Not every game is created equal. Sometimes there are titles that get only one or two of us excited and then there are titles where the whole staff wants to get in on the action but like Highlander, “there can be only one” official review. The Peanut Gallery lets the rest of our staff give their thoughts on the biggest of the big titles. This time we look at Diablo III (you can read the official review here).
Kyle Baron – Editor in Chief
My friends kept asking me why I wouldn’t get Diablo 3, and after 20 hours and a couple of drinks, I remember why it’s probably not a good idea – the game is excellent and E3 is around the corner.
Just as in Starcraft 2, Blizzard has chosen to preserve the workable formula that brought the franchise to the forefront of the genre, but with clever improvements. Characters are no longer shackled to the common reserves of “mana,” which led many Diablo 2 players to fret over equipment choices so that they could actually utilize the mana-dependent skills that differentiate their character choice. Sharing gear between characters is also a cinch.
Necessary advances in narrative have been brought in as well, with banter between followers and some in-game dialogue complementing well-voiced audio diaries.
There are still a lot of problems, and there’s no telling when these will be fixed. The chat system isn’t very elegant, as figuring out how to communicate with several different friends in different Diablo 3 games is more difficult than it should be. You can customize your game so that only friends can join and only after they’ve asked permission, but this still doesn’t stop them from accidentally skipping key parts of story dialogue for you.
Gripes aside, the first thing I wanted to do when I finished the game with an old Vagary.TV buddy of mine was jump right into the next difficulty, and that’s what I want to get back to right this minute.
Jeremy Goodson – Executive Editor
I have a love-hate relationship with D3. The game has already given me hours of enjoyment, especially when playing with friends. As with the other games, it is also a loot fest with plenty of great gear and weapons to be had. I actually feel that I’m having more fun with the multiplayer in this game than I did in the past iterations. Also, as you start going up in difficulty, the bosses and mobs become more of a challenge, which is something I was worried about when I breezed through normal.
Let me say this before I go on: I am ENJOYING the game. I like it a lot and am continuing to have a blast playing it. I do have a few qualms with the game, though. First, the “always on” requirement for internet connection. In its purest form, Diablo 3 is a single player game and can be played as such, just like its predecessors. Having to always be connected to the Internet is a bane on the PC gaming world, and Diablo 3 is no exception. For the first two days, the servers were constantly crashing and those who paid $60 for the game were unable to play for absolutely no good reason other than Blizzards servers were down. So, the people who legitimately paid for the games were screwed, while those that pirated it (you know, the ones who “always on” is supposed to stop) were able to play just fine in single player. Time and time again, DRM has proven to only hurt the paying customers and does nothing to curb piracy.
Enough of that rant though. My second problem with the game can be summed up with this sentence: THIS took 12 years?! Again, I like the game, I really do. But Blizzard did not really innovate on their proven formula. This is fine because it works, but I don’t feel like this game had 12 years of development, especially looking at what studios like Bioware can pull off in 2-4 years with games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and what Blizzard pulled off in 4-5 years with the development of vanilla World of Warcraft. The game is good, and well worth the $60 price tag for its fun factor, but on gameplay mechanics and overall innovation, I just don’t see the 12 years of hard labor.
My overall score personally would be a 4/5 were I to review the game as of right now. Really good, but not perfection. Again, well worth the price tag and full of hours of enjoyment for any dungeon crawler fan.
Don Parsons – Public Relations Manager
Diablo 3 looks great from the screens I have seen. Also, the loot is awesome. It makes me cry of happiness just thinking about the stories I have heard about peoples characters.
Cyrus Fayazi – Perfectly Sane Show co-host
As someone who has put over 1000 hours into Diablo 2 over the years, I knew that whenever they did release Diablo 3, it had better be damn good. It’s safe to say I was not disappointed. I am only about 20 hours into the game but from what I’ve played; it has taken the best of Diablo 2 and added some unique features that really compliment the game.
Hardcore is much harder this time around. In Diablo 2, you could simply alt+f4 out of any fickle situation you might have hastily rushed into. In Diablo 3, you must wait for about ten seconds before you can leave the game. As far as difficulty goes, I feel the monsters aren’t very tough in the first two acts but really do become challenging in the last two. If you aren’t careful, you can get yourself killed quite quickly. Also, two amazing new features are the crafting and the auction house. I now find myself in the auction house trying to obtain the best items for my characters about as much as I am actually playing the game. It’s that addictive.
I could go on about how I think Diablo 3 is damn near perfect. It was able to meet my insane expectations and then some. Of course, there are some flaws. I think the main one is the fact that you have to be online at all times to play. I think it’s a horrible idea and the constant maintenance issues are really a pain. I can only pray other games do not follow suit. All in all though, Diablo 3 is my game of the year so far, and I do not believe any game coming out this year will knock it off from the top.
Tony Odett – Review Staff
Diablo 3 is awesome. I especially like when you shoot dodge into bullet time and get headshots on Diablo’s minions while their bullets fly around you. I don’t get all the complaining about the single player not working when not connected to the internet. Mine works just fine. One complaint I do have is that I was promised loot, and all I seem to be able to find are bottles of pain killers and golden guns. And how do you create a barbarian? My only character is “Paunchy Bald Man.”