So the verdict is in for me – after two weeks of demon squishing I have concluded Diablo III just isn’t Diablo II or Diablo I. The magic just isn’t there. I have run two different classes now to completion and I don’t think I want to play anymore – replaying the same stuff in Nightmare just isn’t appealing. After watching the entire credits, I can’t believe how many people worked on this game and it still came out this weak – Blizzard we really expected something better after all this time and effort.
There are many good things about the game such as the combat visuals and beautiful artwork, especially the sweeping vistas. The story was also pretty good with some unexpected twists and some interesting characters – the jeweler being the best, still laughing at this one, thank the gods, I can get my gems back to reuse them! I also absolutely loved the cinematic quality cut scenes. I want a feature length film with that quality and attention to detail.
Unfortunately, the good did not outweigh the bad. I found much of the skills to be useless filler and the random generated scenes with repetitive tiled graphics, although beautiful, were just uninteresting after the first few hours of game time. I think the repetitive sameness of act 3 and act 4 just killed it for me. I just got tired of pseudo random mazes and the lets not do it once but do it twice or three times just to add hours because we don’t want to be creative anymore level design. Having the entire game rest on swatting things and picking up gold and items just felt stale, even with the beautiful graphics and fantastic combat action. They even made all the equipment worthless so you don’t even want to pick it up anymore. You only look at magical and above items and you only collect those to then destroy them at the crafting station. And you can’t even craft all items at all levels which is really irritating. I have a mountain of crafting material and nothing to do with it. Somehow all of this just leaves the game very anti-climactic – and whatever you do don’t buy stuff from the auction system as it is so cheap to get good gear you won’t even care what drops.
I felt the most slighted by the whole health globe thing, which seemed like a automated hack to fix balancing problems. The free identify and town portal also just blew it for me. I liked managing my identify scrolls and my town portal scrolls – I got stuck in some dungeons due to forgetting my scrolls which was exhilarating. And what happened to the whole belt based hot-bar? Having to be careful about collecting and using health and mana potions was fun in Diablo II and this was your reservoir of power and if you didn’t plan for your bosses then you were toast. Diablo III just does it all for you! Also, the fact that the places and look for all the levels were like a repeat of Diablo II didn’t help either. Why couldn’t they explore at least one new interesting area in Sanctuary. Last, I have to make a comment about how idiotic it is forcing someone to be connected to the internet and servers to play a single player game. Maybe it is the only way to combat piracy but boy does it suck big time.
Oh well, lets hope the indies bring back good ARPGs and show the big boys how to do it right! I will be waiting for my copy of Grim Dawn next year. They are local right here in Boston and had a successful kickstarter that ended the week D3 was released – lets hope it materializes, or I am coming down to Cambridge to knock some heads around and hurl nasty words of encouragement! I know where you live and I want that game! Just kidding… but I do want that game… and I will camp out in your yard until it is done… don’t pull a 38 Studios on us or your yard will be ‘occupied’!