Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Diablo 3 (3/5)

I was just as excited as everyone else for Diablo 3 and had great expectations. I played the beta and it seemed very fun and satisfying so I assumed the rest of the game would be just as great. When the game finally launched and there were server errors for hours at the start I thought "Oh well it's just some launch trouble that's not uncommon." I let it go and thought it was no big deal. After days though there were still disconnect problems and it started to get frustrating. Then as I played the game itself, I enjoyed it at the start, but as I got further and further the story got weaker. Act I was very exciting and long. Possibly even too long. The surprises in the story and character development were all quite good and kept me interested throughout. Smashing the Act I monsters was always super fun too and as I learned new skills I got exciting new ways to smash them. Act II was somewhat enjoyable plot wise, but it was starting to get predictable. Also the enemies in Act II often seemed more annoying than fun to fight. Act III improved gameplay wise but the plot seemed even simpler and dull. Finally Act IV seemed like it was very rushed. It seemed to last less than half as long as Act I and the plot was so basic and disconnected it was very unimportant at this point. There was no character development anymore and none of the quests I was doing seemed important.

Plot aside many people think the more important part of dungeon crawlers is leveling up and loot collection. Leveling up and learning new skills and runes was fun until about level 40 or so and then it started to get really stale and uninteresting. The loot was also almost never exciting. This has been a common complaint among Diablo 3 players. Diablo 2 had unique and interesting loot modifiers that made it interesting to pick up rares and unique items even as low as level 5, but in Diablo 3 almost all the items you find have the same simple modifiers and nothing really makes any of them unique. Now I only got up to level 56 so I didn't get into Inferno mode yet so I can't speak for that, but I hear it is more of the same boring grind. In all of my Diablo 3 play (about 50 hours I think) I only found one legendary item and the stats on it weren't even very useful for very long. Unfortunately because of the Real Money Auction House (players can sell items for real cash) Blizzard cannot make it so everyone gets the best drops all the time. In fact because of this system as you get to very high levels you are almost forced to use the auction house (you can use the gold one instead of spending real money) or you cannot progress quickly because the loot is just not good enough.

Despite all these problems I did have a lot of fun playing the game and leveling up. Smashing zombies with my barbarian was very satisfying and it's hard to find another game that makes left clicking so fun. The gameplay in Diablo 3 is still solid despite the other problems I listed. It's just a bummer because everyone had such high expectations for Diablo 3 and I feel it really fell short. Some say we're all just nostalgic for Diablo 2 and we just wish it was more like that, but the more I play the more I feel that it is not just nostalgia and the game really has problems. People said the same thing about Starcraft 2 right when it came out, but I clearly love that game to death, and I think it was very well made. Some people say Diablo 3 will get better when they patch it and balance it some more and add in PvP and yada yada yada. Maybe they're right, but I don't think we should have had to wait for all that. In the end I will probably go back and play it again some day as I still think it's a good game, but it wasn't the game we all hoped for.

Final Score: 3/5

No comments: