The popular action RPG series made its début on the Xbox 360 and PS3 today and will be on next gen consoles later on in the year when the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One finally launch. Let me get one thing out of the way before we begin, I’ve never really played the other titles in the Diablo series so I am going in blind with this game. So far what I’ve played I’m finding addictive and really fun especially when you play it local multiplayer. This game has already been out for over a year on the PC and there was poor feedback from fans upon release because of the infamous “Error 37″ with the DRM. Luckily with this version you can play it offline if you choose to.
The main story of this fantasy outing is that twenty years after the Prime Evils were defeated from your world you must go back to where it all began in New Tristram to investigate the rumours of the fallen star. It’s your standard affair with fantasy RPG’s with Diablo III’s story so lets dive into gameplay and features. The immediate aspect that you’ll notice is that you are no longer using a keyboard and mouse, you are using a controller. At first it was a bit weird because I’ve only played a little bit of Diablo 2 back in the day, but the controls are solid with a pad and you get used to them very quickly.
When you start up the game you can pick from five classes the Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Wizard, Monk and Demon Hunter. The Barbarian is you standard class who is an expert with heavy weapons such as two handed swords, blunt weapons like maces and axes and overall they have great strength. The Witch Doctor is new to the franchise and they are basically a Necromancer, they can use death, disease and curses to destroy their enemies or if that isn’t good enough you can summon undead minions to do your bidding and eat your foes. The Wizard, well I think you know what a wizard does! They do the standard spells by manipulate forces such as storms and the arcane arts. Monks are religious warriors of light, they are masters of martial arts and speed. The final class Demon Hunter acts like a rouge style of class because it specialises in range combat with bows, crossbows and thrown explosives, so you’ll definitely need one of these guys backing you up in battle.
Throughout your journey you will be completing quests to gain experience points and like most RPG’s you use it to unlock new abilities for your character. Each skill is mapped to different buttons on your controller it can vary from defensive skills to attacking skills such as the mighty hammer attack that my Barbarian character has to decimate a bundle of enemies that makes for a satisfying demise for my foes.
On top of your standard skills you can unlock runes to upgrade said skill and they will come with attributes such as being able to do more damage at the expense of knocking your enemy back. It’s a nice fresh feature because it encourages you to use different skills and runes for certain situations. You will also have passive skills which you unlock more slots the higher the level you are, these can range from the probability of finding health orbs or gold, or the probability of gaining a critical hit in combat, again with these it encourages you to swap them around for other situations it keeps you on your toes and makes you lay out a strategy.
There is so much to explore in this world I found myself looking through every nook and cranny to find treasure and rare items. I love to loot in these sort games because of all the new and powerful weapons that you’ll find. You have four colours to symbolise the rarity of items; grey for standard items, blue for common but well made, yellow for rare and orange for very rare, it’s the same with enemies you have white for standard, blue for special characters but still fairly standard, yellow for tougher character and purple for bosses or sub bosses. Enemies will also have a subtitle under their health bar like “Waller” or “Nightmarish” this is detailing their set of skills and that adds more strategy.
Throughout your adventure you will find followers with different skills and they will level up along side you in battles, like your character they will have a skill set but it is a bit limited compared to yours because there are less skills. You can also give them new weapons that are suited to their class because you won’t be able to use them if you are of a different skill set. They will be at your hub base which are certain main towns that you will be based in each act and you are able to talk to them and buy new weapons and armour.
My only beef with this game are the spikes in difficulty, for example I’ve been playing this game on normal and yeah it is challenging but suddenly you will come across creatures that are not bosses that will absolutely destroy you, so I would recommend playing this with a friend. The local multiplayer is so much fun it reminds of playing games such as Torchlight or Crimson Alliance this game could be one of those nights where get some friends around and have a few beers.
Overall I really had fun with this game because it is super addictive finding the new areas, creatures and treasure and that enjoyment is amplified when you are playing with friends because some battles can get really tense and it helps to have a helping hand board and you generally argue over the loot. If you haven’t experienced this game because you don’t have a gaming rig then get it on PS3 or Xbox 360 (coming to next gen at some point) because you won’t regret it. I know it got a lot of negative attention last year with the DRM nonsense but you can enjoy this game with ease offline so you won’t be interrupted.