Diablo 3: Need I say more?
Diablo 2 was a pretty frickin’ awesome game. I’m just gonna put that one out there before I go any further. Diablo 2 climbed the Mount Olympus of PC gaming, beat the crap out of Zeus, and pronounced Blizzard ruler of all awesomeness forever and ever, amen. And that certainly hasn’t changed. Diablo 2 rocked the world with its algorithmically generated dungeons, amazing abilities, cool music, rich storyline and voice acting, fluid combat system, gratuitous violence, and visually stunning environments (for that day and age). I mean, jeez, how many more qualities of gaming are there? Oh noes, it doesn’t have Wii-motion technology. Suck it up, Nintendo-philes! D2 was the pinnacle of gaming for its time, and I bought it at a very developmental time in my life (around 5th grade or so). So, this game holds a very special place in my heart. My time hearing the words “Stay awhile and listen!” over and over and over were well spent.
But okay, guys: I got a beta invite to Diablo 3. When I found out they were making a 3rd Diablo game, I leapt for joy. Pretty much. Maybe not actual leaping, but there was some definite freaking out. I began following the lore religiously, watching as each new development came out, got a desktop background, scrolled through pages of fanart, and adopted a chihuahua and named him “Baal, Lord of Destruction.” That’s how excited I was. Now, of course, school started and I was dragged kicking and screaming back to reality, so I completely stopped following any of the hype, because Blizzard hadn’t put out a release date. And then Blizzard put out a release date, and I got a beta invite. And now, without knowing anything knowing anything about the actual gameplay, I delved into the awesomeness that is Diablo 3.
A note to my 3 dedicated readers: this is indeed the first time I’ve talked about a new game on here. But I think that this is a worthy game to spend my blog on, because it may actually blow Diablo 2 out of the water. I mean… it’s all the awesomeness of the previous games, with the graphics, improved data capabilities, and extra goodies that Blizzard has developed in the past 10 years. And when all of powers combine? It’s a helluva lot better than Captain Planet. I will definitively say that Diablo 3 may yet be the best game Blizzard has released. That includes World of Warcraft. (And Lost Vikings, for all you people who love Super Nintendo.) This game has all of the qualities that made Diablo 2 good, but the developers learned from and expanded on what they knew previously, and have taken the game to new heights (which, incidentally, I will be experiencing in their fullest in less than a month! Hooray!).
First thing’s first: the thing you’re going to be doing most in D3 is killing stuff. Let’s face it, if you didn’t like killing digital demons, you wouldn’t give this game a second look. But man, have they made killing things even more fun than it was before. The combat system has been redefined completely! If you didn’t play Diablo 2, you had 2 attacks, a left and a right-click. You could cycle between attacks with the different Function keys, but still, it became a bit klunky as you got further along. This has been altered significantly. You set abilities to right and left-click, but they’re more multipurpose now, and you can’t switch as easily between abilities as you could previously, which changes the feel from “multitasking and pressing the right F-key” to “hunkering down and working with what you’ve got.” That’s always fun. Then, they added extra cooldown abilities, which you can use at no cost every 10 seconds or so. That gives you variety, and an extra little boost in a tight spot. Not to mention, the potions system in Diablo 2 was abysmally awkward as you progressed in the game. So Blizzard has improved every aspect of the combat system that was lacking. Hooray for them!
Next is the actual plot of the game. Diablo (and Diablo 2) were both very hero-centric, in that you were the dude doing all the work. You had hired help sometimes, but it was basically “Go here, kill a whole bunch of things, and that big bad boss guy who is waiting at the end.” There’s not much in the way of events or gauntlets or real puzzles or such things. There aren’t special happenings that you feel like you’re a part of, but not necessarily the MAIN part. Diablo 3 is chock full of such things. You run into people that you have to save, you help people out, there are quite a few smaller quests that lend themselves to completion in one sitting (whereas in Diablo 2, you could be at that frickin’ Horadric Cube quest for, say, two weeks?). It’s much more satisfying to play, because you have those huge, epic quests TOO! Best of both worlds.
So I’m gushing a little bit. But this game really shows promise, and I think I’m being objective about it, separate from the raving fan that I am. I’ve been waiting a long time, and I think that the fact that it actually is living up to my (albeit unrealistic) expectations is sign enough that it’s a good game. But if you’re reading this, and you’ve played Diablo, you might be thinking, “This game sounds nothing like the Diablo I know.” Well, speaking truthfully, I thought that myself when I began playing. It seems to be strangely disconnected from the cult-inspiring awesomeness of D2. The combat and talent system seemed too different, too linear. And there were other things, down to the very fact that the place you begin, “New Tristram,” bears not even the slightest resemblance to the post-apocalyptic, undead-infested city of Diablo 2. But I will confess, I reevaluated my opinion after playing for a while, because there are too many nods of the head and tips of the hat to the oldies but goodies to start protesting its differences. It’s got a lot of the characteristics of the old Diablo in it, but it’s been remade into something better. I feel like there’s a good analogy that’s supposed to fit here, but I can’t for the life of me think of it. Plastic surgery?
Regardless of your opinion of the lovingly renamed World of Warcrack, Diablo is and will always be a bloody and cathartic piece of work that we can all love and enjoy (if you don’t have a thing against zombies). For the gamers in the audience: What did you love about Diablo/Diablo 2? Did you play the beta? Are you going to buy the game? Am I crazy enough to be institutionalized? It’s okay, I can take criticism, whether if it’s about blogging or my mental competency.
I will leave you with this fantastic and artistically created music video, sung (or spoken rhythmically) by David Gough, the voice of the lovable Deckard Cain, omnipresent through all 3 games. Enjoy.