well even with the increased colour palette, and the amount of enemies that can fit on screen is gargantuan.
The destructibility of a lot of the world is a welcome addition but it all seems rather insignificant after the fact that the game lacks story, variety and forces you to be online just to even play single player.
When playing Diablo III, I find myself thinking that I could be playing something else right now that’s much more challenging and intellectual.