Diablo 3 is … Diablo 2++. No revolutions in gameplay, no “wow” moments, really. I mean, the previous game *was* great, and this is just as click-addictive as the last one. The fighting is satisfying and explodey, the bosses are tough but beatable. The loot is shiny and sparkling, and the story hackneyed and overwrought.
There is stuff that’s new. The upgrade trees are cleaner, and the interface is nicer, but these are tweaks. Evolutions. You are occasionally joined by followers, and they’re okay. You are rewarded by achievements for doing cool stuff (like crushing enemies by dropping a chandelier on them). But the game, the mechanics, the progress, the fundamental game below the newer graphics and shiny world is still Diablo.
Since Diablo 2 ARPGs have happened. Dungeon Siege has gone though a game and two sequels, bringing with it party combat, pack horses, using percentages of health kits, buttons to highlight and collect all nearby loot. Torchlight came with it’s visceral combat and “sell my useless crap without taking me away from the fun bit” button, and the pets.
It’s odd. It’s a great game, and once I started working it didn’t even occur for me to leave my seat for the three hours or so I spent going though the beta. Addictive and a gameplay that’s so smooth as to be entirely frictionless. For a sequel to a game that’s so very loved, it’s possibly close to perfect. More of the same, but better.
Which is why I’m not sure if my… disappointment in it not being revolutionary is a sensible reaction.