Diablo III Review

Last Updated on by Nicholas Frost

The first Diablo arrived on the gaming scene seven years ago. Blizzard Entertainment produced and developed the series. Diablo 3 like its predecessors, is a role-playing game set in the dark world of Sanctuary. You can describe the game as a dungeon crawler or a hack and slash. You have secrets to discover and enemies to defeat.

Diablo 3’s narrative unfolds as you defeat your enemies, stage by stage. Artisans and Followers are available to assist you in completing your quest. You will meet and interact with many characters until you reach the end of the game. You can play alone, with old friends or make new ones.

Diablo 3 is available on the following platforms: Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.

What’s new in Diablo III?

Diablo III provides a new class of character for you to adopt as your in-game persona – The Witch Doctor. Naturally, the Witch Doctor is a magic user, a blend of druid and sorcerer whose magic originates in blood and bone.

There is a new set of NPCs (Non-Player Characters) to assist you in your quest to defeat the ultimate evil. These are the artisans. They craft objects for you, so you can get on with the game and killing monsters.

In Diablo 3, you will need to maintain a connection to the internet, even for single-player games. You can drop in and out of co-operative play sessions with other characters to attend to real-life activities.

You play in a 3D environment that your enemies will also utilize by crawling up walls to reach you. If you damage items such as walls, it impacts on the gameplay. The quest system is new, and the encounters are now randomly generated. You get a different game every time you play.

On a more mundane note – it is easier for you to pick up gold, and you acquire health orbs to keep your character in fighting trim.

Difficulty Levels

The difficulty settings relate to your character’s level. The higher-level player faces higher level monsters. You can opt to play the standard game, hard or expert level right from the beginning of Diablo 3. You can then choose a master or six different levels of torment after you have reached the higher levels.

When your character has reached level ten, you can go hardcore. This high-risk strategy puts your hardcore character at risk of permadeath. If your character dies, it can continue to chat as a ghost, but will never live again. If you have reached the appropriate level before dying then your character will be immortalized in the Hall of Heroes. If playing in teams, then only hardcore characters are invited to a hardcore team.

If you opt to play at a higher difficulty level than usual play, then the monsters become harder to kill and inflict more damage. You do however gain greater rewards from killing them.

Game Activities

This hack and slash game plays in fantasy land. The goal is to defeat the ultimate evil that is Diablo, the Lord of Terror but in the meantime, you are going to slay monsters and collect loot. The loot collecting allows you to have better weapons and skills and kill bigger monsters. Slaying huge demons gains you fabulous loot. You get the picture.

There is a journey because this is a hero’s quest, so you begin at the beginning and go on until the end. You are accompanied by NPCs, some of which are not quite what they seem, or you can join with other players.

The weapons and armor are fantasy medieval, and there is the option to customize with different colors and shapes using your loot. There are no real-world money purchases, so you have to earn your skills and equipment by playing the game.

If your preferred leisure activity is killing monsters, then this is the game for you. The online connection enables better social contact with other players, but you don’t have to join in if you prefer to play alone.

Player Character Roles

You can play as one of five basic characters. Each character relies on a unique energy source and has specific skills and abilities. You can customize the character’s appearance. A further two characters (Crusader and Necromancer) are available with the Reaper of Souls expansion pack.

The Barbarian

The idea of a barbarian conjures an image of massive physical strength. Playing this role allows you to pass like a whirlwind through any crowd you encounter. Like a barbarian, you can tear through any hostile swarm of enemies, leaving destruction in your wake. Your most potent abilities stem from fury, but the strength ebbs over time.

You renew your banks of fury by attacking your enemies or being attacked by them. As you, the Barbarian, use some of your abilities, you are also regenerating your store of fury. Your other actions include the ability to leap great distances. Naturally, you crush your enemies on landing. If your enemies are out of reach, then you can throw out a grapple and snap them into the melee.

The Monk

This character type draws its strength from the power of the spirit. This strange force supports your ability to defend yourself. Your spirit is durable and does not ebb away over time, but it is slow to renew. Spirit stores replenish when you attack the enemy.

Playing the monk gives you access to the full range of martial abilities of this melee fighter. You can cripple your foes and avoid being damaged by them. You have the power to deflect projectiles thrown at you. When adequately motivated, your speed of attack is blindingly fast, when you strike you land killing blows.

The Demon Hunter

The abilities of the Demon Hunter lie in his skill with weapons. If you opt for the role of Demon Hunter, you will use weapons to attack your enemies and defend yourself. Your weapons of choice are the many types of bow – longbows and crossbows. As a backup, you can throw knives or bombs. You have two sources to your power – Discipline and Hatred.

Discipline slowly regenerates over time and is expended in using defensive abilities such as acrobatic maneuvers or pinning enemies in place. There are quicker ways of gaining more Discipline rather than waiting for the seconds to tick by, specific objects, skills and runes will all top up the Discipline reserve.

Hatred provides fuel for attacking maneuvers. Hatred regenerates five times as fast as Discipline. A boost to hatred comes with some objects and the bat companion.

The Witch Doctor

The magic of the Witch Doctor has its roots in shamanism and perhaps voodoo. This new character type for Diablo 3 mixes Necromancer, Sorceress, and Druid.

You draw upon your mental resources, Mana, in order to exercise your skills and attributes. Mana regenerates very slowly, so if you are playing the Witch Doctor role, you must be careful how you spend it.

Unlike the Monk and the Barbarian, the Witch Doctor avoids melee combat. The equipment available to you includes Voodoo masks, ceremonial knives, and mojos.

Mojos are only for the Witch Doctor. Mojo is a Hoodoo word meaning magic charm. Mojo can assist in the inflicting of damage and in building up Mana. Voodoo masks increase spell power and help to increase Mana. Ceremonial knives can be used to kill at close quarters. The blades can transform into spears or daggers with a little magic. Witch Doctor can also turn a standard spear or dagger into a ceremonial knife.

As a Witch Doctor, you can surround yourself with zombies and vermin. You have some fresh ways of attacking your enemies – exploding skulls, deadly poison or curses that cause them to waste away. You can use your pets to attack your enemies without depleting your stores of Mana.

The Wizard

Arcane energy powers the Wizard. It is quick to regenerate, but it may destroy the Wizard’s body if abused.

Playing as the Wizard gives you magic to burn, freeze, or disintegrate your enemies. Also, you have the power to teleport, create illusions and slow down the passage of time. You are not a close combat fighter.

The Crusader

The Crusader has warrior skills and can use some magic. As Crusader, you rely on the power of your Wrath. Your weapons are a flail or a sword, coupled with a shield. You can move fearlessly into the thick of battle with all the confidence of an armored tank to kill your enemies. Your battle magic strengthens your allies and weakens your enemies.

The plus point for being a Crusader is that you never fight alone. The Avatars of the Order are waiting for your commands, provided you have the right skill runes.

The Necromancer

The Necromancer relies on Essence. Essence does not regenerate over time, and if you choose to play as the Necromancer, you must renew your Essence by attacking your enemies. You attack your enemies with the Grim Scythe, Bone Spikes, or siphon their blood to restore your essence.

You can cast spells and curses and raise the dead. A Necromancer has many useful actions involving corpses – blowing them up, turning them into attack objects, eating them to top up Essence, and turning them into undead minions.

After you have chosen your character, it is time to follow the storyline from beginning to end.

Game Narrative

The storyline reveals over four phases of the game. In each stage, you complete tasks and defeat enemies. This story begins two decades after the events of Diablo II. We discuss the bare bones of the storyline and quests below. To experience the finer details and the little twists and turns of the plot, you will have to play the game.

Phase I

Diablo 3 begins in the town of New Tristram, where a star has fallen out of the sky and struck the cathedral. There is an unsettling and unwelcome consequence – the undead rise.

You are met by Leah (NPC) and go with her to rescue Deckard Cain (NPC) from the crater created by the falling star.

Your first task is to defeat King Leoric (the Skeleton King). You need to find his crown. You have assistance from an artisan – Haedrig Eamon (Blacksmith). After obtaining the Crown, you rescue Kormac, the Templar (Follower). Now you can defeat King Leoric and proceed to the site of the fallen star.

The stranger with no memory reveals the next task. A sword has shattered into three pieces. Your mission is to recover the pieces and restore the sword. While trying to achieve this, you will meet another follower – Lyndon, the Scoundrel. Your enemy in this endeavor is the witch Maghda (NPC). You will have to defeat a powerful demon called Butcher to reunite the stranger with his sword and memories. The stranger’s name is Tyrael, and he warns about the arrival of two Demon Lords – the Lord of Lies (Belial) and the Lord of Sin (Azmodan).

Phase II

The action moves to the City of Caldeum. You travel there with Leah and Tyrael before going in separate directions.

Your task is to track down Maghda. In the process, you meet Eirena the Enchantress (follower) and eventually kill Maghda. Then you return to rescue Leah and escape with her.

You help Leah rescue her mother, Adria. Your next task – you need to acquire the Black Soulstone. First, you need to get several other objects – a warlocks head and two vials of blood. Finally, you use the Black Soulstone to defeat Belial by trapping him in the stone.

Phase III

In this phase of Diablo 3, you aim to defeat Azmodan and trap him in the Soulstone. There are battles to fight and other enemies to defeat in achieving this goal. Amid victory, there is a setback that sees Leah becoming the vessel of Diablo, and that sets the stage for the final phase of the game.

Phase IV

The action moves to the High Heavens and after many battles with demons, culminates in the final battle with the Lord of Terror, Diablo. Do you defeat him? Only time will tell.

Quests

There are two types of quests. Campaign quests progress through the game. Event quests are a bonus feature that will give you rewards. You cannot return to an event quest; it is an opportunity that you take or lose.

Phase I Quests

The Fallen Star – this sets the scene for the adventure ahead and introduces the major characters. You are expected to kill the risen dead, the wretched mother, and the wretched queen. You gain information by talking to some of the characters – Leah, Captain Rumford.

The Legacy of Cain is a nod back to Diablo II. You need to rescue Cain, explore and obtain new information and kill some skeletons.

A Shattered Crown – you meet the Blacksmith (artisan) and learn to create a portal. You are going to kill the Ravenous Dead, the Blacksmiths wife, and Chancellor Eamon. Your objective is to find the skeleton king’s crown.

Reign of the Black King – you meet the first boss character. There are some monsters to kill, but there is a lot of information to gather. You acquire the first follower – Kormac.

Sword of the Stranger – you go looking for the first sword shard and return it to Cain.

The Broken Blade – you are sent to find Maghda and find the second follower – Lyndon. Many more enemies to slay and some objects to find. By the end of this quest, you will have the second part of the sword.

The Doom in Wortham – you are seeking the third and final part of the sword. You are going to kill some cultists, Uzel Mordreg and some dark berserkers. By the end of the quest, you discover that Maghda has Cain and the three pieces of the broken sword.

Trailing the Coven – mainly information gathering, but you are also going to kill Queen Aranea and free a woman trapped in her web.

The Imprisoned Angel – kill lots of enemies to rescue the stranger and find out who he is and what terrible events are to come.

Return to New Tristram – talk to a lot of characters as the next phase of the game is revealed.

Phase II Quests

Shadows in the Desert – meet the third follower, the enchantress. This part of the quest allows killing a few more cultists and gathering information.

The Road to Alcamus – kill demons (many demons) and find out where Maghda is hiding.

City of Blood – kill Maghda and discover the next quest.

A Royal Audience – kill more demons, rescue Leah and escape through the sewers.

Unexpected Allies – kill snakemen (makes a change from Demons), rescue Leah’s mother Adria from the wretched pit, and be directed to the next quest.

Betrayer of the Horadrim – the whole of this quest is finding Zoltan Kulle’s head and returning with it to Adria.

Blood and Sand – now, you are sent off to search for magic blood. While searching, you rescue another follower – Covetous Shan, you find the crucible, and you kill Gavin the Thief. If you continue to be successful in your quest, then you will find two vials of blood.

The Black Soulstone – the next quest involves the search for Zoltan Kulle’s body (his head is missing it). When Zoltan Kulle resurrects, he reveals his true colors, and you must kill him. Now you take possession of the Black Soulstone.

The Scouring of Caldeum – this is a rescue mission, and you earn bonuses for the number of Caldeum refugees you lead to safety.

Lord of Lies – the conclusion of phase II is the confrontation with Belial, the Lord of Lies. If you are successful, you will trap his soul in the Black Soulstone. You barely have time to take a breath when you hurtle into the next quest.

Phase III Quests

The Siege of Bastions Keep – you assist the defenders of the Keep and meet the next monster – Azmodan, Lord of Sin.

Turning the Tide – this is all about the battles.

The Breached Keep – you realize the battle was just a diversion. Ghom is now running loose, and you must find and kill him.

Tremors in the Stone – The next enemy to be defeated is the Terror Spawn. You are now directed to seek out Azmodan.

Machines of War – your objective is to destroy the Demonic Ballistae and the Trebuchet Device.

Siege breaker – another monster to slay, this time it is the Siegebreaker Assault Beast.

Heart of Sin – the conclusion of this phase is the battle with the Daughters of Pain, the destruction of the Hearts of Sin. Finally, you kill Cydaea (wife of Azmodan) and then Azmodan, after which you collect his soul.

Phase IV Quests

The fall of the High Heavens – next monster to eliminate is Iskatu, along with an assortment of minions.

The Light of Hope – Diablo makes an appearance. Your mission is to rescue the Aspect of Hope. To do this, you will have to find her and kill Rakanoth (Lord of Despair).

Beneath the Spire – this part of the tale is information gathering while moving from one place to another.

Prime Evil – if you don’t have the Reaper of Souls expansion pack, then this is where you find and kill Diablo.

If you have the Reaper of Souls expansion pack, then there are eight more quests to accomplish.

The fall of Westmarch – the final stage is being set. The Black Soulstone is missing. There is, of course, a monster to kill – Kasadya.

Souls of the Dead – there are objects to find and destroy (soul crucible and assorted corpse piles). In the quest, you meet Myrian, the Mystic (artisan).

The Harbinger – another quest and another monster to kill, this one is called Urzael. A successful outcome saves Westmarch.

The Witch – you are sent in search of Adria, in the Blood Marches. Light entertainment is provided by killing the enraged boggits and then Adria.

The Pandemonium Gate – you have the Maiden Lamiel and the reapers to kill before you obtain directions to the next quest.

The Battlefields of Eternity – before you can get on with the main action, you must obtain the Siege Rune, then you can kill Thilor. Now you set off to attack the fortress.

Breaching the Fortress – to get into the fortress, you must kill Mordrath and also destroy the Siege hooks and the fortress gate.

Angel of Death – this final stage depends on the character you chose. To find out what happens next, you will have to play the game.

Artisans

When you complete a quest, you will meet an artisan. An artisan will take the items you obtain and craft them into useable products with random bonuses.

Blacksmith

You meet Haedrig Eamon in the first few quests. To make use of him, you need to give peace to his infected wife. The blacksmith will then provide you with weapons and armor and break down items into salvage.

Jeweler

Covetous Shan is in search of a dangerous gem that has a habit of killing its owners. You meet Shan when you rescue him from a barrel in the sewers during phase II. Once you have recruited him, he will be available to you from the beginning of any new game.

He can create rings and amulets, combine gems to make more powerful ones, and remove gems from their sockets without harming the gem or the object. Gems are essential in gameplay because they add magic effects.

There are five different types of gem – Diamond, Emerald, Topaz, Ruby, and Amethyst. Each offers enhancements.

Mystic

Myriam Jahzia provides magical services. One of these is transmogrification in which objects can be changed but retain all their capabilities. The purpose is to allow you to customize your character’s appearance and add some magical abilities. The mystic is only available in the Reaper of Souls expansion pack.

Followers

Followers are only available when playing as a single player. They do not appear in multiplayer games. Even in single-player games, they will not be able to assist you in the final battles. Each Follower has eight skills, but only four of them at any time.

Only one follower can accompany you at any time. If a human player at any point joins you, then the follower will leave. Diablo 3 views human players as a more useful ally.

Followers gain skills and equipment as they level up by fighting alongside you as you level up. Runes do not modify follower skills. Followers have skill sets that are similar to player characters so they can complement your style.

Kormac the Templar

You meet Kormac in phase I. Kormac is physically powerful, and the weapons available to him are shields, throwing axes, daggers, mace, spears, and swords. Other objects are a couple of rings, an amulet, and Templar Relics. These items are only available at certain character levels.

Lyndon the Scoundrel

Lyndon is an ex-thief and a competent archer. In addition to bows, he can have two rings and an amulet. His unique item is scoundrel tokens. In skills and attributes, he is like the Demon Hunter.

Eirena the Enchantress

Eirena has wizard-like abilities. She can act spells and act as a buffer. She can handle some weapons, and her particular item is Enchantress Focus.

Character Levels

The character level depends on experience gained through completing specific quests and killing monsters. The process of moving up levels is leveling up. If you are near a monster, then the process is as follows – a healing yellow light surrounds your character. When the light fades, every monster in the vicinity spontaneously explodes.

Leveling up will award you one or two bonuses in terms of skills, runes and skill slots. It will also give you access to items tied to that level. There is a total of 70 levels, and at that peak, all the skills and runes are available to you.

Skills

In Diablo 3, skills are active or passive. A runestone can amend all skills. The passive skills are limited to three, but they stay with you for life once they are enabled. You do not choose when to activate a passive skill; it becomes activated in the appropriate circumstances. The active skills are selected and deployed by the player. Some of the active skills are character-specific.

Each character starts with one skill until they reach level 2. At that stage, you can have three skills, and use two can at any time. New skills become available regularly as the character levels-up, but the skill slots unlock in stages. The maximum number of skills per character is 25, the maximum number of skills in use at any time is six.

Exercising skills consumes energy. The signature skills specific to each character type has the lowest impact on power, but the powerful skills use energy at a faster rate and may mean the character has to wait longer to recover.

Materials and Objects

By killing monsters and completing quests, you gain access to gold, weapons, armor, and gems. Artisans will craft these materials into useful objects for you throughout the game.

You have a backpack (inventory) in which you can carry useful items that you are not currently using. You have 60 slots available, but spare armor and weaponry need two slots each, everything else only needs one slot.

There are many different qualities and types of items to acquire. The higher quality items come with a more significant number of bonuses – the ability to inflict more damage on your opponents and sockets to install gems.

When scavenging for items bear in mind that high-quality magic items will have three properties, rare items have six, and legendary items can have eight. The features are randomly generated so if you go back to acquire an item, its properties will be different each time.

You can collect sets of objects unique to your character; a complete set gives extra bonuses. If you seek out and kill the higher-level monsters, then you will gain access to higher quality items. The items available to you link to your character’s level in the game

Non-Player Characters

In addition to the Followers and the Artisans, you will meet a variety of helpful characters controlled by the game AI. There are just under a hundred characters that you may encounter on your journey around the Sanctuary world. The most significant are as follows:

Leah

She is the niece of Declan Caine and the daughter of the witch Adria. She assists your character until finally, betrayed, and she becomes Diablo’s vessel.

Tyrael

An angelic mortal who starts the game as the stranger with a broken sword. Your constant guide and companion weaving in and out of your character’s journey.

Deckard Cain

Deckard Cain appears at the beginning of the story to point to the terrible demons that are going to assault the world of Sanctuary.

A Trio of Captains

Captain Davyd, Captain Ravan, and Captain Rumford. You meet these in various places, free them from imprisonment, fight alongside them and gain useful information.

The NPC’s play a variety of roles throughout the game. You can trade with them and talk, some are villains, others heroic and some are just filling in ordinary positions, the victims of circumstance or innocent bystanders. They add color and texture to bring the dark world of Sanctuary into existence for you to adventure forth and save the world from evil.

Optional Activities

Brawling

At any stage in Diablo 3, if you want to test your character skills against other players, you can opt for a small battle. One on one, or one against many. There is nothing to be won and nothing to be lost. Even hardcore characters don’t die in the brawling zone.

Clans and Communities

You can be in one clan at any time. You can interact and chat with other clan members and measure your performance against others.

Communities operate in the same way as clans, but you can join more than one. A community has shared interests, for example, slaying monsters.

The World

The new game physics means that the world will change every time you play. There are some fixed points – the towns. Some waypoints will let you travel from place to place.

Modes of Play

Campaign Mode

This mode is the primary setting for all players. You must complete the whole story.

Adventure Mode

To unlock the adventure mode, you must complete the whole game in campaign mode. You can then create your own game and access quests that are not available before this stage. The world of Sanctuary is now open to you to explore.

In this mode, you can access Kanai’s cube. A device that lets you transform other objects. It allows you to collect legendary powers to assist you in your quests.

Challenge Rift

In playing challenge rift, you do not build your character but instead, are assigned a character played by another player with their skills and attributes. You then attempt a challenge they have already completed using that character. You aim to be faster and better than them.

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