Diablo - Review

By Joshua "Darien" Maciel, Editorial Writer (and all around good guy)

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 6
   Gameplay 7
   Music 5
   Originality 8
   Plot 6
   Replay Value 9
   Sound 8
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Variable
   Time to Complete




   Back in the wild days when the Playstation wasn't around in every house in America, a great game was released. That game was Diablo. Based on the premise that you have to exorcise demons from a church, you embark on a giant dungeon crawl spanning many floors and sidequests, hacking, casting, and sniping your way through levels. Oh nostalgia, it's a beautiful thing.

   The battle system in this game is probably better than a six when you compare it to other PC RPGs, but it's in competition with console RPGs as well, so it gets a six. You need to use lots of accurate clicking to torch, hack, slice, eviscerate, and do other friendly things to your opponents. Essentially, the big things are easy to kill, because they're easy to click on, but little things move too much for my liking. It's more of a hassle than anything else. Although many people would love to ban the "Hit X/O/A/B button repeatedly" combat system, it's nice to have the option. After killing certain big bad enemies, you get to steal their items. Those big bad enemies in side quests will generally leave you unique items. Some are good, some aren't so good, but you can make a collection and try to catch 'em all (or get, but the Pokémon way tends to be more successful). However, you have to get them identified in the town or with a scroll, which can be a real hassle since you can't use them until you get them identified.

   The gameplay is much the same as the battle system, however since it's a lot easier just to move around and organize your equipment, and other various fun actions, gameplay gets a point higher than the battle system. Essentially, you click on whatever you want to manipulate, and that works. You want to wear armour? Click in your inventory, then click on your body, and presto! You're wearing armour. It would also be prudent to mention the levelling system. As with most RPGs you sit there and kill baddies until you get enough experience to level. In this game this nice little cross appears in the corner of the screen and you click on it, and get to distribute points to your attributes. Another thing is a limited inventory. Essentially, you can carry a certain amount of items, depending on how big they are (a sword is smaller than an axe which is smaller than armour). So when it gets full, you have to go sell stuff in town, or just leave it somewhere in town, you can get it later (apparently the baddies killed all the thieves).

   Now we move on to the worst aspect of the game -- the music. It's there, I guess, I couldn't tell you. It wasn't incredible, but at the same time it wasn't bad enough to detract from the game. Therefore in that respect it's average. Any music that is there maintains the gloomy feel of the whole game. So nothing really to worry about there.

Beam me up Scotty!
Beam me up Scotty!  

   When this game came out back in the day it was incredible. I mean, randomly generated dungeons, zillions of subquests, different armour and weapons, different spells, what's not to like? It was also playable online for free! The originality score is derived mostly from the fact that it was a randomly generated game with almost infinite non-linearity and replayability. Online playing was fun for a while, but cracks came out, and everyone was super powered, and just wandered around killing you. Not the best thing in the world.

   The plot had two things really going for it. First of all, the voices were digitized. That just added a lot of depth to the game, even if the real plot was pretty weak. Second of all, it was dark, gloomy, and had a suprise ending. However, there is an incredible lack of in depth plot, which isn't necessarily bad -- the game's primary draw is as the dungeon crawl to end all dungeon crawls. The plot isn't the primary focus, and what's there is done well, but if you're playing a game for the plot, this isn't the one to pick.

Fire Wall! I Choose You!
Fire Wall! I Choose You!  

   Replayability, as I keep bringing up, is the high point of the game. There are countless little side quests, and they're essentially random. The monsters change, the items change, everything changes. So you just keep playing, and playing. As if that weren't enough, you can brave the incessant cheating and wander through the game with friends (or strangers). It's a different game every time, and you can play with different people. There are different types of armour, weapons, spells, three different characters, and different side quests. What that makes is an incredible potential for replay -- and it lives up to that potential.

   The Sound is much more impressive than the music for me. Hearing screams and tormented souls may just be my piece of cake, but anyone will probably appreciate the atmosphere it sets up. The sound of arrows hitting stone, a sword slicing through an enemy -- ah the memories. Spells sound equally accurate, fire sounds like fire, getting sucked into a portal sounds exactly like it does in real life...

Banana Men
Banana Men  

   Diablo! Now offering the best graphics the mid-90's had to offer! The visuals, whereas they were good and fitting, were a little to dark to be playable. I had to boost my brightness setting to be able to see all the enemies at times. Everything was well-done, and very simple. For the genre of game it was (randomly generated dungeons), the graphics were at the highest level they probably could be. The problem with randomly generated dungeons is that they can't compare to the pre-rendered backgrounds in many other games. There's no unique character, (almost) everything that you see you've seen before. So for the genre, this game has excellent visuals, but they get old and repetitive because of the nature of the game.

   The difficulty is variable. I've had games that I just couldn't beat because the combination of enemies was too tough. Other games I've breezed through. Have no fear! If you run into a dungeon you just can't stand, you can start a new game with the same character. It's nice to be able to bring your one character everywhere you go. If only people online didn't cheat so that you could get a sense of REAL accomplishment...

   Due to the replayability and difficulty, this game can take under ten hours. Then you bump up the difficulty, bring a few friends, and it takes a bit longer. Then you replay it for more quests, and it takes even longer. If this is a game you're planning to beat just to say you've beaten it, then you're missing out on the best aspects of the game. I kept this game in my computer for the first three or so months I had the game. It's very addictive, so don't buy it during finals week.

   So let me wrap this all up for you. This is an excellent game for the PC. It has the trademarks of a PC game -- mouse-based control, and almost total non-linearity. Some things are disappointing -- only one town to explore, not much plot, but if you aren't looking for those things, and focus on the dungeon-crawling aspect, you will most likely enjoy the game. It offered online playing, three character classes, several difficulty levels, and different sidequests, so that you could enjoy that dungeon-crawling until your mouse hand fell off.

One Sentence Summary: Diablo does what it's supposed to do, and it does it well.

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