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Diablo 3

Diablo III

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review: July 13, 2012
Format Reviewed: PC
Language / Country of Origin: English/USA
Online Capability: Requires online connection to battle.net to play, even in single player.  Battle.net allows for finding other players, chatting, profiles, and more.  There are hundreds of achievements for Diablo 3.
Prequels: Diablo, Diablo II, and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
Featured Characters: 5 playable classes, male or female.
Equipment Needed: A PC/Mac that meets the minimum requirements (including an internet connection).
Maintenance Required: None required.

Review:

Plot:
“Two decades have passed since the events of the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction expansion pack, in which the demonic lords, Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal, set out across the world of Sanctuary on a vicious rampage, twisting humanity to their unholy will. Yet for those who battled the Prime Evils, the memory fades slowly. When Deckard Cain returns to the ruins of Tristram Cathedral seeking clues to defeat new stirrings of evil, a fiery harbinger of doom falls from the heavens, striking the very ground where Diablo once entered the world. This fire from the sky reawakens ancient evils, but also calls the heroes of Sanctuary to defend the mortal world against the rising powers of the Burning Hells once again.”

*From Blizzard Entertainment

Gameplay:
Diablo 3 continues the series’ tradition of being an addictive click-fest.  Using the mouse and a few hot keys, you wield weapons and spells against endless hordes of enemies.  Dropped loot is randomized, making every drop a potential upgrade.  This is where the game shines – there is nothing like defeating a swarm of enemies and finding that elusive item with the perfect modifiers you need to take your character to the next stage.

Blizzard has always made polished games and Diablo 3 is no exception.  The artwork and animations are top-notch, letting the player lay waste to armies of bad guys with a stream of flashy spells and abilities that light up the screen in a wondrous display of destruction.  Environments range from dark and musty dungeon halls to polished palace courtyards, each filled with items that can be destroyed by actions in the game.

Unfortunately, the game begins to show flaws the closer you look. Serious flaws.

Having to be connected to the internet to play single player was annoying but tolerable for me.  For those wanting to play on vacation – on a plane, for example – are out of luck.  I realize game companies want to protect their profits with DRM, but this is intrusive.

After reaching end-game with a max-level monk, I entered the “Inferno” difficulty setting.  In an instant, I was dead.  This difficulty is extreme and feels like the previous difficulty squared.  I enjoy difficult games, so this was a welcome experience.  I went back to the previous difficulty and saved up a mountain of gold to spend in the in-game auction house.  I had gotten several items from the auction house already and they had helped me greatly in the earlier levels.

Unfortunately, the notorious RMAH had been activated.  This is the Real Money Auction House, where you spend US dollars to buy items offered for sale by your fellow players.  Unfortunately for me, the items I needed to defeat the hordes in Inferno were nowhere to be found in the regular “in-game gold” auction house.  Instead, these precious bits of gear were for sale all over the RMAH, often for over $100 each.

Nope.

I drew the line there and stopped playing.  The game was very fun while it lasted and I do not regret spending $60 on it, but it didn’t hold me.  Diablo 2 grabbed me and wouldn’t let go for nearly 2 years.  The difference?  Diablo 2 had no auction house.

Cultural / Historical Value:
Diablo 3 was one of the most highly anticipated games of all time.  It continues where parts 1 and 2 left off, both universally regarded as classics.

Teaching / Learning Characteristics:
The most useful learning characteristic of Diablo 3 involve economics.  The auction house is a great example of how supply and demand fuel a market.  The environment is similar to the auction house in World of Warcraft, which has been studied for years. (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/05/sociologists-invade-world-of-warcraft-and-see-humanitys-future/)

Replay Value:
The adventuring areas are randomized which greatly increases replay value.  It is also very entertaining to play the other classes, despite the story being the same.  Diablo 3 is about game play, not story, and the randomized loot, areas, and bosses work to make the game one of the most replayable around.

Likely Audiences:
The demonic content might scare off the extremely religious, and the violence is inappropriate for young players, but almost anyone will enjoy this game for awhile.  Unfortunately for myself and many others, Diablo 3′s end game ended the game.

Overall Score:
75/100

Other Reviews:
1up.com
Gamerankings
Gamespot
Metacritic
MobyGames

 

About the Author:
Kevin has been a PC gamer since leveling a party in Ultima 3 to level 99 and hex-editing saved game files for The Bard’s Tale in the 80s.

Awards

Award Giver Category Verdict
Golden Joystick Awards 2009One to Watch Award Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2012Best RPG Runner Up
Golden Joystick Awards 2012Ultimate Game of the Year Runner Up
Spike Video Game Awards 2012Best PC Game Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2012Best RPG Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2013Original Music Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2013Strategy Nominee
D.I.C.E. Awards 2013Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay Nominee
D.I.C.E. Awards 2013Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition Nominee
D.I.C.E. Awards 2013Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design Nominee
D.I.C.E. Awards 2013Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year Nominee

Additional Info

ESRB Description:
Blood and Gore, Violence

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