THE Devil COMETH

DI­A­BLO3, THE THIRD OF A MAS­SIVELY POP­U­LAR FRAN­CHISE AND ONE OF THE MOST AWAITED TI­TLES EVER, FI­NALLY AR­RIVES AF­TER ELEVEN LONG YEARS.

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - POPULAR SEQUEL - BY ANAND RA­MACHAN­DRAN

So, it’s al­most here. If it’s May 15 when you read this, Di­a­blo3 would have hit, and pos­si­bly flown off, the shelves world­wide. Pro­duc­tiv­ity world­wide will take a hit, un­doubt­edly, as mil­lions of fren­zied gam­ing fans will be too busy killing mon­sters in spec­tac­u­lar ways to get any work done. This is im­por­tant. It’s im­por­tant be­cause

Di­a­blo3 ends an eleven-year wait. This makes it ar­guably the most an­tic­i­pated game of all time. Also, Di­ablo has al­ways been the sin­gle best rea­son to click on things.

It all be­gan way back in 1996. That’s when gamers world­wide de­scended into the depths of hell, from where they did not want to re­turn. Di­ablo, re­leased by Bl­iz­zard En­ter­tain­ment on an un­sus­pect­ing public that year, be­came an in­stant clas­sic—ig­nit­ing a whole genre, spawn­ing tons of clones which never sur­passed the orig­i­nal, and gave birth to one of gam­ing’s most pow­er­ful fran­chises.

Di­ablo was a breath of fresh air for the ac­tionRPG genre, which was at the time rife with over­whelm­ing com­plex­ity and geeky de­sign.

Di­ablo was sim­ple—all you needed to play the game was to know how to click a mouse. That was it. With this su­per sim­ple con­trol scheme, Bl­iz­zard’s de­sign­ers cre­ated a com­pelling game with great depth and an un­matched fun fac­tor that made it one of the most ad­dic­tive games ever made. You could be a war­rior, rogue or spell­caster. You wan­dered ran­dom dun­geons and killed all sorts of ter­ri­fy­ing mon­sters us­ing com­bi­na­tions of in­ter­est­ing weapons and spells. The pro­duc­tion val­ues— mu­sic, art, an­i­ma­tion—were off the scale. Peo­ple sim­ply could not stop play­ing Di­ablo.

The de­sign­ers of the game per­fected what is known as the ‘loot cy­cle’—you get cool loot, use it to be­come more pow­er­ful, kill big­ger bad­dies, get bet­ter loot, re­peat. Di­ablo was cer­tainly not the first game to use a loot cy­cle, but no game im­ple­mented it bet­ter. You were never more than a few min­utes of play away from some amaz­ing re­ward—so there was al­ways some­thing cool around the corner to keep you play­ing. It’s a for­mula for ad­dic­tive game­play. Mil­lions of play­ers with twitchy click fin­gers were proof of its ef­fec­tive­ness.

And then, in 2001, Bl­iz­zard hit us with a big­ger, bet­ter se­quel. You had five classes (Bar­bar­ian, Ama­zon, Sor­cer­ess, Necro­mancer, Pal­adin) which played com­pletely dif­fer­ently from each other—with com­pletely dif­fer­ent skills and abil­i­ties. The game also now fea­tured a wider range of lo­cales and bet­ter graph­ics, which made killing things even more fun. Di­ablo2 also had an­i­mated cin­e­matic se­quences that ad­vanced the sto­ry­telling art in games to un­prece­dented lev­els; the an­i­mated se­quences were on a par with fea­ture films of the time (a craft that Bl­iz­zard would con­tinue to hone to per­fec­tion with

War­craft2, world of war­craft and Star­craft 2— all of which fea­ture some of the best cine­mat­ics ever seen.)

Di­ablo2 was also specif­i­cally de­signed for on­line mul­ti­player—bl­iz­zard’s Bat­tle.net

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