It's that time it seems. Been either putting this off or had other stuff I've been working on to occupy my time. I feel like I've played the game enough, for myself at least, and have read and heard enough about it from others that I can offer my real opinion on this game. Also, spoiler warning because I'm going to talk about the story and probably spoil everything in this review. Here we go.
Not much to say about this really. Graphics aren't a huge selling point for me in games but these deliver just fine. Some say they are too cartoony or not that well done for that matter but really they look very smooth. The environments look awesome and I feel like I'm in a different place with every Act I go into. The ambiance in each area is very well done and combined with the music made it feel like I was there in the world.
The amount of blood and gore is also pretty amazing, especially in the secret level. It's pretty satisfying to fight a large pack of mobs, AoE them to death, and then watch the blood and guts fly. Very nice detail for sure.
I can't say much for the armor as I've only played two classes and just have seen the others. I do like the detail they put in to each piece of armor so that they match whatever character you are on.
It's good. That's all I can say really. Blizzard has always done a good job with their music and they impress me again. As I said above, they did a really good job bringing you into the environments that you are fighting in and making the game flow very easily.
The only bad thing I have to really say about the gameplay is how you move around. Using the mouse to move is extremely annoying and I'm sure I could go into the game and change the hot keys and such but I'm already so used to the controls the way they are. It is really annoying to not be able to get out of large packs of mobs and end up dieing because everywhere you click to move you end up attacking another enemy. Other than that, the gameplay is amazing.
Controls are very easy to get used to and they do a good job of building you up to having full bar function by the end of the first run through the game. Character customization is also fantastic. There are so many options to choose from when it comes to spells and what those spells can do. Some examples as a Wizard, I can have my Ray of Frost deal more damage the longer I have it on the target or have it snare and slow the mobs down more. I can have my Frost Nova spell cause more explosions or I can have it freeze the enemies longer. Each spell has about five different ways to use it which makes customizing your character and play style endless.
There are about thirty or so abilities and spells per character along with about fifteen or so passive abilities that you can have active. Put that together with the ability to only use six abilities and three passive abilities at once and it makes for some interesting strategy for all the characters. Playing my Wizard alone is totally different from being in a party. If I'm alone, I'm much more defensive in my play style trying to slow and snare the mobs while hitting them with hard spells. If I'm in a group I will pull out much more offense, bulk my spell damage up and let them take the hits for me.
Every class also feels very different from one another. I've played both a Wizard and a Witch Doctor and the play styles are extremely different and even though I haven't played the other classes, just grouping with them I can tell how different their play styles are. With my Wizard it's all about AoE damage, snares and slows, and heavy hitting spells. Witch Doctor focuses more on various types of pets and how well you can keep the enemy from getting to you.
The character customization doesn't end there because you have all sorts of armor and weapons to pick from to fit what you're trying to do. Gear comes with stats that increase how much gold, experience and magical items you find in the world along with the normal health, strength, intellect etc stats. Along with that all the stats are random so if you find something you can't use maybe your friend can and vice versa.
The two professions in the game seem all but useless to me though. I don't know why they have the blacksmith unless by capped level he has much better gear but I end up finding better stuff off enemies or the Auction House for that matter. The jewel crafter I can see being useful though to create higher level gems and removing gems from gear you aren't using anymore.
There is definitely something there for everyone so even if you don't like one class out of the five to choose from, chances are there is one for you that will fit your style of play very well.
This is where I hate on the game a bit. I went into this game with very, very little knowledge of Diablo lore and it started out great to me. You have to investigate something that fell from the sky and landed in a cathedral only to find out that what fell from the sky was a man. Or was it a man? Turns out it was one of the angels, Tyrael, that watches over mankind who gave up his wings because he didn't agree with the way things they did things up in Heaven. I liked it and it almost seemed like it set it up to have some very dire consequences that we would have to deal with later in Heaven.
Even after being able to see every twist coming at me and knowing what was happening next, it was still good. I can even overlook the whole Adria disappearing at the end of the game leaving that whole betrayal to the group wide open for a future expansion, patch or what not. The thing that got me was how rushed the ending felt.
At the end of Act III, you have locked all the major demon lords into the Black Soul Stone and are ready to destroy it but then Adria comes out of nowhere and betrays you. Fine, I saw it coming. But then her daughter, Leah, became a vessel for Diablo to manifest himself into the world again becoming this massive evil that you have to overcome. Kinda saw that coming too. And then the last act involves you rushing through Heaven and skipping through all these awesome, amazing archangels, their lore, and their leader. They don't even give me a fight with that bastard leader after he talked down to me so much. I feel like I had to completely ignore this awesome environment and go straight to the end for a final showdown with Diablo just to destroy him and Leah forever.
This is the first game Leah has been in, from what I know of, and they basically hyped her up as something awesome and how she would turn into some amazing character that would help you put an end to the demons only to have her gone by the end of it. What was the point of having her in the game then?
Along with that they end up killing Cain, a very prominent lore character, bringing back another villain from the first games, to get some nostalgia in there I'm assuming, and then immediately killing him off for no other reason than he was evil. And as awesome as Tyrael is, helping you along on your quest after Act I and providing very little help towards the end besides being another companion, he just felt like a Mary Sue character who could do no wrong. I almost would have been happy if they killed him off to because it would have made things so much better and I wouldn't have to see another awesome character getting by with becoming the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.
What else good can I say about the game's story? Act III was amazing to play through. They made it feel like you were on the battlefield fending off droves of demons from sacking the world and then finally getting to the fight the last Demon lord and ending the assault there. Great work there.
Other than that though. Blizzard, what were you thinking?! The end of the game just feels like you are trying to get us out expansion packs or patches to fill in plot holes and tie up loose ends. With all the development time you had with this game, the ending seems rushed.
Some Ending Notes
One other big thing I wanted to mention that I hate so very much about this game is that it requires an internet connection to play. Even if you are playing by yourself, you have to connect to their servers to play this game. That doesn't sound like much of a problem right? Wrong.
Just today actually when I was trying to get on and play a bit and try to get some screen caps for this article, I was given the "Battle.net is currently down" error. Great Blizzard, I can't even play this by myself if it's offline. There's nothing I hate more than buying a game to play that is almost built for a single player experience only to run into a brick wall if my internet is offline, their servers are down or some other nonsense issue that could occur that involves the internet not wanting you to play this game.
Another good thing to note is how they do grouping in the game. It's a very seamless transition when adding or removing players from your party. The difficulty goes up if you add more players and goes down if you lose players. This all makes it very easy to slip into your friends games and to have them tag along with you. They did a really good job with this and I can only hope they work on improving it and maybe adding it to other games they make.
To counter that though sometimes I want to play alone and having my friends just welcome their selves into my game isn't fun. Add in that the game doesn't save your quest progress very well from your game if you jump into another person game and it ends up screwing you over and making you redo hours of play sometimes. It says you are at a checkpoint but if you believe it for a second that you won't have to go back and complete the last hour you did then you may set yourself up for disappointment.
In The End
Though I had a lot of gripes about this game and such I really can't argue that it's a fun and compelling game to play...when it's online. I almost feel like with all the time it had in development they could have come out with something far more amazing but for what they did come out with its a pretty solid and polished game.
If you are a fan of Diablo, hack and slash games or are just looking for something new to try then I highly recommend picking this up. It's a very fun and unique experience and only shows that Blizzard can make some really good quality games that will have you coming back for more.