Review: Diablo III (PC)

Diablo III is beautiful. It’s a well thought out game with skills that fall into place with one another perfectly, and is great for an era where aRPGs are more mindless than fun.

But after my initial elation at finally returning to the world of Sanctuary, I was disappointed. And upon killing Diablo on normal difficulty, I hardly wanted to go on to Nightmare mode.

Because Diablo III is a sham.

It’s a soulless, albeit finely tuned rehash of Diablo II, and after a decade of waiting, it’s not something fans of the games deserve.

The game is more forgiving now, that’s true. It’s much easier to spec and respec your character according to your party’s needs. Instead of learning skills, you now learn every skill possible as you progress and later have the option of adding what you want to your very restricted (though some might argue, user friendly) action bar. You no longer need to add attributes and risk having to re-level a character because you messed up.

You even get a blinking ping on your minimap to show when you’re close to a quest’s destination. Potions and gems stack! But those are your new and/or casual players to the franchise accounted for.

What of your longtime fans, who have stuck with the game since its first incarnation?

Playing through Diablo III is like revisiting Diablo II. It’s like looking at the kid you used to babysit, who grew up into a smoking hottie. So much better to look at, but essentially the same. The environment, mobs and characters are incredibly detailed but… they’re everything we’ve seen from Diablo II, just made prettier. Each Act also come accompanied with a strong sense of deja vu, while playable characters are the same, rehashed – if renamed – classes. Yes, Blizzard wanted to keep the game familiar, but could they really not add more innovations to the third game – or at least evolve it?

The storyline is also weak to boot, by Blizzard’s standard. We’re not going to spoil anything here, but it smacks of plot twists from Blizzard’s other franchises. *coughSargerascough* And in spite of numerous boss fights throughout each act, we’ve counted only one fight worthy of a boss creature (see screenshot of a massive Belial above). The rest of the game is a repeat of dungeon crawling and beating things up. Oh, they did bring the Butcher back, but nostalgia alone doesn’t quite make up a game…

But I’ve got to admit, Blizzard has gotten it right on the nostalgia factor. Dungeon crawling has never been so emotional. In Diablo III, it’s a great throwback to the days spent running and re-running random caves and dungeons and ancient underground chambers in Diablo II.

But here is where the dungeon crawling, the heart of the game, fails as well. Dungeon crawling is only truly fun if it’s rewarding, and it’s hardly that in Diablo III. The loot drops in this game are sad, to say the least. If I had survived solely on item drops, I’d be dealing on 600 dps in Nightmare mode: hardly an impressive figure. As treasure hunting goes, you find better items at vendors and the Auction House. (Ed: apparently, Set Items only start dropping in Inferno mode too)

And besides, you can’t crawl through dungeons if you can’t log in.

Everyone playing the game will surely have experienced its error-filled first day of live servers. Blizzard’s latest attempt at DRM failed miserably with Diablo III. The irony here is that for a single-player game, you no longer decide when you can or cannot play the game – Blizzard does.

Playing alone, in single player? Not possible unless you log into BNet. You also risk having your solo time destroyed by friends who join your game, raise the difficulty level, then go AFK, or worse, tag along with woefully low DPS and break your stride. Combine this with terrible drop-rates, unrewarding higher-difficulty levels (we’ve heard Infernal is nasty) and you’ve got a game that is more trouble than it’s worth just to start.

It was pretty hype-up queuing for this on May 15th, and counting down with local Diablo fans was rad. But coming home to countless of error screens, a sleek-but-uninspired game and a laggy server was really not what I was expecting after so many years of development. I’m not even talking about the disappointment of the Player-vs-Player mode being delayed till further notice, which will be updated in a major patch.

Gamers new to the franchise will find it pretty awesome, though.

But to longtime fans, not even Whimsyshire can save Diablo III.


Graphics 9.0
Cutting edge, sleek and gorgeous. Incredible detail. Destructible terrain is a bonus, especially when you get EXP out of it!
Sound 8.0
Nothing much matters over the sound of you smashing things, but the BGM we actually hear is worthy of the Diablo franchise.
Gameplay 8.0
Playable characters have skills that work together with clockwork precision, but terrible drops from mobs hinder and impede your progression.
Lasting Appeal 9.0
Dungeon crawling at its prettiest, with scaling difficulty, and the urge to never be outlevelled by your friends, ensures this game will grip you until you complete it in Infernal mode.
How the RGB Scoresheet works


Diablo III is an action RPG game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment for Windows and the Mac OS. It is the third installment in the Diablo series. Diablo III was released to worldwide elation (and later, rage at server issues) on May 15th 2012. The game is distributed by AsiaSoft for the South-east Asia region, and a copy was given to us for this review.


Edit 21/5/2012, 12.35

We were told by a reader in Infernal mode that set items don’t just drop there. There are also low level set recipes you can get. You can check out more of them on the official site.