Diablo III: Ten Years in the Making, Soon to Arrive
For fans of the magical slash-fest hit Blizzard Entertainment’s star pupil, Diablo III is finally making its way onto gaming shelves in the first quarter of the New Year. Among the many differences in the franchise’s third outing is the fact that Diablo, himself, would appear to be absent, having met his demise in 2001’s Diablo II: Lord of Destruction at the hands of the dedicated and sleepless gamer. Alas; even demons have brothers: this time you will face the so-called Lesser Evils, Azmodan and Belial, in search for an item called the Black Soulstone.
Diablo III will feature an almost fully-interactive 3D environment, and a host of new amendments intended to make gameplay run more smoothly than the previous two installments. New armor upgrades, skills, and abilities become even more intertwined with real-life due to the multiplayer gaming service Battle.net, where players without the time to upgrade a much-desired weapon can actually buy it – with real-world money – from another digital warrior. Thankfully, it is also possible to just keep the money in the virtual world, which is a relief for loyal fans and newcomers alike. One notable downside is that an internet connection is mandatory for activation of Diablo III; seemingly ending the days of countless hours of offline romping during periods of intermittent or nonexistent web-connection. Time will tell if this is a significant change to fans of the franchise.
While some fans will marvel at the richness in graphics, which are strongly reminiscent of the Olyoptic coloring technique employed by Image Comics to great effect (and success) in the late 90s, others will lament the noticeable departure from the dark, foreboding atmosphere of previous Diablo games, in which you never quite knew what you were looking at until it killed you. With the addition of cool new classes of warriors such as the magical witch-doctor, Diablo continues that likable tradition of character-class modification (the mighty Barbarian debuted in Diablo II to wide acclaim). Overall, it still manages to keep its dark theme at the forefront of the game’s attractiveness, with no drop-off in the physics engine used to render it (despite abandoning the Havoc engine used in Diablo II, in favor of one of their own design), and an attention to detail worthy of a 21st century game – if you look closely, you can see rats, critters, and other bugs running about harmlessly.Continued on the next page