Diablo 3 (PC) Review

diablo 3 box art
Review by
Score: 80
Published by: Blizzard Entertainment
Developed by: Blizzard Entertainment

Game Features:

  • 1-4 Players
  • Co-op (4 Players)
  • PVP (Release shortly after launch)
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D3 System Requirements

Minimum:

  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • CPU- Intel Pentium D 2.8GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
  • Memory- 1GB (1.5 GB for Vista and 7)
  • HDD Space- 12 GB free space
  • Graphics Hardware- NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT 256 MB or Ati Radeon X1950 Pro 256 MB
  • Sound hardware- 100% Direct X 9.0c compliant card
  • Network- Internet required for Activation, Single and multiplayer.

Recommended:

  • CPU- Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+
  • Memory- 4GB
  • HDD Space- 12 GB free space
  • Graphics Card- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 896 MB or Ati Radeon HD 4870 512 MB
  • Sound hardware- 100% Direct X 9.0c compliant card
  • Network- Internet required for Activation, Single and multiplayer.

Mac minimum:

  • Operating system- Mac OS X 10.6.8/10.7.x or newer
  • CPU- Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory- 2 GB
  • HDD space- 12 GB of free space
  • Graphics Hardware- NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600 or better
  • Network- Internet required for Activation, Single and multiplayer.

Mac Recommended:

  • Operating system- Mac OS X 10.7.x or newer
  • CPU- Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory- 2 GB
  • HDD space- 12 GB of free space
  • Graphics Hardware- NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M or ATI Radeon HD 4670 or better
  • Network- Internet required for Activation, Single and multiplayer.

Stay a while and listen! Classic words every fan of the Diablo franchise has heard. It has been 12-years Diablo 3 has been in the making. If you have played through the other two Diablo games or if this is your first go with the dungeon crawler that revolutionized the gaming industry you will be in for a treat.  My first go around with the franchise started when I first fired up Diablo 2. I logged endless hours slaying monsters, exploring dungeons, killing the three Prime Evils and of course the infamous Cow level “don’t kill the cow… king…” ahh the memories. It feels like only yesterday I was running around with my Amazon slaughtering all that stood before me and collecting the riches that followed. Come with me as I lunge back into the world of Sanctuary to see what Diablo 3 has in store.

The game begins with a blue meteor falling through the Tristram cathedral. The town of Tristram has been front and center of all three games in the series. The story began when Diablo possessed the first king Leoric. The hero defeated Diablo by driving Diablo’s soul stone into his forehead essentially absorbing his essence. Upon arriving back to the town of Tristram the hero lost control of the power he absorbed and started to unleash hell on earth. Once free, Diablo started to free his brothers, Mephisto and Baal. After these three terrors were defeated there was finally peace on Sanctuary. It is up to the player to figure out what the blue meteor is and stop whatever monsters and demons are unleashed.

In Diablo 3, the player is able to pick and play through the game as 5 different characters: Barbarian, Monk, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor and Wizard. These character’s all have different looks, abilities and features. To start, the player must select a character. From that point the character design is very basic. I have to admit, the lack of character customization in regards to facial features, body type and accessories is disappointing. In the end, the gear covers all of your selections and the camera is locked in a top down view so it is very tough to view these features in game. At level 10, a player now has the option of making their character a hardcore character. Hardcore mode gives the player the added challenge of having your character killed off permanently, but the reward for playing hardcore is the loot is even rarer and it provides a player with some bragging rights.

The game play in Diablo 3 is fairly simple. Point and click to where you want to move. Your attacks are bound to Left and Right mouse buttons as well as 1, 2,3,4,5 with Q being the macro for potions. There is an option to change key bindings if this does not work for you. Anyone familiar with the series will have no issues navigating and slaying with ease. For players that are new to the series the controls are easy to learn and even easier to master. Loot pick up is also easy.  All you do is click the name bar when the item drops on the ground or in the case of gold and health orbs all you do is run over them to collect them. The game has removed mana potions and health potions are on a 1-minute cool down. This is great for those players who go through full rejuvenation potions like candy. The only character in the game to use mana is the Witch Doctor. Wizards use arcane power, Barbarians build rage, Monks use spirit and Demon Hunters are very unique. They have a split orb, one for hatred and one for discipline. All these sources of power regenerate automatically and regeneration can be enhanced by gear as well as runes on abilities.

This game can be played solo or up to 3 friends.  This number is down from Diablo 2 where it was able to support 8 players at a time. Diablo 3 is only accessible with an online connection through Battle.net. As you add more players to the game a classic message comes up “Another champion has joined the game and the minions of hell grow stronger.” Not only do enemies get harder but, more rare monsters are in the world, and this is where the game shines. The great part about the loot distribution system is every player gets their own loot and gold drops. What that means is you do not have to worry about having some random person pick up that set item or rare item you have been waiting for. If it drops for you then it is yours. The game also offers an in game trading option. If by chance your Demon Hunter ends up with a two-handed sword but your Barbarian ends up with a couple Crossbows you can always trade weapons.

Building your characters abilities and powers has never been easier. In Diablo 2 and in most RPGs they require you to put points into different stats. Diablo 2 never let you change those stats once a point was inputted.  Diablo 3 does this all for you and gives you options. At certain levels you unlock more abilities and powers. On top of those abilities you unlock runes. These runes can alter what a spell or ability does. This means you can have two of the same characters in the room, using the same abilities but with different rune powers. Meaning the attacks can look and do different things. Someone may like a character to be more defensive, or to be more of a healer type, these runes allow for that. This allows for literally thousands of different combinations at your choosing while running around the world. Eliminating the need to visit someone to change or spend hard earned gold to fix wasted talent points!

If you are looking for an intelligent, responsive AI, this is an area where the game lacks a bit.  This being said, the game does a great job producing massive amounts of monsters. The AI enemies can be extremely easy to more challenging depending on the game difficulty and how many you are fighting at once. Some enemies have auras that can affect an entire group. Things like teleportation, electricity, fear and faster movement are just some of the things you can expect. Some cool things you can expect when fighting the AI or exploring dungeons is monsters actually crawling up from holes or scaling walls. They do not just magically appear but rather you can actually see them move. The environment around you is destructible thanks to the implementation of the Havok engine. You are even able to gain bonus XP by using parts of the world to kill monsters. Nothing like dropping a chandelier on a pack of unsuspecting zombies! Another great feature that has been brought back is traps. Open a chest only to see it light on fire or have a fireball blazing out at you. Diablo 3 has plenty more surprises for traps; however, you will have to experience them for yourself to truly appreciate them.

If using items you find in the world is not your thing that is not a big deal. Fortunately, you can craft items from the town. Currently, there are two merchants. One is a Blacksmith and the other is a Jeweler. The Blacksmith allows you to craft armor and weapons. The Jeweler will socket items, remove gems and upgrade the quality of gems you find in the world. Both of these vendors can be upgraded.

Another addition to the game is amalgamating your stash among all of your characters. In Diablo 2 players would create “Mules”.  They are level 1 character’s designed to hold all the loot that is found. Diablo 3 has changed that. The stash where you can store armor, weapons, gems and gold is now shared.  If you start a new character, that character not only gets access to your first character’s gold but it gets access to this stash. This makes it easier to keep lower level items that would be useful for a second character. The alternate character’s also have access to your artisan skills. This means you only have to level them once. This is a great feature for lazy players like me who do not want to level trades every single time.

Once you have gone through the game and collected all different kinds of items, you can then make your way to the auction house. Here you can buy or sell items using in game gold.   You can also sell or buy items with real money using what is called the Battle.net balance. You have an account, much like PayPal but strictly for Battle.net. You can use this money to buy games and other merchandise directly from the Blizzard store.

Visually, this game looks stunning even while running it on low settings. Leaving the world dark and mysterious and not knowing what lurks around the corner adds to the suspense of the game. During daytime the grass, trees and water look great. Blizzard has done a great job of really immersing the player into the world with the games visuals. The character models are highly detailed. As you obtain or craft gear it changes the overall look of your character. Eventually dyeing the color of your gear is possible but until then, the game makes up for that by making sure your character does not look like it is in a clown suit.

The sounds and music in this game is top notch. The music instantly feels familiar and fills you with nostalgia. The games soundtrack manages to suck you into the world. Monsters moving, attacking and dying sounds are very crisp and clear.  Even the ambient noises are well done. The sound in this game does a great job of bringing the player into the world and adding more to the mystery of the game.

Granted, Diablo 3 launch day did not go quite as planned and was a bit of a fiasco. Server issues and connectivity problems plagued all 3 regions. I am sure Blizzard will, or may have already by the time this review is posted, resolved the issues; however, considering how long I have waited to play the game the last thing I wanted to do was stop playing because of server problems. In the end however, Diablo 3 is a great addition to the series.  The storyline is well-written and captivating. The game looks and sounds absolutely amazing and the countless hours players can spend exploring, collecting and achievement unlocking is endless.  While the lack of character customization and reduction in the amount of players you can have in a room is a bit of a let-down; the reality is Diablo pushes the series forward in the right direction.  I cannot wait to see you all in the world of Sanctuary!

 

  • prestone

    Why only an 80 after such a good and complimenting review?

    • Fifty16

      On our scale 50 is an average game.  80 can be anywhere from a pretty good to very good game.  It’s Merc’s review, if he wants to take some points off for issues he feels hurts the game that’s his perogative.

      • prestone

        Far enough, but then it makes his review not worth reading

        • prestone

          Should elaborate, expecially cause the only real negaitives I understand he had with it were a few sever bugs the first 2 days, whopty shit, it happens and it doesn’t effect the long time exp or playabiltiy of the game, it was a few hwrinkles that were quickly ironed out and shouldn’t be held against the final score of the game.

          • MRBIGCAT

            lack of character customization and reduction in the amount of players was also cause for concern for Merc.  We still should not minimize the server issues as people pay a lot of money for a game that should work day one.  No excuse IMO. Regardless, 8 is still a really good score.   

          • prestone

            Character customization reducing the score as well is pretty lame. 90% of games don’t have character customization, plus with the amount of armor upgrades and the ability to Dye your amour peices mixing and matching it kind of does have some customization to it, maybe he hadn’t got to the part of the campaign yet or wasn’t in the beta when he wrote the review as its not availible till the 2nd or 3rd Act.

            Mass Effect 3 doesn’t have character customization…. did it effect the score? Nether did/does Borderlands 1 and 2, it as well scored really good and I didn’t here of the lack of customization in ether one of those games.

            As for the sever issues, ya it sucked, but it was a few hours a day for 2 days, does everyone hate on XBOX Live when it crashed a few years ago? Yes, did it effect peoples overall lasting opinions of the xbox? NO…. lol

            I could totally understand if it lasted more the a few days, but it didn’t, and it only effected North America…. like I said before maybe the review was pushed out to fast before actually playing the game and giving it a chance.

            Yes your right 80 is still a good score, but not when everyone else is giving it a 90-95 it just means COGs, or atleast this review has no credibility to most and they will over look it and the rest.

            Fifty mentioned that the scoring system on COG is different from other sites…. why not have it the same? If its been working for years for everyone else, why try to change it and confuse everyone now? Wouldn’t be easier to use the same system as everyone else?

          • http://www.canadianonlinegamers.com MRBIGCAT

            D3 is averaging 88 on metacritic. So we are just below the average. I don’t see the problem here. At the end of the day, this is one reviewers opinion so take it for whats it worth. We are confident in our scoring scale and it is not something we take lightly. Fifty never said our scale was different but rather 50 is average and 80 pretty good. You can have a look at our scale on the about us page. We like to ensure we are not over-inflating scores and do everything we can to write honest, accurate, articulate, well written and professional reviews. You should really take a stab at reviewing a game for us sometime. Its not as easy as it looks :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507436483 Francesco Sabiti

             The game has been out for just over a week. Server lag issues, random disconnections and auction house problems still plague the system. Sure, in the long run they will be fixed and all will be wonderful. However, my score reflects where the game was and still is. The game is great, and will be even better once these bugs are worked out. But it still does not change the fact that my score reflects how I feel about it. Great game, just has some bugs to work out.

            Maybe im a hard ass when it comes to reviews. But, I have always believed in giving a fair assessment of a game. There are countless sites out there that review games and blow it out of proportion by over looking issues, be it major or minor.

  • MRBIGCAT

    80 is a very good score last time I checked!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507436483 Francesco Sabiti

    Although the review is complimenting I cannot let the launch day and server connectivity issues slide that easy. I know it will not effect the long run but the Beta for this game was almost 1 year. No excuses for what happened.

  • Banden

    Day1 – Bought game came home and found my DVD drive wasn’t recognizing the disk.  No problem, I’ll just download the client.  I try to login and realize that the android authenticator was no longer configured and I couldn’t find my passcode.  (Opened a ticket with Blizzard).  Went to bed.

    Day 2 – Still no response on ticket so call billing and account support.  After 30 minutes of guessing and testing button combinations because their auto-attendant was going crazy, finally managed to get in a wait queue… after 2 hours and 30 minutes I finally got through and got the token removed from my account.

    Day 3 – Agent.exe errors.  After plowing around for an hour and a half, found out there was a windows process that Diablo needed to update the installer file.  Finally able to download the client.  Finally got in and played for a couple hours!

    This experience has made it so that I want to take a giant red demon possessed crystal and ram it into my brain.

  • James Cutter

    Amazing game, Blizzard really out did themselves with this one. Graphics <3 Gameplay <3. And I absolutely love the class distinctions in this game. Much better than the first 2 games, about damn time this came out too! Kinda expensive though, I wish Blizzard would stop making their games so expensive! Luckily I got mine free at http://www.prizerebel.com/index.php?r=3693015 It's very simple all you have to do is complete a few offers and you can get it free, Have fun, and Good luck ;)