Diablo 3 (PS4) Review

Platforms: PC, Mac, PS4, PS3, XBox 360, XBox One

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Diablo 3 is the third installment in the Diablo franchise and it’s an Action RPG (role-playing game) dungeon crawler, one of the more popular titles in its genre. This game takes place (as does the first two games) in the world of Sanctuary. It was created for the Nephalem who are pretty much super beings (spawns of renegade angels and demons) who you play as. Anyway, let’s move onto the main part of the review!

Story

The game revolves around you (the Nephalem) who ends up fighting the demons of hell. There are 4 big bad bosses in each chapter that you have to kill (5 with the expansion) to proceed. In between these dudes you have to fight hundreds of “weaker” enemies and mini-bosses. The thing I didn’t like so much about this was that it eventually became very repetitive even as you play different characters.

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The way they tell the story is very nicely done, especially since you don’t have to read pages upon pages of text to understand what’s going on. If it were like that, I wouldn’t have finished the game (if I wanted to read a lot, I’d pick up a book instead!). However I couldn’t seem to forget the story of Leah’s (one of the main characters) struggle against Diablo (the fourth bad ass demon you fight).

During the second act, there were a few moments where I kinda dozed off a bit as I just generally found that act the least interesting (perhaps it was because it takes place in a desert and I associate deserts with being sort of plain). However this was offset by the enjoyment of ripping through multiple enemies.

Gameplay

Can be very fast pace and at time unforgiving if playing on a difficulty higher than your character can handle. There’s a wide variety of difficulty modes to suit the level/skill of any gamer (from casual to hardcore players). However when you first play the game, it’s so bloody easy. You only have a choice of 3 difficulties at the start and they may as well be combined into 1 since the first two are pointlessly easy! After getting to level 60, you unlock Master mode the Torment 1-6 modes after beating the fourth chapter. With the recent update and introduction to Season 4, Blizzard released Torment 7-10. The Torment modes are where the game becomes a lot more challenging, making gear evermore important.

Rifts can be great fun at first and they can either be very rewarding or the complete opposite, which is a pain in the butt. If you’re insane enough (like me), you’ll keep doing them! At least you always get Blood Shards which you can spend on items that have a chance (yes a CHANCE, hooray for more RNG) of giving you something decent. But man when the sound of a legendary or set item dropping and it’s the item(s) you need, it’s…beautiful.

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A big flaw of this game is that there is such a huge reliance on RNG (random generated number) as it determines whether you get everything, or nothing at all! Set bonuses are also way too good and you seem to scrap the old ones as new ones are introduced. However this is understandable since there would be hardly any power progression.

Playing beyond level 70 (Paragon levels) becomes a heavy grind. This can deter many gamers if they aren’t into grinds. This almost put me off the game but I gave it a chance and I’m sort of glad that I did.

Sometimes playing a very challenging difficulty can get tiresome so lowering it to the point of it being absolute faceroll can be relaxing and enjoyable as you mindlessly spam your controller. Doing this also gets boring after a while so it sort of becomes a vicious cycle.

Multiplayer (either local co-op or online co-op) can be very fun and a breath of fresh air. You can do the entire story on your own or with others, it’s entirely up to the player. Personally I did it on my own or with my brother since we can play at our own pace. Playing online scales the enemies’ health and damage depending on how many people are in the party, which makes it less faceroll.

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You will of course suffer from potential lag issues and the occasional hacked account while playing on console, but you can simply leave and find another party if you wish. Playing online is also great if you want to grind and get things done much quicker.

Replay value

On the topic of replay value, it’s pretty simple. You either enjoy playing multiple characters and maximising them, or you become dreary as soon as you start the grind. Although it does have good replay value because of that fact that you can play 6 very distinct characters, so the experience of each playthrough would be different.

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One of my favourite things about this game is that you can play around with different builds so you can get multiple styles of play and I found some seriously fun ones!

I’ll tell you one thing though, playing through the story more than once can get a little dull. Even Adventure Mode (take on missions and complete them around the world to get rewards) won’t fix this issue but it does make it less repetitive. You can also alternate between Story and Adventure modes. Or you could just find an online party and get carried. The console versions of the game are known for some ridiculous boosts. I admit that I managed to get from Paragon level 20 – 800 (which wasn’t intentional) in seconds by joining party that gave some serious experience boosts! If you want to avoid this, just look at the other guys’ items or Paragon level and you’ll know if they’re using some hacks.

Graphics

Graphics are what you’d expect from an Action RPG/dungeon crawler. I don’t usually care for the graphics in these types of games as the focus is on the gameplay and the story.

The cinematics are just insane. Although if you’re familiar with Blizzard’s cinematics, it shouldn’t be too surprising. The detail and amount of polish that has gone into them is astonishing. As a 3D artist myself, I can see how much work needs to go into putting out the stuff Blizzard did!

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In terms of effects, half the time the screen is littered with enemies and covered with visual effects while you pummel through everything. So sometimes you’re literally wondering what the hell you’re doing half the time without even thinking.

There can be so much going on at one time (especially when playing with other people) that you might end up getting an eye spasm occasionally…which is what kind of happened to me.

If you suffer from epilepsy, I do warn you that playing this game might set it off due to the crazy amounts of flashing going on. Sadly there’s no way of turning this down.

Sound

I really can’t say much about the music. As with the cinematic trailers/cutscenes, Blizzard soundtracks are fantastic and they never seem to disappoint, especially the “And the Heavens Shall Tremble” soundtrack. Everything about this theme screams “holy crap!”.

In regards to the in game sound, at times they can be quite pleasing but they often get annoying when there’s 50 sources of noise coming from 50 enemies and your powers. Honestly it all just gets a bit much.

Overall?

The game is a solid 8/10 providing the player(s) with an epic story and action-packed gameplay. Sounds and visuals are very pleasant, perhaps too much at times when you’re going insane on your controller but it’s manageable. There maybe should be less emphasis on RNG and set items, but the game relies on them.

While higher difficulty modes makes things somewhat harder, there should be new mechanics or abilities that the enemies should get instead of increasing health pools, damage and defence (which I think is more artificial difficulty).

Getting the right rewards is great fun, but when you consistently get rubbish rewards, you don’t feel like playing more. I’m still playing the game when I feel like doing some grinding and I’m very much enjoying the game (I try not to play it too much at one time so I don’t get tired of the game too quickly). I usually play more when there are new things added to the game, which is usually when a new season is introduced. Blizzard are also updating the game when they can and I hope they have plans for another expansion.

I believe that Diablo 3 is a MUST play for any RPG fan and I seriously recommend this game if you love Action RPGs, if don’t mind the mindless grind and are a huge fan of Blizzard games. However I don’t if you DON’T like the things I just listed (including the issue with epilepsy) as you very well may go insane from the grind.

Final Score: 8/10

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