Diablo III Review: Is it Worth the Hype?

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Blizzard is at it again (could be bad, could be good), releasing one of the most anticipated PC games of all time, Diablo 3. For those unfamiliar with the Diablo franchise, the release of the third installment was riddled with rumors and setbacks for the space of 12 years, when the second game was released. The long wait makes this game one of wonder and excitement, but also opens itself up to a heap of criticism.

Though I am no one of particular stature (except to my three year old son), as someone who has played through the series, as well as the open beta and now experiencing the game in full force, I thought I would share with you my humble opinion of how Blizzard fairs with continuing the dynasty that is Diablo.

(The following is just my opinion, take it how you will and please leave your opinions of the game below in the comments!)

Diablo Game Comparisons

Game Play
Diablo III
Diablo II
Multiplayer
X
X
Single Player (Offline)
 
X
Auction House
X
 
Rare Items and Set Items
X
X
Transmute
Crafting
X
Socketed Upgrade Weapons & Armor
X
X
Mercenaries
X
X
Item Degradation and Death
X
X
Acts with Cutscenes
X
X
Male/Female per class
X
 
# of Character Classes
5
7 (counting expansion)
Town Portals and Identifying Scrolls
X (in a way)
X
Health and Mana Potions
Health (with a twist)
Health and Mana
Attributes
Automatic
Self allotted
Storage
X
X

The rating system below is on a scale of 0 - 5, with 5 being the best.

Multi/Single Player Rating

Diablo III Multiplayer and Single Player

Pros:

  • Easy chat features allow you to chat with friends in different games, provides a whisper feature, as well as be able to do party and world class, as well as chat with other players of the same class to get advice on your character
  • Easily jump into a game with people who are on the same quest as you
  • Easily jump into a game with friends
  • Play with up to 4 people

Cons:

  • There is no offline single player mode, you have to be connected to the net to play
  • You can't have your mercenary if you party up
  • Jump ahead to play with friends in further acts producing a ton of spoilers and a disjointed story line.

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Auction House Rating

Diablo III Auction House

One of the new features brought into Diablo III is the auction house, allowing players to sell and buy items. The auction house can be addicting, but I also see the result is a overpowered character and less of a need to work hard for awesome drops.

Pros or Cons (depending on your outlook of Auction Houses):

  • Purchase items you need/want
  • Sell items for more gold
  • Sell and buy items using real money
  • Search feature allows you to specify up to three attributes you are looking for in an item (e.g. +55 to strength)
  • Search for legendary and set items easily with an auto fill search
  • Sell up to 10 items at a time
  • Cancel item sell within a five second window
  • Search within specified levels, and by class
  • Item suggestions based on your character

Cons

  • Sometimes will get error and timeouts on purchasing
  • People have lost gold in cyberspace with a few errors, never receiving money or an item
  • Overall the system is buggy at times, and has been shut down on a few occasions within the first few weeks to allow fixes.
  • Easily overpower characters
  • Produces a buy it to win it mentality instead of game hard to earn and find it.

Easily compare items with the hover feature
Easily compare items with the hover feature | Source

Items Rating

Diablo III Items

The items are there, ready to drop at the drop of a body part or purchased from your local merchant or fence.

  • Normal items
  • Socketed items
  • Magical items
  • Rare items
  • Legendary items
  • Set items
  • Gems
  • Gold
  • Crafting items
  • Dyes (that allow you to color certain armor types)

I enjoy the hover feature that allows you to easily compare the item you are hovering over to the equipped item.

Transmute and Crafting Rating

Diablo III Transmutations and Crafting

Technically there is no real transmuting done in the game, instead the transmuting is replaced with a system of artisans who allow you to craft items, which includes 'transmuting' gems to gain larger and better gems.

Pros

  • Crafting system allows you to craft items
  • Upgrade crafting systems (gem station included)
  • Recipes to improve crafting abilities
  • Can craft rare items

Cons

  • Can only be done in town centers (Diablo 2's Horadric cube could do it anywhere!)
  • Costs money
  • Crafting costs more than item is worth to a merchant, in most if not all cases, forcing you to turn a profit by using the auction house.

Upgrade Rating

Diablo III Upgrade Items

Pros

  • Insert upgrades in socketed items
  • Can remove upgrades from item for a cost, separating them without loss of gem or item

Cons

  • Only four gem classes (there is no sapphire or diamond)
  • No jewels like in Diablo II
  • No skulls like in Diablo II

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Mercenary/Companion Rating

Diablo III Mercenaries

Following suit of Diablo II, the third allows you to have mercs fight by your side in battle.

Pros

  • Embedded in story line (you pick up different mercenaries as you meet them in the story)
  • Interaction - they speak to you and speak of each other in game
  • Level up as they progress
  • Powers - you have the ability to choose powers for your merc as they unlock new powers as they level
  • They cost nothing
  • Mercenaries can revive if you survive a battle long enough for them to revive
  • Are all available in each act's town center for easy switching

Cons

  • Sometimes their repetitive and limited random speech can be annoying
  • Unable to use mercs when partying with other players

Item Degradation and Death Rating

Diablo III Item Degradation and Death

Following suit of the series, armor and weapons can become damaged when battling Diablo's minions. Since there is no real pro or con to this, here is how the degradation process works.

  • Slight damage from normal use
  • 10% damage to equipped items when you die
  • Cost to repair them from a merchant
  • Ability to repair all items, including in storage, or just equipped items
  • When you die you revive at the last checkpoint and have all your gear. No picking up your body having to dodge hits.

Cut Scenes and Acts Rating

Diablo III Acts and Cutscenes

Pros

  • 4 Acts
  • Cut scenes are incredible and really embellishes the story line compared to Diablo II.
  • Mini-cut scenes specific to character class

Cons

  • Act 4 is over too quickly
  • The entire game is over too quickly

My guess is that an expansion will be released in the near future.

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Character Rating

Diablo III Classes

  • Demon Knight
  • Barbarian
  • Witch Doctor
  • Monk
  • Wizard

Diablo III Create Characters

The game introduces some new classes, as well as has a couple of familiar ones. Supposedly the familiar ones are created to look aged as if they had previously been a part of the campaign against Diablo in the other games.

Pros

  • Can now choose male or female per class
  • Characters randomly talk throughout game to mercs, followers, and to self
  • Characters look more weathered and battle hardened (thanks 12 years worth of graphics improvements!)
  • Dyes that allow you to color some armor types (besides legendary and set items)

Cons

  • Less classes than when the expansion was introduced in the second game. However, I predict an expansion that will provide 2-3 new characters. (I'm holding out for a Paladin/Templar)
  • Can't dye legendary or set items

Portals and Identifying Rating

Diablo III Town Portals and Identifying

There are still these abilities available, but with a different way of using them.

  • Town Portal is given a little into the intro of the game
  • Portal and identifying requires no scrolls
  • The cost of using them is not money but it requires you to cast a spell to do either, meaning if you are hit during this time you are interrupted.
  • The town portal is available via hotkey -t, or it is on your hotbar.
  • Identifying is done by clicking the unidentified item in your inventory, casts a spell, and voila, it is identified.

Cons:

  • I miss throwing town portal scrolls in case an enemy was too fierce. With the lack of needing to recover your dead body, the need to do this is non-existent.

Health and Mana Rating

Diablo III Health and Mana Potions

This system got a revamp as well, and overall, I do not like it.

  • No mana potions, but each character has their own reservoir of 'mana' that is built up by normal attacks. This reservoir can then be used to access different abilities via the numbered hotkeys
  • Health potions require a cooldown
  • Health potions are instant instead of fill up like in Diablo II
  • Health globes drop from monsters and can be picked up and instantly used, creating a supplement for the cooldown time.

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Attributes and Skill Rating

Diablo III Attributes and Skills

This is one I am still unsure of how I feel. One thing I for sure do not like is the auto attributes. I would rather have the ability to stack points as I see fit, reminiscent of Diablo II's style.

  • Auto attributes
  • Revamped skill tree - six skill sets with four choices in each, and then even more choices for each of those (skill runes), plus there are passive skills separate from the skill tree system
  • Skill runes replaces stacking points into a skill

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Storage Rating

Diablo III Storage

This is something I like about Diablo III, the storage system. It has improved in a number of ways.

  • Items condensed, making them take up less space
  • Larger personal inventory
  • Storage chest is still available like in Diablo II
  • Ability to purchase extra storage space for your storage chest
  • The auction house has 10 slots where you can sell/store items. If you want it stored, put a ridiculously high price on the item so it won't sell and will stay in auction limbo. If it does sell, you are now rich! Win-win.

Overall Rating

This is rated out of a total of 5 possible points. If this were a letter grade, it would be a B.
This is rated out of a total of 5 possible points. If this were a letter grade, it would be a B.

The Verdict

It is worth most of the hype.

I jumped onto the open beta while in the midst of playing Diablo II, choosing to be a barbarian. My initial thought within the first several minutes was one of being not that impressed. I felt that I was guided too much, like Dragon Age, lacking an expansive world to explore with no drops. However, once you wander beyond Tristram, the open world and drops appear, giving you that old familiar feeling. The longer I played, the more I was hooked.

Some of the highlights of the game for me:

  • The atmosphere is much more grim and fitting
  • More mini-bosses and bosses
  • Randomization of maps
  • Awesome cinematic cut scenes
  • Familiar characters to continue the story-line
  • Some say the graphics for the time were lacking. I differ. I think they did a great job updating but still maintaining the look and feel, if not improving upon it for this installment.
  • Sweet character special moves (speaking from the Barbarian perspective). It is mesmerizing to watch the characters dismember hell's minions.
  • Increased storage
  • Same hack and slash feel
  • The story-line. Some have complained, but I thought it was enjoyable and opens it up for another installment or expansion.
  • Interaction with the world (able to smash even more world items than in Diablo 2!)
  • Monsters - I felt Blizzard created variations of existing monsters, and did a cool job with it.

Some of the drawbacks of the game for me:

  • Auto attributes (I like to be able to choose my own, and create varying characters within a class)
  • The bugs - login errors, auction house errors, easily compromised accounts, loss of items and money
  • Length was too short
  • Intro didn't hook me, had to play longer to enjoy the game
  • Dying doesn't make you have to run back through a mob of monsters to fetch your body and gold
  • Mercenaries leave when in a party
  • Weird skill tree, or lack thereof
  • Belt with potion holders is not there!
  • Is it just me, or does the Demon Knight run slow and wonky? As if he has a limp?
  • No offline single player
  • Auction house turns the game into a pay to advance system rather than earn it with skill (unless you count managing auctions a skill)
  • Can't sell it as it links to your battlenet account

Not quite sure how I feel about these things yet:

  • Health globes and potion wait time
  • Modes beyond normal (just because I have yet to try them)
  • Camera angles - it would have been nice to have a zoom feature or a rotate feature, but D3 stays true to the fixed cameras of D2. One would think with the way games are being made and the tech today, that this feature would be a given. Though it would be nice, it doesn't bother me enough.
  • Auction house is a blessing and a curse for me. Blessing because I can continually improve my character and earn gold, curse in that at least in normal mode, my character became ultra strong, making normal seem easy.
  • A few lag issues, but very minor. If it gets worse or continues more often, then this will be bumped up to the dislike section.

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Civil Discussion and Comments 8 comments

utogi 4 years ago

Think the score is a little high. Many games get ripped for lacking innovation and poor graphics. When Blizzard releases a title it is ok for them to have poor graphics and do the same tired act for half a decade ? I give d3 . 0/5 .


Vampsdes profile image

Vampsdes 4 years ago from Missouri, US

I've considered getting into Diablo or World of Warcraft. I've remained unsure as I've heard they are very addictive. This is a detailed review of Diablo 3 though and something I will take into consideration if I do decide to play one or the other.

The comment by utogi is interesting. Any game I play I like to have excellent graphics (who doesn't), and would be very disappointed to purchase a hyped up game and get poor ones. Anyways, detailed information, voted up!


Jared Zane Kessie profile image

Jared Zane Kessie 4 years ago from Richland, Washington Author

I personally like the graphics. I wasn't expecting an all out Skyrim version of Diablo. The look was what I was expecting, following suit of the other games. At first the world's somewhat painted look threw me, but after a bit of playing it blended together really well. What is really awesome to behold is the cut scene cinematics. Freaking awesome!

I am not really sure what people were expecting. The Diablo series does not lend itself to a realistic game approach, and quite frankly if Blizzard or anyone else would have tried it, I am sure fanboys would have blasted that as well. I also don't think it would have sold like if it had deviated from the look of the other Diablo's. The only thing that I would have suggested was a zoom feature with the ability to swivel camera.

I think the whole ambiance, look and feel of the game does justice to the series.


JohnGreasyGamer profile image

JohnGreasyGamer 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

Very nice rundown, more like a fullblown review. You say the game is too short / over too quickly, but how many hours did you clock in total on one character? This interests me because I plan on buying the game in a couple of days.

Finally, constructive criticism, and I've little to say: what would make 4.2 different from 4.3? Why isn't the system out of 10 so you can give much more accurate results? Though be there a decimal or not - it's above average to say the least.

Voted up, useful and interesting.


Jared Zane Kessie profile image

Jared Zane Kessie 4 years ago from Richland, Washington Author

Hey JohnGreasyGamer! My clock hours for normal was just a little over 24 hours - but this takes into account time spent logged in with my character sitting in a town while I was away (until it timed out). I have read that those blasting through the game on normal mode at fast speeds have been able to do it between 7 to 13 hours.

I am now going back through on Nightmare, and am wanting to spend more time in crafting items.

As for the random 4.2 in the overall score, it was calculated by averaging all the other scores listed (54 points all together out of 13 categories, and rounded up.)

I might just go back and re-rate using an out of 10 score to give an even clearer picture. Thanks for the suggestion! However, just as you had said, I found it to be an above average game. Not perfect, but above average. Perhaps the gruff for most is that it took 12 years to develop and many were expecting something perfect.


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JohnGreasyGamer 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

That's a shame - the game's only 7 hours long? Where's the rest of the standard 23 hours of campaign? RPGs have made it clear that 30 hours will suffice, but this.... not even an FPS game should have this life-span. I'm deeply disappointed.

I see now the method to your ratings system, so if I remember it I won't criticize it. I didn't know that's how it was done ^^

And with the game being 12 years in development, I can understand people want something perfect. But sometimes companies like Blizzard just have to agree that they're wrong, even with a franchise like this. I will be getting it and trying all classes and what-not, but if I enjoy it or not, is up to the game now.


utogi 4 years ago

I like the review , it was really good. I just have a personal biased toward Blizzard products. Time after time when innovative games come out, they get poor scores, but when Blizzard releases a game it is automatic a best seller and 9.0 +. It just gets old that now any game in the isometric field will have to copy this games to try and get the sales numbers.

The lasting effects of Blizzards water down games is becoming even more pinnacle to the death of the PC Gamer.

I would suggest games like "Path of Exile " or "Torchlight 2 " before recommending a Diablo. That is just my opinion.

To gauge graphics between D3 to other isometric game, check out "Lineage : Eternal" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxenADDtB80


Jared Zane Kessie profile image

Jared Zane Kessie 4 years ago from Richland, Washington Author

Thanks utogi, I am glad you bring your thoughts to the discussion.

Lineage Eternal does a great job with the landscape!

I am excited for Torchlight 2 to release (within a few days I believe!)

@John, I am learning by playing the other modes (Nightmare for now) that there are new side quests when playing through the game at a different difficulty. I would say that should account for a wee bit in the overall play time, not much, but something.

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