Culture, Tech

Diablo III; Is the trip back to hell worth it?

So after 2-3 hrs of waiting for the servers to go online, an hr of phone time with Verizon to reset my internet connection and finally putting four or five hrs in, here is where we stand:

Issue #1: Blizzard really dropped the ball on the server issue.  While I had no probs getting on very early yesterday, when I came home the servers were down for at least 2 – 3 hrs (which gave me some time to play Max Payne which is a game that reminds me soooo much of Stranglehold which came out in 2007) and trying to log in a few times got so bad, that I actually had to call Verizon to have them reboot and refresh our routers from outside.  Finally around 6pm I got on and played until around 11pm

Issue #2:  No way in hell (hehe…see what I did there?) should this be an online only game to play.  I get the idea considering how bad Diablo II was abused but there is no reason with the server issues that they had should a game like this require a constant internet connection just to play. And it really sucks that there is no LAN option similar to what Diablo II had.

The game itself:

After playing so many of the clones like Scared I and II, Titan Quest (one of the best clones) and a few forgettable others, I was glad to say that this was worth the wait. Yeah this game plays akin to a FTP MMORPG but without all of the hassle.  Your game is instanced which means you or whomever else you allow in run that instance and you don’t have mobs of people to share a game world with.

Graphically, it’s not phenomenal or mindblowing but on both my PC and my wife’s iMac the game is running at full tilt although her machine has the option of running it at max res of 2550 x 1600 which makes it a little more crisp. However, the environments are dark and creepy, not bright, cartoony and Fable-ish like what some feared would happen.  I got no lag time when lots of monster crowded the screen and I was impressed by some of the lighting SFX.  The one small complaint I have on the graphics is that most of the time you are outdoors, there is this ‘fog’ that takes away a lot of the detail of the game but ones you go inside not so much.  Also because it’s an isometric view, you really can’t scroll in close to see a lot of the details, but what is cool is the gorefest that you get; eviscerations, decapitations and so forth to ensure that you are playing the right game and it’s good!

Control-wise, I still feel like I need to calibrate my mouse a bit because sometimes I feel like I am moving although I want to shoot and vice-versa but thankfully it’s compact and you aren’t made to feel like you need to learn a lot of buttons to play it.

But game wise?  It’s DIABLO plain and simple.  It’s dark and dreary with plenty to kill. What i really like and loathe simultaneously is that surprisingly there are a lot of environmental pieces that are destructible such as walls, tables, bannisters and so on but the problem is even though you can use some of these as traps to kill monsters, it doesn’t affect you or your companion, which for a game like this is a bit cheap but oh well.

Loot drops are plentiful and I don’t know if it’s me but in Diablo II, I don’t remember finding as much magical stuff so frequently as I have thus far.  My stash is mostly full with stuff I may be able to use and because now I have the blacksmith available, I can break down some of the junk and build better weapons but as soon as I get my 14K of gold, I am buying more stash room!  And that is the other thing, you can and will accumulate gold very rapidly so no worries about being able to eventually buying a “Sword of Thrashing” for 5k because in less than 2 hrs you can afford it!

Now while people will probably criticize the new leveling system, I like it.  Once I level up, all I need to do is go in, activate the new skill, see if I like my new skill as opposed to my old skill and K.I.M. No need to fol around for an hr, trying to figure out where to put your points because it’s done for you. At first I didn’t like it but after 2 hrs, I was like let me hurry and get my Demon Hunter leveled so I can hurry up and continue!

And how unfortunate was I that the server went down for maintenance the MOMENT I made it to the Skeleton King?  Besides it was 11pm and I needed to go to bed but that old feeling of ‘just one more dungeon’ had crept back in like days of old with Diablo II.

Blizzard did a good job of recreating that dangling the carrot feel that I haven’t had since 2003 and I have no idea if they put crack into these games or what but few other games had me as hooked as Diablo II and so far no one has recreated its success. However, Blizzard needs to seriously fix the server issue because the forums have be lit ablaze by angry gamers who really wanted to get their fix and due to numerous server outages, were unable to do so. it’s not like Blizzard didn’t know to expect so many people; 800,000 people in the US alone reserved it and almost 1.5 million across the globe.  Once they get past this issue and things settle down, I have a feeling that enough people will jump on and play the hell out of this game over and over like we did 10 years ago.

3.9/ 5 stars.



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