17 May 2012

Diablo 3 - Act 1 - Spoiler free review

So, I just completed the first act in Diablo 3. Noone who reads this here is going to buy or let go of the game just because of what I am going to write. Regardless, I enjoy reading other people's reviews so maybe others will enjoy my review as well. It also gives me a chance to practice my english writing skills again.

I did not play the Diablo 3 Beta on purpose so I would have a pure game experience when first playing the full game.

I installed the game at about on Monday, at 11 p.m., watched the very good intro cinematic and tried to log into the servers from 0 a.m. to 1:15 a.m., unsuccessfully. Dissapointed I went to bed. Who the hell thought it was a good idea to make this an online-only game? And then why reduce the amount of players per game and make a crappy chat system?Way to go, Blizzard!

 On Tuesday I was finally able to log into the game at about 4 p.m. I hadn't decided on a class until the very moment I was about to pick one. I chose the Demon Hunter. This decision was mainly influenced by playing the Warrior in Diablo 1 and the Druid in Diablo 2, only a couple of days ago. Both are melee classes (unless you play the Elemental Druid) so I thought it would be best to pick a ranged class.

The good thing is that the art-style in itself is well made. Eery trees in the night and a high amount of gore show an effort to make it a creepy game. But, it's just not like older Diablo-games. It's way too colorful to make one actually uncomfortable exploring the environment. Also, while the animations and effects are good as well, they just seem too big and too loud to be actually taken seriously.

Sometimes the skeletons or other monsters do a groan that doesn't fit them (again too comical). Other than that everything's fine. You can recognize many actions just by listening to them. Sound design and music have a nice (re)mix of old themes and new themes.

The story itself hasn't been epic but I admire all the little things Blizzard has done do improve it, compared to Diablo 1 and 2. Besided the high quality rendered cutscenes there are additional rendered cutscenes that look like paper drawings. I also appreciate the ingame cutscenes. Instead of listening to few, but endless monologues by the NPCs, the main protagonist now involves himself in conversations (even though at first, I didn't recognize where that additional voice came from). I also like that that are a lot of NPCs that talk to each other when you walk past them. The Followers that accompany you have some of my favorite dialogues, but it sucks that they repeat themselves too often. It's also very nice that you can find many lore books that are read out lout by different characters, without you needing to stop the action.

Level Design
At first it seems strange that all the roads are very narrow and often don't leave any room for exploration, but after a while you get to wider spaces. The segments aren't as big as in Diablo 2 but I actually think this is a good thing. In Diablo 2 I rarely wanted to explore any of it because it all looked so boring and generic. In Diablo 3 there is always something interesting to look at. Personally it motivated me a lot to explore every inch of every corner, and if I hadn't done that I would have missed many Lore Books and Events.

Quest Design
The quests go hand in hand with the storyline and the level design. Sometimes long term and short term goals are mixed but it is always clear why you do what you do. Sometimes there are random(?) Events you can participate in. You have to escort an NPC, do typical kill or collect quests, or defend specific points. It's much better than in Diablo 2 where you had a handful of main quests and not much variation inbetween them.

Character Build
Yes, I do miss the customization from Diablo 2 a little, but ONLY for customization's sake. There was something satisfactory about spending points in attributes or skills. But overall the system in Diablo 3 is a lot better. Now I don't have to worry about spending points the wrong way and I don't have to look up any guides. I can try out any sort of skill combination which makes the gameplay much better.

The Demon Hunter is very cool to play with. It's a good mix between dealing as much damage as possible while trying not to get hit at all. My favorite playstyle so far was to jump into the middle of the action, plant a couple of traps, jump out again and mow the shit out of the enemies. The rare and unique monsters are so much more fun to fight than in Diablo 2, mainly because it's so well balanced. Yes, it's a bit easy, but hey, I died two times in Act 1. It can only get harder from now on. The boss fights are really well made. Every boss has it's own bunch of skills and often the environment plays a role. having health globes to pick up instead of hoarding masses of potions is also a good idea.

The game feels a bit dumped down, especially when you think of the lack of scrolls to teleport and to identify. But then again, these features are still in the game. You just don't have to worry about it anymore. It wasn't fun anyway to forget to bring a TP with you. I played around with the artisans a bit. It's fun, but too early to say whether anything useful can come out of it.

It took me 9 hours to finish Act 1. I'm happy with the playtime and I'm looing forward to the rest of the game. Especially after beating the actboss and watching the second high quality cinematic.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the spoiler free review, i personally had to buy a new computer for this game which i am still waiting for so it was nice to be able to get some insight on the game without having the story spoild for me.