The long awaited 3rd installment of the Blizzard hit Diablo rolled out to PCs and laptops with Wednesday's release of Diablo III. According to some early user reviews, we could have waited a little longer. The website Metacritic has a favorable critics rating of 87 out of 100, but the user reviews on the site are far less forgiving of the games perceived shortcomings. The average user rating, based on 2965 reviews, was a scathing 3.8 out of 10 as of this writing.
Diablo 3 has been in development for years (12 of them to be exact) and this may very well have played against Blizzard, as the game franchise's hardcore fans likely equate time to quality. To give you an indication as to the level of anticipation, Diablo 3 broke several presale records and, according to Techspot's website, became the most pre-ordered PC game of all time.
As I had not been a devoted fan of the earlier installments of the Diablo games, playing them only casually when they ended up in the bargain bins years later, my expectations were a little more tempered. I found the game fast-paced and enjoyable; everything you'd expect from an RPG. I would agree with many of the early complaints that the graphics and settings are a little underwhelming in comparison to some of the stunning visuals of PC games on the market today. But I do think the lack of the cut-scenes allows Diablo 3 users to focus on the game itself thus enhancing the experience and increasing playability.
The game has your standard RPG over-head view, and the familiar settings and characters are all there with a few new roles and twists thrown in. The game doesn't lack in quality but it also doesn't provide anything particularly new. It’s also distinctly possible that the price tag has something to do with the backlash. I did have a hard time justifying the $60 price when there isn't even an offline mode.
The game's online auction house, where you can sell anything from upgraded characters to gold, converting your items into real dollars is new. I haven't been playing the full game long enough to earn anything of real value but it is intriguing. Overall, I found the game enjoyable and have already been hooked by the game play and the added concept of turning my online gold into real dollars. I anticipate many late nights to come.