It’s time for another piece of my Diablo 3 review, now that I’ve had more than a single day to take it all in. It’s a game that takes months, not days to really understand, and as such, you’ll probably be seeing these journal reviews for some time to come.
It’s been about ten days since the game was released, and in that time I’ve put in (oh god) about 55 hours across two characters. I have a level 51 Barbarian that I used only to quest with a very specific friend with a similarly powerful Wizard, and a level 27 Witch Doctor that I play whenever I feel like. Which is increasingly often.
If you can’t tell by my current play time, the game is addicting. Impossibly so. Even when I’m not playing, builds and item drops race through my head. I’ve been able to keep a balance in my life despite this fact (hooray gym and girlfriend), but yeah, it’s pretty bad.
I suppose since I’ve now beaten the game about three total times, it’s worth mentioning that yes, there is some vague semblance of a plot. Unfortunately, it’s about the worst excuse for a story I’ve ever seen in a game as it kills off major characters left and right without so much as a head nod in their direction, and the dialogue is some of the most inane I’ve heard since I was a bad enough dude to rescue the President.
It’s a little strange to play a game with such an absolutely horrific story. Over the past decade since Diablo 2, we’ve gotten used to games getting better and better at storytelling. Mass Effect, Red Dead, hell, even Prototype had a more well scripted plot than Diablo, where you’re constantly racing off to get betrayed by every new character you meet or fight the deadly “Evil Sin Lord of Ultimate Chaos and Devastation” or whatever other goofy name they’ve come up with for the bosses.
But whatever, plot isn’t what Diablo is about. Yes, it’s astonishingly bad, but if gameplay works, it shouldn’t matter. And it doesn’t.
The reason I’ve put so many hours in at this point is that it’s just plain fun. There’s nothing like finding that new item that makes you just a little more powerful, or unlocking a new rune to make your favorite skill even cooler.
It’s also the most fun co-operative game I’ve played in a long while. At first it seems like teamwork isn’t really necessary, as through Normal and Nightmare difficulties, spamming any decent move with good gear is enough to kill everything. But now that I’m in hell? Fighting off waller-molen-vortex minions requires a great deal more strategy.
Wizards: Sorceresses with lasers.
Hell seems to be about the right level of challenging, but I’m growing sort of bored of my Barbarian. In higher difficulty levels, the Barb serves only to be a tank, and nothing else. Switching to a damage per second build will get you killed in a hurry, and no one has really figured out a way to build the Barb effectively other than as a giant tank. As such, I take a ton of hits while my wizard friend smites enemies from afar, and we do alright.
The Witch Doctor is a blast so far. He seems a bit overpowered in Normal as he has a movie that quintuples his damage, and even without that his fiery bats practically one-shot everything. But as I’ve learned, the game gets much, much harder.
There’s a lot of debate right now but the hyped “Inferno Mode,” which is Blizzards ultimate test (though some would say f-u) to gamers. It’s a mode that’s so difficult, people are calling it broken. Even the regular monsters can kill you in one-hit if you’re not careful, and the only people who have been able to beat it have used Wizard or Demon Hunter rune exploits that Blizzard is scrambling to patch.
Why is it so hard? Well, the level cap is 60, and that happens about some time in Hell. After that, your character getting better is entirely reliant on items alone, either those that drop or ones purchased from the auction house. Many are saying that no one can beat Inferno because the game is so new, all the best items simply haven’t dropped yet. Others respond to that by saying it doesn’t matter, even sacrificing 100% of your damage to give yourself 30,000 more health would simply allow you to be killed in two hits, not one, and that seems like an idiotic system.
You’ll be seeing this every two minutes.
Some of the combinations of “elite” minions just seem downright silly. Encountering a mob that walls you in, shoots mortar fireballs at you, sets the ground on fire with unholy magic, and freezes you in place is quite simply not possible to beat. The right combination of attributes results in simply unkillable enemies. I read a good quote relating to this that said “making something difficult is hard, making something impossible is easy.” It seems to jive with Blizzard’s creation of Inferno, as they’ve said “We made a mode that challenged our best players to the limits, and then we doubled the difficulty.” How was that a good idea?