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Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.6


Diablo III
June 14, 2012 | Franklin Pride
Pages:12Gallery


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Bowels Of Hell

Requirements:

Mac OS X: 10.6.8 | CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo | RAM: 2 GB | HD Space: 12 GB | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600 or better

Review:

There are few game series as iconic as Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo. Ever since its first release as a simple dungeon crawl through the dank corridors of the Tristram cathedral, it has captured the wallets of millions. The reasons for its success are pretty straightforward. It was the first real-time quality point-and-click solo RPG, for one. The main reason, however, was that it had an engine for creating completely random maps that shifted each time you reset the game. As a result, every game felt relatively fresh and it was quite fun to go in with your friends and whack the decaying flesh right off of each and every horrific monstrosity you encountered. It was simple fun, and it was amazing.

Then Diablo 2 was released. Its reception was mixed in the first few weeks, as it didn't do things quite the same way. It still was a real-time RPG, it still had randomly generated maps, but now you couldn't really decide where your stat points went (as the barbarian couldn't cast spells like the warrior from Diablo, for example), and the spells were no longer painstakingly gathered from rare tomes scattered throughout the dungeon. In the end, it just didn't feel like the original. The players got over it. What Diablo 2 added was multiple locations across the world and a much stronger story. In addition to that, the additional playable classes freshened things up a bit. The gameplay may have been simpler and less hardcore (you couldn't do the all-magic and dexterity warrior challenge), but it was more streamlined and easy to learn for the newcomers to the series.

Now, finally, it is time for Diablo 3. It wasn't time for Diablo 3 on release day, it wasn't even time for Diablo 3 a week after release day. But, now that most of the connectivity issues, auction house crashes, error 37s, and general poor performance problems are out of the way, you can appreciate the third and likely final Diablo in all its glory. If you can tolerate having to be online to play and the high likelihood of getting hacked if you spend too many days without an authenticator, it's definitely an upgrade over the previous Diablos in many respects.

The most obvious upgrade is the auction house, and it can deal in real money as of this week. After its giant success in World of Warcraft, there's no real surprise that they're including it in Diablo 3 as well. You can search for items by variety, buffs on the item, and even specific names when searching for a set piece. In addition, you can sell items for crafting goods, books for your crafters, and a few other miscellaneous items. It does its job quite well, even with the fact that you can't trade anything but wearable gear in the real money auction house at this point.

The other major change is that Blizzard has decided to simplify the skill system yet again. Instead of putting points in a skill tree, different skills are unlocked at a set level and you can pick a max of six to put into your active skill set. This isn't really enough to respond to every situation, but you can generally plan out your skills for each act. If you try to change your skills on the fly, you're going to have to wait a couple minutes for them to switch over, and you lose your stacks of "Nephalim Valor" which increase your chance to find sweet loot. Overall, it's a much easier system to grasp, but it does remove a lot of power from players going for specific builds. After playing with hundreds of players, there still haven't been many unique builds as a result.

Multiplayer is what Diablo 3 is all about, after all. You can't even play alone without connecting to Battle.Net and remaining connected for the duration of your game. In addition, you can get extremely bad lag even during a single-player game, and that can lead to your death on most any boss. Teaming with friends can generally make up for it as you resurrect each other when the inevitable spike wipes half of you, though. The public games have been linked in the forums to account hacking, however, so you may not want to try playing with anyone you don't know for now.



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