DM's Peek of the Week: Diablo 3 Console Edition

Hey folks, DM here! Hope you don't mind but I've gone about trying a new blog feature I like to call "Peek of the Week". While I would love to get back into reviewing on a constant basis, whether it be games, film or comics, I may be short-handed in regards to the time I have available to me. BUT, I definitely didn't want to come out empty handed for anyone who has enjoyed the nonsense I've written in the past so I've decided to at least once a week spotlight something of interest to me. It may be a popular video game I'm playing or a movie I just watched! Generally, if I write a comic review I'll toss it up as an official review but any general thoughts I have on this issue will be directed towards this blog feature...thing... So without further ado! DIABLO 3!

I'll start things off simple and what I think may address any thoughts regarding PC or recurring players. I have never played a Diablo game in my life so please forgive me if I sound like a complete fool over here trying to dissect this game. As a simple explanation for those unaware, Diablo 3 is an Action-Role playing game or "RPG" for short. It takes a top-down perspective but slightly more focused on the character in a similar vein to games like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. A main difference here for those who have played the PC version is the direct control of the character via the thumbstick as opposed to point and click control through mouse controls. As I've never played any of the previous games, I can't touch on the subject of comparisons and I feel it would be unwise and an ignorant act on my part as well.

In regards to RPG's, the gameplay and combat is relatively simplified and easy to jump into. The game offers the choice of five different classes to choose from: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, Monk and Wizard. Most of the classes are self explanatory and are all relatively unique in terms of play style. The Barbarian is your standard melee class, rushing in with large, two handed weapons and shields as well as being damage soakers. Demon Hunters are your standard recon or hunter class, relying specifically on ranged weaponry such as bows and even single or dual handed crossbows. Witch Doctors and Wizards are basically two sides of the same coin. One relies on darker magic such as Necromancy and utilizing plagues to defeat their enemies while Wizards manipulate more traditional magics such as primal nature forces, arcane magic and time manipulation to their advantage. Monks are the spiritual warriors of the Light utilizing martial arts and Holy energy and weaponry to aid them.

As with every RPG, loot and gear drops are the most gratifying part of the experience. While you can purchase new armour or weapons from local store merchants, nothing ever beats the drops you get from epic dungeon crawls or defeating more powerful foes. Each class has their own unique gear and while you may pick up something you cannot equip, you can just as easily sell it to a merchant to rack up the gold and save for some better gear yourself. Alongside an epic loot system is a fine-tooled skill system. On the console versions, as you level up and unlock new skill trees, you can map a specific skill to a face button on the gamepad. The adaption from a more robust system on PC's onto consoles works brilliantly and is simplified but still deep enough to not seem like a tossed off experience. The skills are specified by categories or action slots: Primary, Secondary and 1 through 4( change dependant on the class you choose). Alongside a set of skills, you can unlock subset upgrades that help improve those skills as you utilize them more often to help you become more prominent with your character. An example may be a primary attack for my Demon Hunter is launching a barrage of rapid fire arrows and my subset skill allows me to recover Hatred(energy utilized for action attacks) at a larger rate per every kill. This extends differently to the different skills and classes of course and provides plenty of replay value and discovery.

Now as I've mentioned, I have never played a Diablo game prior the third so I have absolutely no idea what the main story is about or if it intertwines with previous games. With that said though, despite digging occasionally into past lore, it feels like a fresh start and an easy way for newcomers to jump on without feeling largely intimidated. From what I've played so far, the story largely focuses around an ancient power reawakening and summoning the undead and demons to plague the world of Sanctuary. At the beginning of the game, a mysterious blue star falls into a church, absolutely scorching everything around it and falling deep into the foundations. As the games hero, you show in up in the town of New Tristram and from there on try to discover the cause of the recent events. I would love to dive deeper into the story but I haven't played enough to properly assess the plot nor am I really knowledgeable with the franchise's lore.

A subject I'd really rather avoid but I guess I'll touch on slightly regardless of my thoughts that it carries very little importance is the visual and audio design. Artistically, the game is impressive with finely illustrated cutscenes that unfortunately don't appear too often and the game instead depends on casual in-game conversations from the standard gameplay view to detail minor events. Technically, the game seems to be on-par with current gen RPG's of a similar stature. The framerate is quite easily the most impressive part of the technical design. There is rarely, if ever, a hiccup in the frame rate and it remains smooth almost throughout my entire experience. The audio design on the other hand left more to be desired. The soundtrack really isn't anything impressive and you won't hear anyone boasting about a specific track anytime soon. The voice acting is acceptable but there really aren't any stand-out performances and honestly, the dialogue is the last thing you'll care about considering it's rather dull and so far, only remains to push the story and quests further along.

You won't really see yourself caring for any one character in particular but another interesting addition of Diablo 3 is the choice to ally yourself with a companion. So far, I've only two different characters that I could choose between to aid me on my quests. A templar and a thief. From what I've seen, you kind of just meet them along the main quests and have the option to ally yourself with them or send them back to the main town and switch between companions if you ever wish to. These allies will never permanently die in battle though. They may go down briefly but are reviewed after a short period of time after the fighting is over. You have the choice of customizing these characters weapons if you so choose to, but it is a limited process in comparison to your own character.

All in all, I'm enjoying Diablo 3 a lot more than I thought I would. Despite some troubles with the audio design and a lack of ambition on the story front, the gameplay is the stand-out as are the addictive dungeon crawls and plentiful weapon drops! If anyone is craving a rich combat experience, then I can't recommend Diablo 3 more! Give it a shot!

18 Comments
18 Comments
Posted by laflux

As someone who has the game albeit for PC, I'm glad you like it. Great Video Game review as always =D.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@laflux: Thanks for reading dude, I appreciate it a lot especially coming from a (assumingly) Diablo fan! Hopefully I didn't butcher the basis of the game :P

Posted by Lvenger

This was a succinctly well explained review mate. You gave the basics of Diablo 3 brilliantly and explain your personal take on the features of the game nicely. Well done on a good review my friend!

Posted by lykopis

I know of the Diablo franchise, watched others play it but never played it myself but I will dabble for the sake of dabbling now that you have me all curious with your great review.

As for your "Peek of the Week" initiative, about bloody time. There's a small group of people who I enjoy reading articles of, no matter the content, and you are among them. I will be monitoring you weekly to ensure this becomes permanent and properly implemented time-wise.

Comic Vine has been deprived of you for far too long, bucko.

Edited by laflux

@deranged_midget said:

@laflux: Thanks for reading dude, I appreciate it a lot especially coming from a (assumingly) Diablo fan! Hopefully I didn't butcher the basis of the game :P

Nah. Now when people are like, have you played Diablo 3, I can be like all hipster like. Oh, and have you tried a game called the binding of Isaac? I think you would enjoy it, based on how you've reacted to Diablo.

Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek

Might pick it up. Always liked hack n' slash games.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@laflux: I've heard of it yes! It's on Steam right? I'll probably give it a go one of these days and perhaps toss up my thoughts. Thanks for the recommendation dude! ;)

@lvenger said:

This was a succinctly well explained review mate. You gave the basics of Diablo 3 brilliantly and explain your personal take on the features of the game nicely. Well done on a good review my friend!

Thanks duder! That means a lot considering the fantastic reviews and blogs you've tossed up recently! :)

@lykopis said:

I know of the Diablo franchise, watched others play it but never played it myself but I will dabble for the sake of dabbling now that you have me all curious with your great review.

As for your "Peek of the Week" initiative, about bloody time. There's a small group of people who I enjoy reading articles of, no matter the content, and you are among them. I will be monitoring you weekly to ensure this becomes permanent and properly implemented time-wise.

Comic Vine has been deprived of you for far too long, bucko.

Dat approval! Thank you very much! I'm glad that my babbling has perhaps piqued your curiosity enough to give the game a go. Again, thank you for the very kind words! :)

Posted by Deranged Midget

Might pick it up. Always liked hack n' slash games.

Well, it's kind of a hack and slash but it's not. The closest comparison I can give that I've personally had a lot of experience with is Marvel Ultimate Alliance. The combat is one of the largest focuses of the game but compared to something like Darksiders 2, the basic glance doesn't do it justice nor does it make for a fair comparison.

Posted by DecoyElite

Very nice review, covered all your bases here, except isn't multi a thing in this?

Posted by Deranged Midget

Very nice review, covered all your bases here, except isn't multi a thing in this?

Multiplayer? No to my knowledge no. All I've seen is that up to three additional players can join your game and play through the campaign with you or do general quests.

Posted by Lvenger

@deranged_midget: Oh come off it, I felt my latest Unchained review lacked a suitable dissection of Lee's artwork for the issue. I had to focus on the Wraith punting Superman sequence to dissect it. But you cover the graphical and audio content of the game well which is a good quality in a game reviewer.

Posted by DecoyElite

@decoyelite said:

Very nice review, covered all your bases here, except isn't multi a thing in this?

Multiplayer? No to my knowledge no. All I've seen is that up to three additional players can join your game and play through the campaign with you or do general quests.

Huh the commercials make it look like this game had a bit of mutliplayer focus. Good to know, thanks.

Posted by Deranged Midget

Huh the commercials make it look like this game had a bit of mutliplayer focus. Good to know, thanks.

Yeah, it's really just a cooperative experience. Glad I could help though!

@lvenger said:

Oh come off it, I felt my latest Unchained review lacked a suitable dissection of Lee's artwork for the issue. I had to focus on the Wraith punting Superman sequence to dissect it. But you cover the graphical and audio content of the game well which is a good quality in a game reviewer.

Eh, I largely ignored the graphical and audio content here compared to most of my reviews but thanks mate, I appreciate it. But look at it this way, just another area to continually improve on for you!

Edited by Samimista

@deranged_midget: Great blog big bro! =D I haven't played Diablo 3. =O Tis very well written! Are you gonna do more reviews?

Posted by Deranged Midget

@samimista: Haha thanks Sammi! Well, I'm hoping to make this Peek of the Week thing a regular thing and I'll try to write about something at least once a week.

Posted by Samimista

@deranged_midget: Your welcome! Make sure you don't work yourself too hard though. =O Always best to go at your own pace!

Posted by God_Spawn

The f*ck is this? You made a blog.....without ME!?

Moderator
Posted by Deranged Midget