Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: September 3, 2013
The legacy continues! Ok, first I must admit…. I went a little fan boy… ok a lot fan boy when the opening cinematic started. The minions of hell are back and the heroes are gathering to save the world of Sanctuary. Blizzard hit it big again with Diablo III. If you are a fan of the first 2 games, then 3 will more than fulfill your expectations and set a new standard. We get to see some of our old favorites and a lot of new additions. Updated graphics, new hero classes, new weapons and armor….insert fan boy squeal here….
Ok back to the basics. Blizzard originally released Diablo III for the PC in May of 2012. The console version was released September 3, 2013 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Rumor has it that a PS4 version is in the works for 2014. Hero creation consists of 2 of our old favorites, the Barbarian and the Wizard (revamped version of the sorceress), along with 3 new classes. New heroes consist of the Monk, the Witch Doctor, and the Demon Hunter. Those that also get the Reaper of Souls expansion will gain the option of a 4th new hero, the Crusader. The new hero classes hail back to the replaced classes of the Necromancer, Assassin, Amazon and Paladin. Most will notice similarities in abilities and spells worked into the new classes, bringing the nostalgic feelings to those that loved the original hero classes. Bonus on character creation is that you can now choose either Male or Female versions of all heroes.
Diablo III starts in New Tristram, where once again we rescue Deckard Cain, this time from the evil clutches of the Skeleton King. Game play never gets boring with expanded maps and plenty of evil creatures to scour from the world. Maps are incredibly larger but not to the point of mass confusion. I am one of those players who likes to fill in the entire map so I had hours of fun running around fighting creatures and using the interactive environment at my disposal. Knocking down pillars on top of your enemies or watching chandeliers that you release falling on my enemies gave me great pleasure and often had me giggling out loud in glee. With the larger maps comes more side quests to help keep the game interesting and with purpose. Different levels of difficulty, and there are a lot of them, with each level having I guess you would call sub difficulty levels, will keep players of all levels on their toes and fighting the minions of hell.
Characters have an increased carrying capacity, all loot put into the stash can be shared among all your created characters, along with any gold. The ability to buy extra slots for your stash is a huge bonus with this feature. A big improvement I found was that you no longer need to carry town portal scrolls and scrolls of identify leaving your bag open for bigger, better and more items. Another favorite piece of mine is the ability to dye your armor pieces, allowing you to personalize your hero’s look. Those that play other Blizzard games will notice little tidbits brought into Diablo III in the names of weapons and armor. Some pieces are still type specific but the variety of weapons and armor will not leave you wanting, making your character look completely bad ass no matter what class you choose is wonderfully easy.
To be honest I was a little worried about the conversion of controls from the PC to the console controller. To put it simply all those fears have been laid to rest for me. Players can choose the ability to customize the controls or simply let them be categorized by button in the standard settings. I choose to customize my controls and had two primary abilities assigned to the buttons I wanted them on. Going up in rank unlocks different buttons on the controller little by little giving the player time to familiarize where each ability is and customize the locations if wanted. One drawback I found was that you cannot customize the L1 L2 controls. To me though, this was only a minor annoyance which I quickly became accustomed to when trying to use a health potion. Movement is now controlled by the left thumb stick which I actually found was a lot easier than the PC point and click, having the control this way allowed for more ability to move in various directions in a quick manner along with having the right thumb stick control evasive maneuvers like rolling or flipping to avoid attacks. The only other negative I found in the controls was the menu for your inventory. Those not an expert in using the thumb sticks for intricate movement may find this menu difficult when trying to select certain menu icons. I do like the fact that items take up just one slot in your inventory instead of having to play Tetris with them to make the most of the room you have in your bag.
Traipsing around the world of Sanctuary with 3 of my friends was a blast. Four players on screen is great. The screen display for each character is easy to read and much more streamlined. Belt items are no longer displayed on screen as health potions no longer need to be equipped in that manner. Assigned abilities show with the button they are on along with a health bar and a magic/rage/ability globe to show the availability of special move capability. The graphics and sound of game play are incredible, with new looks to old favorites (how the town portals work and look) and realistic movement to the items around you (the columns crumbling and pieces rolling).
I for one will continue to play this game for a long time. Diablo III quickly became a favorite game of mine and with different levels of difficulty, Diablo III will keep the entertainment and challenge level high.