Diablo III Beta - Preview
By Dustin Hill
After nearly twelve years, Diablo fans will soon be able to experience the dungeon crawling, demon-slaying mayhem of Diablo III. After a few hours and a couple times of finishing the Beta, here's your preview of Diablo III.
The graphics are slightly above average, with the environments and characters looking good. Everything is smoothly textured and designed there aren't redundant textures to create the illusion of a "field". Character models, in the beta of course, look below-average. Character models look fine when you're zoomed out, during normal gameplay, but the initial loading screen where you view your character looks pretty rough. Hopefully these are improved for the full version of the game.
The physics are great from environmental effects like breaking a door, to enemy interactions like knocking zombies across the screen or watching a larger enemy explode into several, gore-laden pieces.
The characters are very unique and will likely require tactics to play well together on harder levels within the Beta, there was little more than wanton slaughter of any enemy foolish enough to stick its head out from a dank cave. Classes by themselves are much more interesting than simply "Right-click to kill bad guys". It is a hack-and-slash but, each class requires balance, forethought and planning to ensure survival on the battlefield. For example, the Demon Hunter, a ranged archer class has two special ability pools. One is Hatred, used for killing moves that regenerate quickly, and the other is Discipline, a slow-regenerating pool used for defensive abilities.
Characters each have an involved backstory that brings them to life and even explains some of the attitude they may have throughout the game. The Wizard, for example, hails from magical training but, he/she rebelled against his/her teachers and stole forbidden magic before fleeing to the start of the game. In-game you have a character who is brash, over-confident and sarcastic when dealing with hordes of hellish minions. Each character history really makes the world, and gives the character more depth.
Coupled with this is a different voice actor for each gender of the five classes. Each actor and actress does an above average performance during the lines they speak within the Beta. The backgrounds and voice acting of not only the main characters but, story characters make the world feels as one that is damned.
Multiplayer is also a fun experience. Though there is some initial lag when players join or leave your game, once they're in it's a pretty smooth experience. Items are dropped for each character only and other players cannot even see your items. Each player sees a different item dropped from an enemy killed or chest opened. This is likely meant to eliminate players that forge on ahead, or just simply play warrior classes, and pick up every item dropped before quickly selling or trading it. This mechanic eliminates some selfish behaviors and makes the gameplay more cohesive between players.
Diablo III looks like it will have high replay value, playing through the story with different classes and different genders. Add to this, randomized levels and encounters within that random level and it certainly expands the gameplay further. Each player has their own banner, that can be customized as to what color and emblem you would prefer. It's nothing too fancy, but a welcome addition. Diablo III gives you ten character slots, one for a male and female of each class if you so desire.
Overall, the Beta was not only fun but, an interesting experience. I hadn't realized how much I missed the Diablo series until playing through the Beta a handful of times. If you're a fan of the Diablo series, and also cooperative experiences, than Diablo III does not appear as though it will disappoint.
[Sign up for the Diablo III Beta]