After a fortunate accident I got the chance to try out the Diablo 3 Beta (I haven’t killed anyone, I promise). I’ve been excited for that, even if I didn’t exactly have the best system to try the game out on. I’m still on my crappy laptop, but I am happy to report that, while the game didn’t exactly pass 30 frames per second at any one time, it’s still quite playable.
To put something out of the way, the beta thus far feels very much like Diablo has in the past games. It also feels much more streamlined and more eager to put you in the action. One thing that the game has added is the feeling of being a bull in a china shop – every attack that misses a monster can hit something in the environment, something that will be destroyed spectacularly.
I played as a Barbarian, not for very long, for about 3 hours or so. Now, for those of you who don’t know what the beta is all about, it constitutes the first part of the first act of the game, so there’s quite a bit more of the game after this. The level limit is 13 out of the full game’s 60, so you only have a fraction of the skills to play with. There are also no runes in the beta, as they are supposed to come in from act 2 onwards. That’s a huge part of the game that isn’t in the beta, but even with so much missing, it still feels like an awesome game by itself.
All your attacks feel like they have impact behind them, especially as the barbarian, your basic bash makes enemy skeletons fly out of their backs, the leap attacks feel like dropping a ton of barbarian on top of skeletons, making them fly all over the place, you can destroy the environment for more fury and it just feels right to go from monster to monster and slash their guts out. The atmosphere doesn’t disappoint either – it’s bleak and yet familiar, as you revisit the locations of the first Diablo, meeting the burnt out ruins of Tristram and the Cathedral newly hit by a meteor, being refreshed on the story of Leoric, the Skeleton King, before having to defeat him yet again.
Even with the game being clearly Diablo, I can’t just play through the beta over and over again. It is fun but not optimal on my system, nor do I feel like I’m going anywhere with my progression. That’s what it feels playing any beta of an upcoming RPG – you will not be able to keep your progress, and the content is also limited in some way, making you feel like you are pointlessly spending your time. It is fun though.
Even if I get an invite on my account, I doubt I will be playing it again though. I have seen too much of the beta throughout its duration, and I can bet that it will last all the way to next year, considering the delayed release date. I can’t wait, but I can tide myself over until then. Now where is Torchlight 2!?