It was a brief conversation with the Bruddah that reminded me that I hadn’t done a review of this game on the site as of yet.
Bruddah: “Have you played Diablo?”
Yours Truly: “I did – but I can never remember if it was the first one or the second one I played. I don’t think I’ve played both.”
B: “How many classes were there? Diablo only had three, while the sequel had like six or eight.”
YT: “I don’t remember. I think it was the first one… but… No, I did play both – I remember the whole story arc with Tyrael, and I know that began in the second one.”
YT: “Yeah. The angel? Didn’t you pay attention to any of the story?”
B: “Diablo has a story? And, more importantly, Diablo has a story that anyone gives a fuck about?”
Diablo does indeed have a story. And someone does indeed give a fuck about it, so Blizzard’s efforts weren’t entirely wasted.
Type: Action RPG
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Developer(s): Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher(s): Blizzard Entertainment & Square Enix
Platform(s) Played: PC & Xbox One
The game begins twenty years after Diablo II ends, and the opening sequence takes place in the same cathedral that served as the setting for the first Diablo. Leah and her uncle, Deckard Cain, were hard at work trying to translate the details of a rather wicked prophecy when a star fell from the heavens, opening a crater into which Cain disappears. Not long afterwards, all hell breaks loose, and as the hero of this tale it’s your job to investigate the origins of the mysterious star, pull the towns back together while simultaneously destroying the evil ruling over each region, and, ultimately, confront the demon lords who are wreaking havoc across the world.
You can choose from five classes: Barbarian, which is your standard heavy-weapon melee tank; Demon Hunter, which is your ranged jack-of-all-trades; the flying fists and healing magic of the Monk; Wizard, your arcane specialist; and Witch Doctor, who takes the place of the former Necromancer class and is an arcane specialist with pets. Lots and lots of pets. If you purchase the Reaper of Souls expansion for the PC or download the game for a console (which became available in August 2014 under the title Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition and automatically includes the expansion), you’ll also have a sixth class from which to choose: the sword-and-board Crusader.
To be perfectly honest, Diablo III is very similar to Torchlight II – so much so that it’s not uncommon for a gamer to choose to play one over the other. At their cores, they’re practically the same game, from the replayability offered by random dungeons and equipment to their hack-and-slash method of fighting (just keep clicking and something will hit!!!). Personally I prefer Torchlight II: the characters are more customizable, as are their skills and appearances; they also seem to level faster, which makes it seem like the game and your character both progress more quickly; you get to choose and customize a pet (whatever would I do without my trusty headcrab, Anthony*??!!); not to mention that you don’t have to be online to play (unlike Diablo III – more on this under Bantha Poodoo below). The Manimal is indifferent to pets but hated the commitment required in Torchlight II when selecting a character and their skills and preferred the liberty and fluidity offered by Diablo III of swapping skills at his leisure.
(1) As mentioned above, this game is comprised of random dungeons and equipment, which makes the potential replay value quite high.
(2) I love the addition of the runes, which become accessible as your character levels up. These essentially enhance existing and provide additional skills for your character, some of which can be massively game-changing!!! (I mean, my Witch Doctor was practically friggin’ unbeatable once she hit the high 30s – she could summon zombie dogs and a raging-berserker gargantuan zombie, not to mention that she could randomly generate a small host of pygmy warriors… She was flinging poisoned darts and spells to suck away life and harvest souls while her posse kept baddies from getting anywhere near her! Add a friend or a follower like the Templar, and she is well-nigh unbeatable!!)
(3) The Hardcore mode is awesome… and, as with Torchlight II, nothing makes a game more fun than knowing you could lose it all for good at any moment. No refresh. No redo. Nothing but tears and a ghost. R.I.P. Melisandre and Calypso… you’re gone, but not forgotten.
The Bantha Poodoo
(1) It’s not a huge deal for me but it’s something that I did notice and that mildly bugged me: the weapons appear to be primarily cosmetic, as they spend most of their time just hanging off the characters’ backs or in their hands and are only used to fulfill some special abilities. My Wizard carries around a staff but never uses it, my Witch Doctor carries a ceremonial knife that she just holds in her hand at all times, and the Manimal’s Crusader sometimes uses his sword but more often than not just does some weird glowing power thing with his bare hand. A bizarre choice, and I’m not quite sure what they were thinking there… but as the Bruddah said, “When I’ve got a big goddamn axe, I want it to act like a big goddamn axe – not an axe-shaped rucksack!”
(2) It sucks the big one that Blizzard’s digital rights management policy requires that players constantly be connected to the internet in order to play Diablo III – even if you’re flying solo. No internet? No playing. It’s that simple.
(3) It’s a big boo for me when I can’t customize a character at all in a game like this, but that’s the way of things in Diablo III. You can pick your class, and you can pick your gender, but other than that… nope. One female Demon Hunter will look exactly the same as every other Demon Hunter, the only difference being their clothing as they progress through the story. And it can be done – Torchlight II had at least a few options available for customization, so… boo.
* Incidentally, this is why Anthony’s name is Anthony: Bad LipSync. Not because he’s a turtle, but because I like to yell, “His name is Anthony!” to which the Manbeast responds, “He’s mushy!” If I ever throw a birthday party for Anthony, you’d better believe I’ll hunt down some trailer folk, shrimp dogs, and pizza. And I don’t even know what a shrimp dog is.