Platform: PC (reviewed) | Mac
Diablo III is possibly the most and least ambitious game to have released in recent years. Following up the beloved, glorious and seminal dungeon crawler Diablo II was always going to be a tall order, and as the years marched on, our expectations swelled to potentially insurmountable levels. But the end result is superficially the same: yet another isometric click-heavy action game... this time with a controversial skill system and DRM sent from the bowels of hell itself. First impressions can be damning, and Diablo III's horrendous launch tainted our relationship with it from day one.
Look a little deeper, though, and you'll discover that Blizzard hasn't spent the last ten years sitting on their laurels. The new boss may look much the same as the old boss, but he's got a whole new way of doing business.
Upon choosing from one of five classes – the classic brawny Barbarian, tricksy trap-obsessed Demon Hunter, nuanced Monk, 'glass cannon' Wizard or riotously eccentric Witch Doctor – players are thrust into the final battle against the forces of hell. By which, of course, I mean delving through an isometric set of dungeons and overworld levels, clicking on enemies until they die, and grabbing their sweet phat lootz as your weak hero gradually evolves into a menacing powerhouse. It's a ruthlessly compelling formula that still feels relevant and aggravatingly compelling today, and it's absolutely intact. Though the pleasingly detailed new 3D graphics engine literally adds a new dimension to the visuals, and the powerful physics modelling delights in sending enemies and objects flying, a cursory examination reveals little in the way of truly new features. Diablo has always been a loot grinder, and Blizzard have ensured that the fundamentals are locked down nice and tight.
As mentioned, however, a cursory examination isn't enough. After a couple of hours, Diablo III shows its true colours, mainly thanks to some sensational new features running behind the scenes.Click here to read more...