Diablo III Beta mini-review

30 04 2012

Will Diablo 3 live up to old-skewl Diablo fans expectations and welcome new players to the Diablo gaming franchise?

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BACKGROUND

Back in ’96, yeah, way back then, I fell in love with an impressive looking dungeon crawler/RPG game with a rather dark and malefic name of “Diablo.” From the first ominous game cutscene to the epic final boss fight of Diablo himself I was completely spellbound by the game. Diablo II arrived a few years later in 2000 and continued its undying grasp on me by improving the game play and storyline.

For close to eleven odd years I have waited for another rendition of the game to be developed bringing it with it up-to-date, modern improvements in graphics, gameplay, experience and storyline. On May 15, 2012 new and old Diablo fans will finally get to sink their claws into Diablo III.

Based on playing the Diablo III Beta here’s a glimpse of what new and old Diablo fans can expect…

GRAPHICS

Probably the most significant change to Diablo III is the updated graphics engine. The game still uses a top down 45-degree angle view but now uses a modern 3D engine to dramatically improve the games backdrop, interactive-environment, characters detail along with their gear and fighting effects.

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One part I really enjoyed about the new graphics capabilities was the inclusion of a  interactive-destructible environment and damage effects. Buildings, walls and other in-game items can be used and destroyed depending on what the player is doing, using and types of spells or damage output they are generating. All I can say it’s really fun to see some mobs being destroyed and body parts go flying all around the screen.

SOUND

The music scores and ambient sound effects and dialog are as immersive and impressive as ever. Blizzard has done a fine job updating theme music and ambient sounds which will bewitch the player and transport them deep into the world of Sanctuary where old Diablo fans can call home again.

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GAMEPLAY

Diablo III stays pretty true to the past in keeping with easy and simple one mouse control playability. The UI is exceptionally familiar to old-school players while new Diablo’ers will find it very easy and quick to pick up.

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The leveling and skill system has been completly revamped and streamlined. In my opinion this is a welcome change from past Diablo games where if your characters particular build did not turn out how you were expecting it to you were pretty much stuck with it /frown or had to create a new character from scratch all over again. The new skill system does provide you with a little hand-holding in the beginning but you have complete control or what skill-sets you want to use at any given time and can change them at any point too, which is a huge welcome for this Diablo-geek.

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One aspect of Diablo III I will be exceptionally intrigued to use is the inclusion of a  “real money” in-game auction house where players can sell and buy in game goods and wares using their hard earned dollars. I remember back in the day playing Diablo II and finding out all kinds of upgraded gear on ebay I could bid on for my character and some items/gear selling in upwards of several hundreds of dollars! So this will be very interesting to see how this evolves. Can you say hello to “Bank of Diablo.” Of course you can still use in game gold you accuired to purchase wares also just like in the past as well.

Yea yea, soo what Charters are the best to play in Diablo III? Well, I played all of the characters in the Beta: Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Witch Doctor and Demon Hunter. And the absolute best character which totally kicks-ass and I enjoyed the most is…

All of them if you can believe it. Pfft I know right? I normally lean towards a strong melee class but I had a blast playing them all. Blizzard has done a remarkable job in making it rather difficult for me to unanimously have me easily pick one character over the others. They all have very unique talents and skills in allowing you to crushing your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamination of your girl/boyfriend asking if you’re finally done playing now? I will most likely level all the classes since they were all a blast to play and level.

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I didn’t play to much in multiplayer only but just a few levels with one other player on one of my characters. It was easy to group and up and one change/aspect of multiplayer I really really liked was all the loot which drops from mobs, chests is yours and your alone, nice. You don’t have to fight with other players on loot drops anymore, you can still trade if someone loots something that would better suit the other player/character as well.

GAME PERFORMANCE

I played Diablo III Beta on an iMac with a 3.4GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM and a AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB graphics. Game play was very smooth overall, around 60-FPS and load/transition screens taking only a few seconds. Since this was only the Beta i’m sure game performance will only increase when the final “optimized” version is released.

FINAL THOUGHTS

For most all die-hard fans of the Diablo franchise and newcomers to Diablo III will find it’s a game well worth waiting for. It will bring back all the fun evil dark memories of past Diablo games and should have no problems creating new insidious yet exceptionally fond experiences for the foreseeable Diablo future.

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