DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Monday, June 04, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Diablo 3

Diablo III (PC / Mac - and rumoured PS3)

Developed by Blizzard

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Welcome gamer – come with me to Sanctuary, a wild and wonderful dark fantasy world where angels and demons clash, and the fate of mankind is in the hands of heroes of various classes…

Say goodbye to your life… The high heavens themselves need saving - time to step up!!

It’s been 11 long years since the excellent Diablo II turned otherwise normal people into fully geeked out fantasy game fans whose whole existence was consumed with finding and upgrading the be possible loot, defeating the lords of hell and generally levelling up as much as possible. It’s a fever, a compulsion, an addiction – testament to this is the fact that Diablo III is the most pre-ordered PC game in history!?

Now Diablo is back – back to re-enslave fans of the first two games and to potentially bring on board thousands of new players. Diablo III takes place some twenty years after the events of Diablo II – Non Player Character (NPC) Deckard Cain and his niece Leah find themselves in – the place where Diablo himself first walked the earth… Tristram Cathedral is struck by a mysterious star falling from the sky which strikes the Cathedral, creating a deep crater into which Deckard disappears.

Your player character, the Nephalem (although obviously you name them), arrives in New Tristram to investigate the fallen star. Kicking enemy ass with your starting powers / weapons and building them up via the sweet ‘quick’ levelling of the early game sees you on a mission to rescue Cain and finding out the fallen object is a person.

Seems you’re not the only person interested in the fallen person – a witch named Maghda muscles in and provides you with some great mini boss fights including old enemies from the Diablo world such as ‘The Butcher.’

The plot sees the world under threat from demon lords Belial and Azmodan – pals of Diablo himself and everything depends on you to stop them... Of course there's the chance to kick the big guy's ass too!?

"just a nice walk in the park - mind the zombies"

The first 2 Diablo games and expansion pack Lord of Destruction set new standards in the ‘hack n slash RPG’ genre and fans will be pleased because Diablo III keeps all the best elements from its predecessors, including the maddeningly addictive ‘just one more level up’ classic gameplay.

Graphically Diablo III doesn’t try to compete with games like Skyrim – the action here is all from an isometric camera angle and the gameplay is smooth and silky combo of mouse n keyboard – there is even a Diablo special edition mouse which you can buy. It all looks nice enough though and has some great weather effects – backed up by wonderful sound effects. You’re likely to feel a real chill when wandering through a desolate marsh and a thunder storm breaks over you!?

Creating new characters is easy and fun – and the 5 classes available from the start are barbarian wizard, witch doctor, monk and demon hunter, It is worth creating at least one of each and experiencing the different gaming styles they bring before deciding which you’re going to invest many hours / days / months of your life in leveling up all the way.

Every player starts in normal difficulty – which you have to beat to unlock harder versions, but beat the game on normal and you can step up to play on nightmare / hell and finally inferno levels. What is completely awesome about Diablo III is that playing on ‘hardcore’ mode – which is available once a character hits level 10 means that there are no respawns, virtual death is ‘real’ in that if your hardcore character dies it is game over and that character is archived as a ghost – never to walk the world of Diablo as a player again!? It really adds a massive amount of tension to the game, especially when playing with other players via the cool co-op Battlenet system.

Playing through the story again and again is not a chore either as much of the world and side-quests are randomized each time. There is always better loot out there somewhere for you to find or craft… And when in co-op, don’t worry as the loot you find will be held on your version of the world and each player will see different loot!? A lovely idea, which stops people nicking all the best stuff.

There is even an online auction house where you can spend in game gold on rare items sold by other players (or sell your own). Eventually there will be a real money version too along with a player vs player add on, not to mention the potential downloadable additions which are likely to bring new classes and missions.

"choose your hero!"

Diablo III is awesome and takes the Diablo franchise to a new level. Fast to pick up and play, seriously hard to quit - Blizzard should be applauded for bringing fantasy geeks the game that they’ve always wanted!!

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:


5 – Fantasy hack n slash perfection...

"Angel cosplay - inspired by Diablo III"

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