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Activision Blizzard
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Release Date:
August 19, 2014

I still remember playing Diablo II into the wee hours of the morning. Playing with friends made the action last even longer and now, at long last, Diablo III has arrived. Yes, I’m aware it released last year for PC and we’ve had to wait a while for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One iterations. However, while I didn’t play the PC installment, I’m reading the same thing in most reviews: The latest entry is indeed the definitive edition, as we get exclusive social features, the Reaper of Souls expansion, and an excellent interface designed specifically for consoles.

At first, I thought the dark, foreboding atmosphere would turn me off. Such an atmosphere is effective and certainly makes sense in the Diablo universe, but I remember thinking: “Man, this is a little too dark and depressing…this'll get oppressive." However, the developers do a fantastic job of keeping me interested throughout. There’s stellar enemy design and wonderful special effects, and the various environments – while always exceedingly dark – are diverse and intriguing. Many are distinctly appealing in very bizarre ways… This is precisely how a dungeon-crawler should look, as far as I’m concerned.

Same goes for the audio, which, despite a minor balancing issue, is fantastic. Once again, the effects really shine and the soundtrack consists of carefully selected pieces that match the game’s style. This is a top-notch technical presentation that doesn’t suffer from a lack of identity. What I mean is, Diablo III knows exactly what it is: It’s the dungeon-crawler and as such, it’s all about the gameplay and the somewhat oppressive – yet oddly invigorating – atmosphere. So, it doesn’t try to be photorealistic; it simply gives us what all fans of the genre desire. We get a stable, impressive package that keeps its priorities straight.

What most surprised me when I started playing was the game’s pacing. This moves at a much faster clip than either of the previous two entries. However, as we’re talking about a freakin’ fifteen-year gap , I suppose I should’ve anticipated at least some streamlining and amping up of the game’s progression. Now, let me say for the record that I’m not a fan of making adventures – especially role-playing games – faster and flashier simply for the sake of speed. Yes, I know the populace has the average attention span of a gnat, so I have to suffer through the “faster and dumber” trend in all forms of entertainment.

That being said, I think Blizzard walks a fine line here. I wouldn’t say Diablo III is too fast, nor would I say it drags. You’ll be finding tons of loot and that’s always fun, and it’s nice to see your character progressing at a relatively rapid clip. Admittedly, it can be somewhat tedious when you’re playing a game that offers very little in the way of equipment, rewards, and ability. Adventures that require a ridiculous amount of playtime for a new weapon, for instance, aren’t my cup of tea. You won’t have that problem with this game, though; you’ll upgrade your character on a pleasantly frequent basis.

There’s a constant stream of baddies to take down and you just gotta keep killing. You can sort through the loot after you take down the opposition, which means there’s an appreciated pause between bloodbaths. You can sort through new loot with the d-pad, and you’ll receive temporary attribute boosts by killing certain enemies or destroying certain objects. The process of adventuring in Diablo III is fluid, refined and very entertaining, and you’re always looking for the next group of victims. With so many rewards in such a short span of time, you’re always interested in nabbing the next round of loot. Chances are, you’ll find something cool.