Diablo seems to be an appropriate name, if it is short for Diabolical. There as so many disappointing issues to this game that I feel like I just watched the end of the matrix trilogy again. I got Diablo 2 8 years ago when passing through the states and I LOVED every second of it and could forgive the occasional issue. This? Well Blizzard, we need to talk.
On launch night in American they had a total of 600 people playing, that then went up to 1000 and then the server failed. This is out of the THOUSANDS of Diablo fans who were eagerly awaiting this game for the last 10 years and pre-ordered it last year, much like myself. Unlike America we, in Ireland, did not get a midnight release. We get a midday release though (not quite, I was just late)! I got the collectors edition which, to be fair, is actually pretty damn awesome! It might possibly be the best collectors edition of anything that I have ever received! It contained a 208 page book of ALL the art from beginning to end, the soundtrack, a tiny Diablo skull and soulstone USB key which had Diablo 2 and Diablo 2 - Lord of Destruction on it but then to add to the woes of Blizzard they didn't make the USB key Mac compatible. In the new update for Mac they got rid of the ability to read certain Windows files which made that practically useless to me without hours of googling.
So upon my Midday purchase and 30 minutes to install my 15GB file I finally got my chance to try out the game! At this point I had been staying away from anything Diablo 3 related so I could forge my own opinion out of the wonderful clay they were about to present me. It turns out that the clay was actually an empty box. It turned out that the European servers were down. No matter, I'll try the American, surely they can't be.. oh.. Well, I may as well try the final server just in case. No luck. This is a problem. So I hit google like the rest of the world and found what can only be described as the fasted growing thread in the world. Pages upon pages of hate mail for Blizzard coming in by the second! Some made me laugh, some made me angry and most just made me sigh.
You're probably wondering why this is all important to the review of the game. This is important because it took me 4 hours to finally get in to a game and I got booted after 15 minutes due to server failures. Oh, did I mention this is for single player? Yes, Blizzard have made it so that you need a constant internet connection for Single Player Diablo. So I faced the same problem America had faced almost 18 hours before and apparently still were. Globally it was such a disastrous launch which may not seem important to some, but to those who waited years for this and had their hopes so high it was a heartbreaking experience.
Finally I managed to get in a few hours later and I did get a chance to play until I got somewhat bored of playing. The game starts out looking a little newer than Diablo 2 and slightly more advanced. Each character looks better and has His/Her own back story. Once you finally get in to playing it becomes a thing of just following the path before you, kind of like the predecessors to this game. It is a fine way to play, but I find that I am either unprepared to face the enemies before me or I am just not experienced enough by the time that I get there which makes it overly difficult to get through the game.
The overall story seems to be fine and I love the video sequences. They are done beautifully and are incredible to watch. I also do enjoy playing the game, don't get me wrong, but with all the hassle to get in game it just seemed a little anti-climactic by the time I finally got to play. I enjoy the story, seems quite Diablo-esqe and it certainly has a very similar soundtrack, which is awesome. When I am playing I certainly know that I am playing Diablo and not something else, which is good. But so far I haven't become emotionally invested in any of the characters, even the recurring ones, and I'm having trouble finding it to be worth it. There are points where I am walking through the game and suddenly an enemy will just be standing in my face due to some minor lag, which can get kind of annoying.
Perhaps when I get more of a chance to play it I will change my mind (in which case I will make it publicly known) but, for now, this game has really let me down. My expectations have been trampled on by my most anticipated game. I'm sad to see it happen, I was truly excited for this. It is hard to give this a high score, even though I really want to! It lost so many points just for needing an active connection to play single player. The server issues seemed stupid to me but I won't be taking points away for that as I don't think it will happen again when it is fixed, however it does lose points for needing the server at all for single player as that means I have spent a lot of money on a game that will inevitably expire once the server goes down. Blizzard, I truly hope things get better from here!
Update: Upon having a few hours to play the game without server issues and technical problems I must say that I do enjoy it. It feels more like Diablo and less like a waste of money. With the update in enemies and the fluid game play I do enjoy it. My only flaw now is the actual mouse controls. Sometimes I find myself trying to run away but stuck in a firefight with some enemies that I know I can't beat. Also, the single player needing internet constantly is driving me a little crazy! Beyond that I genuinely love this game. Good job Blizzard. Unfortunate that you had to have so much technical issues at the start but it's fine now. I'm moving the score from a 4 to an 8. I also apologise for rating the game based on the overall trouble, it was just a hugely frustrating flaw that ruined the overall game for me. Leaving that behind us I know this will be a worthy game!
Overall Score: 8/10
- Ken Seiler