Oh, how this reviewer has waited for this day.
Finally, the console world seems to be ready to join the PC world in its capacity to engage in multiplayer scenarios and titles. And what better way to flex this new found muscle than with one of the most iconic franchises in gaming history? Blizzard offers us one of its best titles to this end. Diablo III.
Gone are the annoyances that one would experience on the PC version of this insanely entertaining (and at times frustrating, but in all the best ways possible) game. No more clicking here and there with your mouse. No more hovering one's cursor over an enemy or mob in order to target one's attacks. Just grab a controller, and if you have ever played Gauntlet, you already know what to do. Choose your avatar, and get ready to unleash your fury on the undead and other denizens of the Burning Hells.
The first five classes: barbarian, demon hunter, monk, witch doctor and wizard; all of these may give a first time player a bit of pause as they rack their brain to decide with whom to venture forth into this nightmarish world of ghouls and assorted beasts. And this is with good reason. Not only is the play experience very different depending on which class the player picks, all classes are just plain fun to play in their own individual ways. A player can also create multiple characters if they so desire, a notion only enhanced by the concept of a shared Stash. Any stashed items and gold will transfer to all characters on one's account. This comes in handy when playing as one of the more difficult classes, like Wizard and Barbarian, who start the game just a wee bit unprepared for soloing in a world teeming with monster mobs. And those mobs will attack you. At times in great numbers, like a swarm of locusts. The idea that you can use the money and items gained by an avatar who is a bit further in the game helps take a bit of the intimidating edge off of rushing headlong into the fray.
Maps, like in previous installments on PC, randomly generate for each new game. This ups the replay value immensely. Not only are you able to play through the events as a completely different character with wildly differentiating skill sets and strategies, the inclusion of the random map generator means a completely different game every time. Only the names, primary locales and characters remain the same.
Multiplayer can be engaged either locally or over XBox Live, meaning you don't even have to be in the same country, let alone the same room, as players who join your quest to put down the Prime Evils once and for all. But beware. Increasing the size of one's party also increases the intensity of game play, as the enemies will grown in strength and number relating to how many are in your party.
If it seems like the author is gushing a bit, well, admittedly he is. But only due to never having played this title on PC because of system crashes or not having the money, time and patience to put his PC through the required and nearly constant upgrades. Gamers who have played the original Diablo III should find the return to Tristram both easy and nostalgic, with a potentially whole new group of online friends with which to play.
If you have not yet picked this one up, you are urged to do so. It's pretty much a guarantee that you won't be disappointed. Perhaps we will cross paths.
See you in Hell.