Diablo III Hands-On Preview

Diablo 3 is coming, and it has been such a long wait. After countless release dates being moved, finally we have an open beta. This can only mean one thing, we are getting closer and closer to a release, hopefully sometime early next year.  For those of you that don’t know, Diablo 3 is an action role-playing game from Blizzard, the same guys behind WOW and Starcraft 2.

Diablo 3 continues on from the last game in the franchise, Diablo 2. The game takes place in Sanctuary, the dark fantasy world of the Diablo series. This world was saved twenty years prior by a handful of unnamed heroes in Diablo 2, heroes who, having survived the onslaught brought by the armies of the Burning Hells, have gone mad from their ordeals. Now, it is up to a new generation of heroes to face the forces of evil threatening the world of Sanctuary.

The game so far looks and feels great, and I feel that both hardcore fans and newcomers will love it.  The gameplay is all done from a top down view as in the previous titles. This cannot be changed, but there is no need, everything looks really good. All the dark and weird monsters and walking dead have all been given highly detailed graphics. The feeling of being in a dark and dingy dungeon seeking out a scroll that you need, is very well done. We have eerie mists that form as you proceed deeper and deeper into the dungeon and then suddenly, you jump as a wall bashes down and you are faced with a horde of skeletons. The game really does look and feels great and this is greatly helped by the use of the sound effects. As you hack at a weird looking zombie you hear and feel each strike as your trusty sword slashes at your victim, and you can’t help but grin and smile as you wipe out an entire horde of evil, mwahahaha.

You have the option on which class of character you wish to choose such as a Warrior, Wizard, and Hunter. Each different one comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. Also, as you progress, you find items that are only usable by certain classes; something we see regularly in role-playing games.  As you walk around and bump into old rotting buildings, they often crumble around you, sometimes this opens up other areas to explore and often you find extra special goodies in these areas.

In single player as you play often you are teamed up with a computer controlled player to do certain quests, but I understand there will also be an online multiplayer option for you to play the game with friends on release. The storyline and side quests all have spoken narrative for every character. Even your own character gets its own voice. I really like this feature as so often in RPG’s we have to read the screen, however here we get to hear the character and that really helps the feeling of being immersed in the world of Diablo 3.

There are a lot of good things in this game and so far it looks like we may be on to a game of the year contender for 2012. From what I have played so far I was hooked. I tried every different class to see what each one was like and I enjoyed them all. I normally stick to warriors, but on this occasion I even enjoyed playing as a hunter with my trusty bow and arrow. Diablo 3 is shaping up to be a huge success, and will be a appealing title for everyone. I cannot wait.

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