Step back into Sanc­tu­ary

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Tech - MIKE WIL­COX mike@ hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames. com


RRP: $ 89.95 ( Re­viewed on PC)

HAV­ING carved out the ac­tion role- playing game genre in 1996 with the orig­i­nal Di­ablo, fol­lowed by a stel­lar se­quel in 2000, it’s fair to say Bl­iz­zard En­ter­tain­ment, the fran­chise’s cre­ator, hasn’t ex­actly rushed this fi­nal chapter in the tril­ogy.

The re­turn romp around Sanc­tu­ary in Di­ablo III, how­ever, is mostly well worth the lengthy wait.

Call it stub­born, or per­haps de­fi­ant, but much of Di­ablo III’s charm hails from its un­wa­ver­ing loy­alty to the fran­chise’s 16- year- old game me­chan­ics, which in­volve players fran­ti­cally click­ing a mouse but­ton to fend off per­sis­tent waves of en­e­mies un­til they drop dead and their corpses can be looted.

Thank­fully, the for­mula has seen some tweaks and ad­just­ments.

Di­ablo III in­tro­duces craft­ing and a re­vamped com­pan­ion sys­tem to the mix, and both won­der­fully com­ple­ment the fa­mil­iar RPG ac­tion.

Plus with the newly over­hauled skills sys­tem, you now have ev­ery skill at your fin­ger­tips and th­ese can be en­hanced through un­lock­able items.

While the over­all core ex­pe­ri­ence of game­play works ex­cep­tion­ally well, the same can’t be said for the lack­lus­tre story and some voice- over ac­tors that did an av­er­age job.

In con­trast, Hol­ly­wood- style cut scenes be­tween acts are stun­ning.

The rest of the game’s graph­ics are a ma­jor step up too. The main en­vi­ron­ments for each of the four acts are beau­ti­fully crafted and truly cap­ture the feel of the ear­lier games.

This lat­est in­stal­ment does have a few thorny is­sues.

Bl­iz­zard has gone with a spe­cific soft­ware pro­tec­tion sys­tem, or DRM, that re­quires an in­ter­net connection while playing, even when not playing with friends on­line.

This means game­play is sus­cep­ti­ble to slow con­nec­tions and com­plete drop outs. It hasn’t hap­pened to me, but I can imag­ine how an­noy­ing it could be.

As with all Bl­iz­zard ti­tles, fu­ture up­dates and patches could well iron out some of th­ese nig­gles in what is oth­er­wise a fit­ting fi­nale to the tril­ogy.

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