Diablo III Review: Was it Worth Waiting a Decade For?

by Reads (4,467)

Character creation and progression

There are five different character classes in Diablo III, each with their own backstory, play style, skill sets, and equipment. Whether you choose to be a Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, or Wizard, you’ll find unique elements throughout the game, but your progression will be somewhat disappointingly straightforward. Unlike most RPGs, you won’t be leveling up your character yourself, carefully choosing the right balance of attributes and abilities; the game will handle all of that for you.

When you first start a new character, you can choose its gender and give him or her a name, but that’s it. You can’t change your character’s appearance in any way, beyond equipping new weapons and armor that you find or purchase within the game. Each level you gain will find a new skill or rune unlocked, but only one. While you can choose the various primary and secondary attacks, defensive skills, and advanced battle techniques you want to equip, but you can’t choose to put more points into the abilities you prefer. That makes the game a little more accessible for new players, but for more hardcore players who are used to micromanaging every aspect of their characters this may well prove to be a disappointment.

Diablo III

Performance

An obvious question: “Will my system run Diablo III?” Probably.

The game has relatively low system requirements, ensuring that almost anyone can play. Compatible with both Mac and PC, you’ll need:

Windows:

  • Windows XP/Vista/7 with DirectX 9.0c
  • Intel Pentium® D 2.8 GHz or AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4400+
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® 7800 GT or ATI Radeon™ X1950 Pro or better
  • 1GB RAM (XP) or 1.5 GB (Vista/7)
  • 12GB available HD space
  • DVD-ROM (retail version only)
  • Broadband Internet
  • 1024 x 768 minimum resolution

Mac OS:

  • Mac OS X 10.6.9, 10.7.x or newer
  • Intel Core 2 Duo
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT or ATI Radeon™ HD 2600 or better
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 12 GB available HD space
  • DCD-ROM (retail version only)
  • Broadband Internet
  • 1024 x 768 minimum resolution

Diablo III

Of course more powerful systems will have an easier time running the game, and users have some control over how the game runs by manipulating the texture quality, shadow quality, physics, clutter density, anti-aliasing, and foreground and background FPS.

We tested the game on a number of low-end systems, like an older Apple Mac Mini – and while it ran, it isn’t exactly what we’d call an engaging experience. With that caveat, even video cards a couple of generations old, as long as they don’t belong to the lowest tier, can play the game flawlessly.

Battle.net or bust

The always-online requirement, even for single player campaigns, led to a rather embarrassing launch, when thousands of players had to wait even longer to play the game they had been looking forward to for more than a decade. Even worse than knowing that you can’t play on the go, unless you have broadband internet access, is that you can lose some of your game progress if you happen to lose your connection.

I left the game paused for about ten minutes while I took a phone call and found that I had been booted out of the game unexpectedly and had to resume from the previous checkpoint, which caused me to lose roughly 30 minutes of exploration. I kept my experience and the items gained, and of course was able to earn even more experience (and another level) by working back to where I had left off, but it was a less-than-subtle reminder of the problems inherent in requiring a constant network connection in order to play a single player game.

It’s also worth pointing out that the online-only requirement means you’ll never be able to play this game in spots where your Internet connection is less than ideal. Airplane? No. Car? No. Well, not without tethering and high-speed mobile broadband, at least. Public Wi-Fi is no guarantee, either, as the crowding often makes it too slow to be useful enough in this instance.



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