Choose-your-own-Review: Diablo 3 (PC)
Written By Matt Sainsbury on Friday, June 8, 2012 | 12:03
C1: Have you played Diablo 1 or Diablo 2? If you have, and you loved their scaly demonic hides, go to Chapter 3. If you haven’t, or you were unconvinced of their awesomeness, turn to C2 instead.
C2: Are you an Angry Internet Person? If the idea of restrictive anti-piracy measures and nasty lag makes your blood boil, go to C5. If you are an oasis of Zen-like calm in the face of such horrors, go to C4.
Another fine distraction comes in the choice of characters. Each of the five playable classes has its own upgrade tree, and it’s essential to tinker around to find the best magic and weapon combination for your play style. The characters are beautifully realised, and they’re different enough to justify several replays of the main campaign. And there’s more. As the story progresses, you gain followers that can be upgraded in much same way. Your path will be sprinkled with challenge dungeons which offer rewards for defeating powerful monsters or reaching the exit before time runs out. There are environmental hazards to trap unsuspecting enemies. There's a hardcore mode for those who feel that death should be permanent. Finally, there’s a massive online component which means you’ll never feel lonely ever again. It's safe to say that Blizzard have taken the core game and stuffed it with so much additional stuff that the mountain of stuff is in danger of imploding under the weight of its own gravitational pull.
C4: If you're reading this, it's because you're new to the series or you're not convinced by the whole Blizzard mythology. Before you get too much further, give Chapter 3 a quick scan. Diablo is all of that. Compelling, addictive and slick. However, none of that changes the fact that it’s still an Action RPG. If you want intellectual stimulation or emotional engagement then you won't find it here. Instead, you’ll get a cynically Pavlovian grind that rewards progress with shiny things, leading to more progress and more shiny things, ad infinitum. This makes it hugely enjoyable, but there’s a vacuousness at its core that’s hard to ignore. This means that your personal Diablo 3 review ends with a creditable-but-not-perfect four stars. Now turn to Chapter 6.
C6: Congratulations! You now have your very own personalised Diablo 3 review. So what are we to make of it all? On one hand, we have an entertaining and feature-packed game that most people will love. On the other, the fundamental gameplayinternet issues to worry about. In the end, though, it’s all presented so very, very well. Diablo 3 may not be the groundbreaking title that its predecessors were, but I’d be willing to bet that anyone who forks out the steep asking price will find it fun for a while. And in the end, isn’t that what gaming is all about?
- Rob P
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