Diablo 3 First Impressions

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Diablo III is an interesting game for me to cover – Diablo and Diablo II were massively important to me as I became a PC gamer, and Diablo III is both completely updated and yet entirely the same as it always was.

Let’s look at what’s changed first. I’d say the biggest differences from the previous games have been the obvious technical upgrades, an enhanced focus on social connectivity and a much wider target audience.

Techanical upgrades are fairly plain to see when you’re comparing the two games – Diablo II was a game released around the turn of the milennium featuring 2D graphics with a choice of two resolutions (if you bought the expansion pack). Diablo III is 3D and resolution independent modern title, with beautiful spell effects and a larger colour palette.

It’s this last point which was picked up by überfans of the series when D3 was first announced and Blizzard had the nerve to include a rainbow in one preview scene. Suffice it to say, if this is the biggest thing your fans are complaining about then your game must be pretty good. I personally enjoy the greater dynamic range, which allows the few bright and clean areas to serve as a bit of visual eyewash and underscore the grimy evil of the rest of the game.

The second point attracted even more furore – that always-on connection. While this was disastrous (or at least mildy annoying) for the legions of fans that stayed up to get into the servers at midnight on launch date, a few days later it was a non-issue.

The additions of social sharing, including dramatically easier multiplayer and achievements, has already made up for that brief period of annoyance in my book, and if StarCraft II is any indication we’ll see even greater use of the Battle.net service in the future. An auction house is already in place that has changed the game, and when the ‘real money auction house’ is launched later this month it’ll get even crazier.


Of course, this last point is potentially the most contentious – while most city-bound nerds can agree that a bit of sunshine and a requirement that they keep their routers running while they’re playing aren’t too onerous, the balance and the style of the game are important things to get right.
Essentially, Blizzard have made the game a lot more accessible for newcomers to the series – and indeed for newcomers to PC gaming in general. The first difficulty level is much easier than it used to be, the skill system has been reworked to allow for on-the-fly respeccing and that auction house ensures that the challenge isn’t in choosing the right build at the start of the game any more.
Instead, the game is now about working out what the best build is for your given situation. Typically, you’ll flow for half an hour or so until you realise this new set of enemies or environment means your current setup isn’t cutting it and then look to see what you can improve. Change your skill loadout maybe, or invest in a better bit of armor off the auction house? Where once this would be a long and difficult task that you’d put off for as long as possible, in Diablo III it’s something that takes only a few seconds and then you’re on your way again. It’s this shorter cycle that promotes long play times, encouraging ‘just one more boss fight’ instead of ‘well, I’d better go on a Bhaal run again if I want to progess in the next act.’

To sum up, Diablo III is a brilliant upgrade to the series and veterans of the series should stop whining – get thee to Inferno, and you’ll discover more than enough to keep you busy!

This article was written by William Judd. William is currently answering hundreds of questions on the Samsung Galaxy S3 and its accessories.

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. Shiver me timbers, them’s some great inamooftirn.

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