Hanners' Diablo III Review
1: Limited skill availability during combat.
2: The gear curve is horrible.
3: Weak storyline.
4: MANDATORY internet connection at all times. There is no single player.
5: Doesn't feel as immense as the previous two.
6: Minimal level randomization compared to its predecessors.
Let me just say first of all that limited skill availability isn't a bad thing. I guess. It makes it challenging.
However, you're basically stuck with whatever 6 skills (including your basic attack skill) you designate while you're in combat, even when you have a repertoire of over 50 different skills and modifications of skills that you should have been able to use. Overall disappointing. What makes it worse is that some of those 6 skills you want to keep on you will often get occupied by buffs, so you have even less room than you had previously for abilities you need to take out your enemies.
The skills themselves were wonderful. By the end of the game you could have one skill, but there were so many different ways to use it. One of my favorite examples was Arcane Orb for the Wizard. The orb could be a large area-of-effect spell that would decimate a group it hit. Or it could become a circle of mines that would hover around you, exploding when enemies got near you, it could become a piercing projectile that would damage everything it passed through. You could even expand its explosion radius if that was what you were into.
The sad part about all that customizability, is that you had to use only one rune for a skill at a time. You could not assign the same skill with a different rune to two separate skill slots either, which was also disappointing.
The next point I should address is the gear, as it is definitely one of the few positive aspects of the game. All of the armor in the game generally looks really good, for the most part your character will generally look really cool and every part the savior of the world of Diablo III through every difficulty. The detail put into each piece of armor is also notable, as they all look quite detailed and quite amazing. If the armor alone made every game great for me, I would've easily given Diablo III a high score. Alas, it was not to be.
Despite the variety of armor available, the weapons felt a bit lackluster in their appearance. The only thing that spruced up their looks were any elemental effects they may have had when you found them.
The last positive point I care to note would be the enemy interaction in the game. There are many different types of enemies that travel in packs in the game. A few to name would be the Fallen, and the Lacuni are mainly my favorites, though every type of enemy has something special about it usually. The Fallen in the game, much like in Diablo II, were quite annoying, as the little grunt soldiers of them would rush at you, run away from you, and generally make you go chasing down each one to kill it out of sheer frustration. To top off the wild goose chase of Fallen grunts, they would have a shaman in the group usually who would revive any of the slain ones. This would then make you go after the shamans first whenever you found a pack of Fallen. The other alternative to finding a shaman with a group of Fallen would be to finding the Fallen overlord-type guys. These guys were massive, and instead of being cowardly like the Fallen, they would rally all the other Fallen attack more often, and then would charge at you mercilessly, they become much more of a threat as you progress through the difficulties.
The Lacuni are cat-people, but they're none too friendly in the game. They hide under the sand, waiting for you to get close, and then surface. They become a huge threat to players later in the game due to their ability to leap at enemies or throw bombs at you if you're too far away. Either way, standing still is never really an option unless you have a lot of faith in your gear. You basically would have to find a new strategy against enemies in each Act you progressed through.
The last notable enemy that requires a brief introduction are the Phasebeasts. They would charge at you. Just as you thought you could blast them with a powerful ranged skill... they would teleport behind you. Literally the most annoying enemy in the whole game in my opinion.
I could go into explaining every enemy in the game, but I won't. There were a lot of variables with regard to how you needed to react to different enemies you found in order to dispatch them quickly. Of all the "positive" aspects of the game, the AI for the monsters was done pretty well; if the game had more substance to it I would probably have kept playing just for the challenge presented by the monsters.
The overall gameplay of the game was pretty great, forgiving a few of the smaller (or in my case, larger.) issues with its design. Movement was fluid, animations were beautiful. Skill activation in general worked pretty good. The problem came in when we involve the internet. I was running Diablo for the better half of my time playing it through a DSL internet service provider. My internet speed was about 5-7mpbs. Not too shabby, but it was slow enough to cause my game to get frequent latency spikes that ended up ruining the majority of my end-game experience. After switching ISPs, the game ran fine. By that time however I had already grown impatient with the game and generally no longer played. So unless you're running with new networking equipment and/or a cable internet connection, there isn't any reason to try playing Diablo III before then.
Now you might be thinking: "But Hanners, why don't I just play single-player while I wait for my ISP to get switched?" That's a good question. The answer to that question is, you don't. There IS no single-player. You're required to always be connected to the internet in order to play Diablo III, which means that even if you're playing the game by yourself you still can get latency. What a concept; latency in single-player. What will you think of next, Blizzard?
As far as Diablo games go, I spent more time playing the first and second ones than I ever will on Diablo III. Ever. I think it's a disappointing end to an otherwise memorable series. "Auction House Tycoon" would be a more appropriate moniker for it. Most of the friends I know who play it now only do it to make some quick cash and go buy other games with that cash. This is a mystery to me still, as I've found no real great way to make money other than grinding away the hours to get more gold. There really isn't anything interesting left in Diablo III, and I have no hope that their new patches will improve anything. I'm done buying Blizzard games after seeing this tripe.
As per the previous Diablo games, the storyline wasn't strong. But that was fine, because there was so much to do. In Diablo III, there's literally nothing to do when you hit the Inferno grind except... Well. Grind. Don't get me wrong, Diablo II had a grind as well, but the grind wasn't so much like using slot machines, and was more like hoarding up little things that would eventually get you what you wanted. You could collect the crappiest runes in the game and still make progress toward that epic set of armor. Diablo III threw that out the window.
Another element left floating in the breeze in Diablo III was the random level design that the majority of older fans of the series had grown fond of. The general design of the levels in Diablo III had little to no randomization in comparison. The location to your next area of your quest you were on was always in the same general direction, it was almost never switched to a different direction. So if you wanted to speed-run through an act in the game, you were easily able to without any additional searching most of the time. Despite Diablo III's interesting and beautiful backgrounds and scenery it quickly lost its luster. You steadily realized that it doesn't really change up much through the next difficulty, or the next one, or the one after that.
This really helped drive home the reason that made the game feel old for me fast. There was nothing that really made the game special to me any more, I didn't feel like I was progressing in the game after a certain point.
While I truly loved the gameplay, feel, and graphics of the game. Everything else (the important stuff called "content") left me feeling betrayed, or swindled. A wasted 60 dollars in my opinion. The player base is also considerably unhelpful and unfriendly for the most part. Unless you know people in real life who can help you out.
I've given the game its fair shake, I've pumped out a few hundred hours into it in hopes of finding my niche in it that would make me feel happy and productive like I did in Diablo II. It wasn't there, everything I liked was pretty much gone.
I stick by my previous statement, don't buy it. Find something more interesting to play with some substance, because this surely isn't it. Blizzard is getting beaten around by the same ugly stick EA has been using for the past few years; and in Diablo III, it shows.