Diablo III Demo Impressions

I had my reservations about Diablo III. Not because I doubted how good it would be, but because I doubted how easy it would be to play on a console. Traditionally, Diablo is a PC game, and I remember from playing World of Warcraft that PC gaming is all about hot keys, and assigning skills. Just imagine my pleasure at firing up the demo for Diablo III this afternoon and discovering not only an easy to use battle system, but a thoroughly enjoyable game, and interesting plot to boot.

I recall watching my Dad play Diablo on the PC when I was younger. I was always interested in watching him, but I never really wanted to play it. At this point I had been sucked into the world of Final Fantasy and the JRPG, so a Western dungeon looter was way off my radar. However, now that it’s come to my Xbox 360, I thought it was time to check it out.

After playing Torchlight when it first came out on the XBLA, I acquired a new appreciation for the dungeon looter genre. I loved putting as many things in my Tardis sized pockets as I could possibly find. I would sell all the rubbish, equip all the good stuff, and go shopping for new equipment at whatever chance I could get. Thankfully, Diablo III is much more than just a looting game, and it’s heaps of fun.

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The demo allows you to grind up to level 9, which is quite impressive already. It also lets you play for a good couple of hours, but only if you’re a serial looter and like to look down every nook and cranny. For something that is simply a taster of the game, I’ve been left wanting a lot more after being treated to so much.

At the start of the demo you can choose between a male/female barbarian, or a male/female wizard. Other character classes can be seen, but are grayed out so I presume they are not playable, unless you own the full game. As soon as you have chosen your character, and given him or her a name, you are thrown straight into the action, and start fighting your way through a small group of the undead.

Battling your way through these pesky flesh eaters leads you to a nearby town. In this town you meet up with the local knights, and of course offer your assistance in any way to rid the area of these rotting meat sacks. Soon enough, you’re sent out to deal with vomiting zombies in an attempt to at least alleviate the strain on the knights in the town.

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Now, no Western looter would be complete without a journey into an evil crypt, complete with ghosts, ghouls and ghastly things, so you soon find yourself traipsing off in a bid to help one of the characters you meet in the town. See, her adopted uncle has wandered off into a crypt. Not the best of ideas at any time, but certainly not during an outbreak of the undead. Naturally, you offer your assistance once more and head off in search of him.

This is the main part of the demo, allowing you to travel through huge levels of dungeon, fighting what seems like never-ending hordes of enemies. You know what though? It’s heaps of fun. With each level you gain in the demo you acquire new skills or spells, and of course you can equip bigger and better weapons and armour. New enemies jump out at you, forcing you to run away as you realise they’re not quite so easy to fall down as the frail skeletons you were attacking a moment ago.

My only criticism, and this isn’t necessarily to do with the demo, but the design of the game overall, is the inability to be able to alter the camera angle. I kept forgetting and either doing a forward or backwards roll, and it became more than a little frustrating. It’s a gaming pet peeve of mine, but it really would be nice to alter the camera angle and look at the world in a slightly different way.

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Overall, the Diablo III demo does exactly what it sets out to do; entice you, and make you want to buy it. Mere seconds after finishing the demo I made my way to Amazon to add it to my ever-increasing wish list so I can stalk the price to see if it goes down. An added bonus as well, is that the game allows you to transfer the character you used in the demo, into the full game should you purchase it in the future.

I for one am super excited to get my hands on Diablo III for some dungeon looting fun, but what about you? Are you like me and waiting a while for the price to drop? Or have you already bought it, and are loving it? Let me know down below.

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Skyrim first impressions and Android failure

I’ve had Skyrim for nearly a week now, and I am shamed to admit that I haven’t even managed to get more than 10 hours into it I don’t think. Regardless of most of my coursework being finished for this term of uni, life in general has been getting in the way. I have spent this weekend doing my Christmas shopping and generally just mooching about with the family (enjoying some yummy meals out too). While it has been nice to do all of the above, I really wish I could have engrossed myself in Skyrim just a little bit more. I’ll post my initial thoughts though.

I had to choose an Elf as my race. I’m not a Dark Elf, as pictured above, but a High Elf. I wanted to really go for the magic this time around. If I can’t use guns, then I don’t really want to be swinging my sword around and getting hacked to shreds. I’ve never really enjoyed being a magic user, but the idea of it in Skyrim just seemed right. I think it helped that I knew I could dual wield spells. I knew that in one hand I could have burning flame, and in the other soothing restoration. Pretty much I just wanted to burn things down.

I have noticed in my short play through so far that Skyrim has many paralells with a lot of my favourite games. Obviously I love Bethesda anyway, but Oblivion was lacking in oomph for me; it was dull and dreary. Skyrim has elements of Fable, World of Warcraft, Bioshock and even Red Dead Redemption. The last two have probably confused you a bit so allow me to explain. The Bioshock element comes form the visual aspect. It’s the magic hands on screen, they just remind me of plasmid infused limbs. It’s the way your character holds them. The RDR element comes from the wide open spaces and the horses. The horses are very expensive so I find myself stealing them and then paying a small fine every time I accidentally stumble into a guard. It is also the collecting of herbs and various flowers that remind me of RDR.

I am enjoying the free roaming aspect. I can go wherever I want, whenever I want and speak to whoever I want. It would be nice to have a little more guidance every now and then, but I’m not complaining. I’ve currently gone to see the mages and be trained further in the ways of magic. I’m struggling a little bit so I’ve gone off on a bit of a wander to get my skills up a little before I carry on. I like the fact that I can do this, and I also like the fact that there are so many companions dotted around so soon in the game. They actually help as well (When they’re not dying in a crumpled heap on the floor because I’ve taken them somewhere scary…).

So all in all I am enjoying my jaunt through Skyrim at the moment. I can’t wait to get myself on the property ladder and start buying things because I am intrigued to see exactly how much like Fable this has the potential to be. I know I can invest in things, and for some sick reason this excites me.

In other news, my phone broke and I spent yesterday fixing it. All my Kairosoft data completely wiped. I won’t lie, I think a few tears may have slipped out. Thankfully the man came swooping into my rescue with his tech knowledge and fixed it! I now have the latest Android build (Gingerbread) and it is so much prettier than Froyo. I suppose the only good thing that’s come out of this is that I have en excuse to play all my Kairosoft games again. Value for money? I think so.

Grinding and Music

I started thinking about this when I saw a forum topic discussing the task of grinding. Grinding can apply to any game where levels and skills are used, but there are those who enjoy grinding, and those who really can’t stand the mere thought of it. Personally? I love grinding. There are few things I enjoy more than spending hours on a rainy day beefing up my favourite characters for an epic battle. I know, it’s really sad, but I’ve always loved it.

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