Diablo 3 Review
Diablo 3's most controversial feature to date hasn't been the focus of the action or the cynical trickle of rewards though, but rather the integration of online features and auction houses into even a singleplayer game.
Those not in the know should be warned that it's impossible to play Diablo 3 without decent internet access which will let you connect to Blizzard's servers, even if you're playing the game solo. You need to log in to play and, as many have learned in the days following launch, if you can't log in, you can't play.
Oh, and there'll be no mods for Diablo 3 as a consequence of this, by the way.
When you have logged in, solo adventuring becomes possible, but at the same time it's not the ideal way to play the game. Instead, you'll need to venture into the co-operative modes to really see what Diablo 3 was designed to do, with lagless and action and constant arguments over tactics and loot. The latter may start on the battlefield, but they usually end in the auction house, where players can buy and sell all non-quest items. Trading is currently done for in-game gold, but Blizzard will be launching a real-money equivalent in the near future.
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Personally though, we prefer to put my surplus items to use elsewhere, usually by either having a craftsman in town break them down and use the components to make new items or by giving them to a follower in a singleplayer game.
These followers can't make use of all items though, nor should their presence be inferred to add much to Diablo 3's depth either. While they do have some dialogue to justify their presence, they're also notable for their lack of character. That shouldn't be surprising given Diablo 3's focus on constant battle and co-op games, but it bears reiterating: Diablo 3 is not Baldur's Gate II.
Aside from the auction house and online-requirements though, there are other controversies which have dogged Diablo 3 throughout the development - but the only one worth mentioning is in regard to the graphics. Fans have repeatedly worried that the look of the game is not gothic or gory given the traditional darkness of the series.
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Personally, we think there's enough blood and gore in Diablo 3's campaign to overcome most of those objections - our gripe with the polygons is more that the graphics aren't all that good. The camera feels claustrophobically close to the ground from the off, while dungeons are often marked by the same items seen over and over.
Diablo 3 compensates for the relative plainness of the backdrop through the physical interactions, it must be said. Chandeliers and walls can be collapsed onto enemies in some areas and scenery is regularly obliterated as you spam out special attacks against foes; but we still wish there was more variety and detail in the model set.
Really, we just wish there was something in Diablo 3 that justified the enormous wait and hype that's been built around it over the years. There isn't, though that doesn't make it a bad game - it is, in fact, quite a good game. It's playable and fun and exciting and interesting; it's taxing on hardcore mode, easy when played solo and designed to be played by groups of friends together. It's fun, even if it's not ground-breakingly so.