A lot of you know about Diablo III. The hype for this game was and still is incredible. Ever since its midnight release on 5/15/2012, people have been spazzing out and acting like the servers being overloaded is an unusual thing. I myself have not, as I have only heard say of the prior installment, Diablo II, though I never actually got around to playing it. Now that I’ve purchased Diablo III and played a rough four hours or so, I can sympathize wholeheartedly.
The Diablo III playstyle is much like Warcraft III or one of many other hero-oriented top-down RTS games. You choose from five classes, Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Monk, or Wizard, each of which draws from a different aspect of combat to kick ass. You may be thinking, “Whoa, only five? That’s not really a lot…” Au contraire. The complexity of the level-up system’s combat tree is astounding. Between primary, secondary, and hotkey 1-4 spells, each of which have at the very least 3 alternatives, you can play your class in whatever style suits you best.
Using experience from my gameplay session, the Monk’s primary attacks can either be a chain of punches that cause knockback, or a slow series of blows that pierce enemies (There are still two primaries left to unlock, mind you). To further customize the attacks, runes may be applied to add different elements, such as teleportation to the knockback, or multiple sequential blows to the piercing strikes. I’m very impressed with this means of combat customization, and to see it in five different classes is all the more inspiring. I truly look forward to continuing to play Diablo III.
A word on visuals. Or rather, several. If anyone has played DotA 2 on the highest visual settings, you already know how good a top-down hero RTS can look. Now apply a realistic physics engine, breakable environment, and a much wider variety of environments to travel and fight in. That’s about D3. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the instanced dungeons that are different every time. If you punch a zombie with the Monk’s lightning fist, it will get electrocuted and become charred. If you kill it with the final, explosive blow, its limbs will go flying off in random directions. Even long-dead corpses are still affected by the force of your local attacks. Diablo III is visually astounding. Plus you get to see the weapons and armor you equip, so you feel a little more in-touch with your character.
I do believe the foes you face deserve a good mention as well. Initially, you fight to spare the small village of Tristram from a grisly, undead related fate. You face off against standard zombies, larger ones that fight you whole then with only their upper half, female zombies that puke on the ground, spawning new zombies… Oh, and giant abominations that explode when they die, spawning hordes of corpse worms. When you enter the crypts, you start to notice swarming specters, gravediggers with knockback, carrion bats with electrical attacks, imps, maybe even special versions of these with a fear, teleport, or push ability. Rare gear awaits those who strike down the powerful.
In regards to negative aspects, I only have a few projected concerns. I’m hoping that it is possible to complete this game without needing to team up with other players. I’m a bit of a soloist when it comes to games like this. Secondly, I’m hoping that the EXP requirements do not force the game into a grindfest, as they seem to grow notably with every advancement. Finally, relating to the first concern, the bosses. I fought the Skeleton King, and it took forever. The guy had loads of HP. What will the last boss be like…? I’m very worried. Can I do it alone? Could you? We’ll find out. After all, this is just a preliminary look at Diablo III.