Review

Diablo 3 Review

  • Game release: May 15, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Fortune and glory.

Much has changed since we reviewed Diablo III at its launch in May of 2012, both in the game itself and in the PC gaming landscape. Now, those looking for great multiplayer hack-and-slash dungeon crawls have more options, like the colorful and appealing Torchlight II and the deep, grim, free-to-play Path of Exile. With these great games on the market that scratch the same itch, Diablo III is less essential. However, thanks largely to significant changes made in a recent patch in advance of the upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion, Diablo III is a better game now than it's ever been, and is a worthy contender for your time if you're looking to kill legions of monsters and score some sweet loot.

The recent changes to Diablo III are dramatic and immediately noticeable. After patch 2.0.1 was released on February 25, I took my level 44 witch doctor out for a spin for the first time in ages, and after playing for about an hour, I'd already collected rare and legendary weapons and armor that far outstripped anything I'd been using before. Gear is better now not only in terms of its base stats, but also in terms of its other characteristics. Whereas before, I tended to stick with the same few skills throughout the game, now, gear encourages me to switch things up periodically by offering hefty percentage bonuses to the damage done by a specific skill.

Some characteristics aren't about increasing an item's power but about doing other nifty things; a colleague of mine was able to equip a powerful level 60 weapon at level 47 because one of its attributes reduced its level requirement by 13. You find cool, useful stuff a lot more frequently now, which makes the whole process of collecting loot more exciting and rewarding, and the smart ways in which this loot sometimes encourages you to change up your build make for a more varied game. And with the controversial auction house now offline and with restrictions on trading legendary gear, you have to earn the best stuff yourself, which is the way it always should have been.

After advancing a few levels on the normal difficulty and never breaking a sweat, I upped things to hard to take advantage of the 75 percent bonus to experience and gold that comes with the increased challenge. This made for a more involving experience; on normal I could mindlessly slaughter most foes, but on hard I had to focus on what I was doing and use my skills in concert with each other to overcome some of the tougher encounters, marking enemies for death, setting up my sentry turret, and vaulting out of the way of enemy attacks. The difficulty system has been tweaked significantly since the game's release, with monsters now scaling to your character's level. As you get better at the game and improve your character's equipment, you're incentivized to up the difficulty to reap greater rewards in terms of gold, experience, and gear, and for the satisfaction of overcoming greater and greater challenges. I'm now facing the still-tougher enemies of the expert level.

Legendary items are far more plentiful now than they were before.

After once again vanquishing Diablo and starting over from act one, I hit the current level cap of 60 (which Reaper of Souls will increase to 70) and started earning paragon experience. Though the paragon system was introduced way back in patch 1.0.4, this was my first experience with it. I'm not usually much of an endgame player; once I've completed the story in a game, there's not much appeal for me in continuing to play purely for the sake of earning better loot or increasing my character's power. But I can see the appeal in earning paragon levels. With each level you earn, you get a point to spend on one of four tiers: improving your core attributes, your offensive or defensive abilities, or matters of utility, like resource costs and the amount of gold you find. Though you can earn paragon experience with a character only once that character has hit level 60, the paragon points you earn are given to each of your characters. Previously, Diablo III offered little in the way of opportunities to continue improving your character after a certain point, but now paragon levels, along with the prospect of better and better loot on harder difficulties, give you concrete benefits for continued play.

Fundamentally, Diablo III is still the same experience it's always been. You click on monsters and press a few keys on your keyboard to unleash attacks to kill tons of monsters to collect heaps of gold and loot to become more effective at killing tons of monsters, and while the loot system has gotten a major overhaul, skills and runes work like they always have. The offensive skills of each class look powerful and feel empowering, movement is fluid, and the action is fast and responsive. Though its core mechanics are commonplace, Diablo III creates a sense of drama that helps it stand out. In the third act setting of Bastion's Keep, massive demons claw their way onto the battlements, and as towering statues crumble around you in the high heavens, the turmoil supports the aim of the halfhearted narrative to make you feel like an eternal conflict between the angels and the legions of hell is culminating and that you're right in the middle of it.

And of course, Diablo III is still at its best when you join forces with other players, combining close-quarters abilities and ranged attacks, crowd control abilities, and area-of-effect damage. Unfortunately, Diablo III still requires you to be online at all times, even if you're content to play by your lonesome, and this sometimes causes problems. I've run into severe latency issues on a few occasions when playing the game recently, and though my character hasn't perished, combat in these instances has been completely unmanageable.

Alot the Discordant hates it a lot when you kill him.

But this has been a rare occurrence throughout the 20 hours or so that I've spent playing the game since picking it back up after the recent patch, and because loot is such a central part of the Diablo experience, the significant improvements to Diablo III's loot system have resulted in a significantly better game. If you played Diablo III when it was first released and haven't been back to it in a while, you'll immediately be pleased to find that the loot you're collecting is consistently better and consistently more suited to your chosen class. If you haven't played Diablo III before but you're thinking of diving in before the expansion is released, you're in luck: taking on the minions of hell has never been more rewarding.

The Good
Loot is more consistently great, and more consistently useful
Attributes of gear encourage you to change up your play style
Paragon system lets you continue enhancing your character after hitting the level cap
The Bad
Still some hiccups due to the always-online requirement
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Diablo III

About the Author

Carolyn has always enjoyed a good fantasy hack-and-slash RPG, with Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance being a particular favorite. She's more motivated by the prospect of vanquishing evil than the allure of sweet gear. She's now logged a total of 90 hours with Diablo III.

Discussion

226 comments
Epicurus-Reborn
Epicurus-Reborn

Oh, the patch has its own separate review. How nice ^.^

Jah_Glow
Jah_Glow

Sorry... didn't have time to read the review, too busy trying crazy builds on every class.

Erebus
Erebus

But the story is still terrible and the game itself small with mediocre level design, right?

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

The skill and stat system remain the same dumbed down boring shit.

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

The only thing I still don't like about Diablo 3 is that there's pretty much only 1 viable build for each class. A wizard will only be good with Intelligence gear, a barbarian will only be good with Strength gear, etc. In Diablo 2, you could be a Strength necromancer who uses melee weapons while summoning skeletons or whatever, and it wouldn't feel like a weak build. It was an Action RPG.

In Diablo 3, everything is straightforward, you unlock all your spells automatically and you can't choose your own stats. That's why I don't consider Diablo 3 a true Diablo game, because it's not an RPG. But that doesn't mean it's a bad game. It's a good action game in itself, the actual gameplay feels nice, and getting better loot still manages to be fun, even with the lack of RPG elements.

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

I like Diablo 3 ( and it's 2.0.1 patch ) better than Path of Exile and Torchlight II. Come at me bro.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

i love poe, completely skipped diablo 3 on pc but im gunna get it for the PS4. Im guessing i will prefer poe due to how that game does builds etc, it's a game i will always go back to no matter how long i take a break, but d3 seems shorter lived, that being said im getting it + the expansion for ps4 on release.

dkeeney4093
dkeeney4093

I have always enjoyed this game, and I'll admit that on release it was broke, but what's up with your review??? You guys have it a 8.5 when it was broke and now that it's 10 times the game you give it a 8 and say it's better then before???? Get off PoEs nuts and start reviewing games correctly, or don't re-review the game. You guys been losing a lot of credibility with me and I'm sure others too

glenn2709
glenn2709

Yeah great, now give us offline mode.

jhonMalcovich
jhonMalcovich

I was playing Barbarian. And with the new loot system, by the end of the chapter 3, half of my equipment was legendary. The loot drop is very cool now. I remember getting my first legendary item right by completing my first quest, in the first chapter. And later in the game some green items put to shame my legendary ones.


There are also new type of enemies with more complex behavior.


And the game allows now the increase of the difficulty.

Hurvl
Hurvl

I thought Gamespot didn't re-review games, but in today's age of early access, F2P, MMO's and online-only SP, games are no longer cut in stone, but evolve quite much after their initial release, so I guess this updated review makes sense.

jhonMalcovich
jhonMalcovich

Don't forget that online only requirements is not only because of piracy, but because of hackers, so they can't modify their equipment stats and loot drop rates.\

Cheaters were infesting Diablo 2.

There is nothing more frustrating than playing PVP vs a cheater.

Stebsis
Stebsis

Bought D3 because it's 50% off, played some 3-4 hours straight and so far seems pretty great. I especially like all the different skills and the variations of them, in games like Torchlight 2 it felt like there was too much just spamming the same skills all the time without much to change things up, and combat in general in D3 feels more fun.

cnx2022
cnx2022

and this is why it is now smarter to wait to buy games instead of pre-ordering or purchasing at or near launch day.


nyran125tk
nyran125tk

i paid for torchlight 1 and 2 and titans Quest , im happy. All 3 games for $9.


1 word


Offline mode and i may think about it.


Blizzard Make Warcraft 4 ffs. I still like playing Warcraft 3 from time to time, such a great game.

prats93
prats93

People still play this garbage? The Diablo series has to be one of the most overrated game series of all time.

carolino
carolino

not paying 40 $ for the reaper of souls thats for sure


hell, maybe not even 20

SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

Game gets better and loses half a rating, makes no logical sense.

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

@PinchySkree  For example, assuming NO runes are selected, there are just under 5 MILLION different level 60 Barbarian builds

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

@PinchySkree  Not exactly since you are no longer penalised for changing skills due to Nephalem Valor being removed.  Also, the new paragon system is a skill tree in itself, and when you combine the two it feels like an evolved and better version than previous Diablo games presented.  Although a valid argument can be made that at Paragon 1000 everybody has every point spent in the exact same areas.


Paragon aside, the base number of skill combinations still runs into the millions (granted people will still go online to copy the 'best' build for a class).

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

@Tiwill44  Yeah but your build would have turned to sour shit the moment you'd rank up the difficulty. I remember, my cousin had built a melee sorceress, which turned out to be completely pathetic further down the road. What good is this? I mean, sure, it's an experiment. Like tinkering with Path of Exile's FF10 skill tree, but in the end, everybody ends up looking at builds online to make their character as good as possible.

Setho10
Setho10

@dkeeney4093 I'm pretty sure this site no longer gives out ratings on a 20 point scale, so a score of 8.5 is no longer possible. The game could either be an 8 or a 9 and I think most people would agree it is not a 9.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@glenn2709  

Indeed. Turning to Path of Exile and getting hit by re-sync issues every now and then reminded me why I boycotted Diablo III.

nigelholden
nigelholden

@glenn2709  I won't touch online only games anymore. I'd love to go to a spot, open my laptop, and try out the revamped Diablo. It was the last online only game I bought, and we all know how that launch went. Never again.

whatsazerg
whatsazerg

@nyran125tk D3 is $20 right now.... its a good time to jump in.  The Online Only mode is simply to curb piracy and hacking.  In my 1000 hours of gameplay I've experienced game hindering lag less than a hand full of times.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@SteamyPotatoes In the face of increased competition from worthy rivals such as Torchlight 2 and Path of Exile (which were absent at Diablo 3's release), the fact that Diablo 3 *only* loses half a point shows how good it still is. A game that offers something unique in its genre is worth more than a game that is as good as other games in its genre. Diablo 3 is now closer to the latter of those two and therefore lost half a point.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@SteamyPotatoes  

Others would argue that the game has not gotten "better" - it has become what it should have been in the first place (and even then, there are still lingering complaints such as its always-online requirement).

justinlourenco
justinlourenco

@SnuffDaddyNZ @PinchySkree 5 Million barbarian builds. One viable build when you have no gear - and little to no incentive to farm specific set pieces to make another one of 5 builds that are viable.


I feel like the "builds" are sort of a gimmick - the great builds are SOOOO amazing and the other builds are meh -- in the BARBS case specifically they nerfed everything to the point where you have to basically have "crit" pieces or a shotty DPS build.


You get stuck farming with the same farming build until you have enough pieces to make one of 5 other builds. It's just not what it's cracked up to be.

Tikicobra
Tikicobra

@Fandango_Letho @Tiwill44  This was my problem with Path of Exile, and having recently purchased Diablo II, it's my main issue there as well. For me it makes applying skill points extremely stressful because you can totally screw your character up at any point. I still like Diablo II a lot so far, but in terms of sheer fun I'd say Diablo III has it beat in my mind.

dkeeney4093
dkeeney4093

A few changes????!!!! Are you kidding me, they revamp the entire loot system, made tons of class changes, in fact it's like playing another game... It IS much better

carolino
carolino

@whatsazerg @nyran125tk 

i loved diablo2 cause online bnet

sure online arpg was a "new " thing but the people make d2 what it is/was


i would alwais play d3 online so..

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@noandno  

I, for one, support that move - if only because it's one step closer to removing the score system entirely.

mmagula1
mmagula1

@Gelugon_baat @SteamyPotatoes  If it became what it should have been in the first place that would mean it got better than what it was before it became what it should have been. Meaning it got better?

loafofgame
loafofgame

@dkeeney4093 What does the number matter? The game has been significantly improved. It says so in the review. That 8 means nothing and tells you nothing about the game. If you really care so much about the score, then consider that in the meantime other games have come out which offer strong competition. The context has changed. This 8 exists in another context than the previous 8.

mmagula1
mmagula1

@Gelugon_baat @noandno  If it became what it should have been in the first place that would mean it got better than what it was before it became what it should have been. Yet it's not better than what it was, but only as good as what it is now. 


Meaning that it hasn't improved on what it was, but has only remained as good as what it is now despite being different. 

Diablo III More Info

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  • First Released
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    • PC
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    Blizzard's hack-and-slash lootfest Diablo III is coming to the and will include four-player co-op.
    7.2
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    Developed by:
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    Genres:
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    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
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