Thursday, November 23, 2000

Diablo 3 PS3 review 9.0

The majority of console titles being released nowadays are either first person shooters or sandbox games. Isometric Action RPGs, a genre so basic, so essential, I never thought would become scarce, hasn't seen a decent release on the current console generation in almost 7 years. Not one. Back in the PS2 era, the golden age of console action RPGs, we had the holy grail. Baldur's Gate: Dark alliance, and its more than worthy successor, Dark alliance II. The genre was so in vogue, even the Everquest universe brought a worthy contender to the table with the release of Champions of Norrath, and Champions of Norrath 2: Return to Arms. Oh, those were the days. I used to sit on the couch with my girlfriend (nowadays my wife) and play together for hours on end. Just us, exploring dungeons, marveling at the prospect of a dropped piece of armor or sword, which we would immediately pick up and analyze in order to compare to the one we were wearing. Since the current generation of consoles was released, we have waited, and waited, and waited for a worthy successor of one of these games. And there hasn't been any. There have been flops like Sacred, or Dungeon Siege's console version but none that were remotely decent (with the exception perhaps of Lord of The Rings: War in the North. Technically NOT an isometric RPG but a brilliant coop action RPG game nonetheless, which filled somehow the void we carried as gamers for over 6 years). Enter The Lord of Destruction.

The wait is finally over. Diablo III is that game. That worthy successor to Baldur's Gate: Dark alliance we had waited for (for more than half a decade mind you). From the moment you pick up the controller you can tell Blizzard nailed this port. It doesn't even feel like a port. It's like the game was designed with this control scheme in mind from scratch. Movement is fluid, combat satisfying. Everything is there. The search for better and shinier loot is just as fun as it was back in the PS2 with Baldur's. The co-op action is flawless. Minimap, skill trees, chests, weapon racks, everything you may have possibly missed is there, and then some.

If there is maybe one department where the game takes a hit vs. the PC version are the graphics. They're not bad. They do feel a bit...cartoonish. But they're totally current gen. You just can't compare the graphics of a current PC (even a mid-range one) with the graphics of a game, running in 720p on a console like the PS3, released 7 years ago, and already on it's way out. If you have never seen the PC graphics, these will look totally OK to you. Nothing to write home about but not bad by any stretch of the imagination. And my only other gripe with the game (now, this is a minor thing and I'm definitely nitpicking), is that I wish 2 players playing local co-op could enter their inventory at the same time instead of player 1 having to wait while player 2 compares 10 different kinds of armor in order to be able to enter his inventory, or at least, there should be an option to enable this. I'm rocking a 55 inch screen, there's plenty of room for both player's inventories. If a player has a small screen they could disable this option. The upside is when my wife is going through her inventory, I get to see everything she's carrying and sometimes a weapon or piece of armor catches my eye so she gives it to me and viceversa so it's not like it's super boring or anything like that. Like I said, I'm definitely nitpicking. This game is seriously awesome. I can't wait to see what Blizzard does with this game on the PS4. Even if it's just a graphics overhaul, I'll buy the PS4 version in a New York minute and play it all over again (Heck I intend to play the PS3 version all over again several times). Just take my money Blizzard. Keep releasing games like this on the console and keep taking my money. And I hope this game sells like hotcakes so publishers realize there IS a market for this genre on the consoles, and that gamers like us will buy anything you release in this genre as long as it plays this nicely.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love first person shooters as much as the next guy, but sometimes a gamer needs a break from that. No online lobbies, no 8 years olds yelling at the top of their lungs threatening to quickscope me or anything like that. Just me, my girl, the couch and the dungeons (wait, that sounded a bit kinky. But I digress). Sometimes you just want to sit on the couch with a friend, relax, and just have some fun. Sometimes, we need to get back to basics. And what a glorious playground Diablo III is for that purpose. Welcome home Lord of Destruction. What is thy bidding my master?

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