Set twenty years after Diablo 2 and further again since the original, Diablo 3 is set once more in the dark world of Sanctuary. As with previous releases, one of the settings is Tristram. The heroes who saved Sanctuary in the last game have been driven mad by their experiences, so it is left to a new wave of heroes to take on threats to Sanctuary. Game play is similar to Diablo 2, with players given a choice of a number of character classes from which to choose. An overhead view of play is available.
The new classes appear to have a less ambiguous – or some would say “evil” – nomenclature. For example, Diablo 2 had the necromancer; here, we have wizards and demon hunters. The developers may be leaving little doubt you’re one of the good guys with this release. However, the witch doctor class can harvest souls and raise zombie dogs from the dead!
The demon hunter has light armour and dual crossbows. Further weaponry and armour can be picked up along the way. Prayer beads enable the character to improve on their accuracy.
Meanwhile, the character classes also have runes at their disposal that can be attached to skills to enhance them. The wizard class can pick up certain runes and apply them to skills that will radically alter the nature of a spell. The wizard class also has an interesting mirror spell, where they can effectively replicate themselves temporarily. These clones, with limited health, can become allies to take the heat off a little when doing battle.
The richness of the release can be seen in the adaptability of the non-players who engage with your character. If you’re a barbarian, you may be carrying on different conversations with these non-player characters than you do if you’re a wizard. The game will also increase in difficulty in certain respects depending on how many players you are allied with. So those who join a multiplayer game should consider this – you may have found it easier to defeat the skeleton king boss on your own – for example – than you do with two friends.
There is a multiplayer mode where teams can fight each other in an arena. The confined nature of the setting makes things frenetic. However, the long distance special skills and weaponry of certain players’ classes – such as wizards – appear to have the advantage over those who can only do serious damage at close quarters, such as barbarians.
All in all, many will agree that the game is a marked improvement on the predecessor released a decade ago. The developer has provided a new inhouse engine while retaining the playability of the previous release. The great boon associated with a title like Diablo 3 is that it takes some of the finest elements associated with a number of genres – horror and slasher, fantasy, role playing, and even extraterrestrial elements – to mash them up into a great mix. Overhead views and an environment that allows you to wreak havoc if you so choose allow for an interesting game.