Intricate graphics. Check.
Controls that are functional for console use. Check.
Solo play, with multiplayer function. Check.
With Diablo III from Blizzard Entertainment making the jump from purely PC to a console environment in September, much has been said about its graphics, the removal of the much-controversialized “always-on” DRM (more a bane than an assist in playing Diablo III on the PC) and the “real-world” economic elements that were also curtailed from the PS3 and Xbox 360 console versions, Diablo III makes a successful transition from the PC to the console.
This M-17+-rated dungeon crawler, with the experienced pedigree from Diablo I and Diablo II, is quite engaging. The graphics are detailed and crisp, with the video effects adding to the immersive realism of the emergent story of the fallen star and the omnious and disquieting end of the world of Sanctuary as a result.
The gameplay is addicting, and the control of his/her character can be played just by picking up the controller and a short “trial-and-error” period with the game–that is if such is the style of the player. However, if a player is inclined to take time and read the included manual, a player may be more disheartened to attempt to play Diablo III–as, with the removal of the maligned PC elements before the hop to the consoles–it seems that the whole idea of an explanation of the bestiary, the armor, weapons, character classes, magic, and the like–everything one would expect to be detailed in an instruction manual is NON-EXISTENT.
Even with a multimillion-selling title, rushed as it was to the console universe to take advantage of its wild popularity, this reviewer would, at least, expect something in the way of background instructional information, as I have never played either of the predecessor Diablos (though I know of them), and even with my experience with various dungeon crawlers, both PC and console alike, I have questions that I would like clarified, but, with the console versions, Blizzard Entertainment has decided that the game is easy enough to “play on the fly” and, therefore, forego placing any reference information with (or on) the game disc, and, though greatly appreciated, the inclusion of the controller instruction diagram welcome, the glaring omission of Diablo III’s gamer reference material is a hinderance to those players who, like myself, have not played any of the previous incarnations of Diablo on the PC to use as a familiar frame of common reference.
So, having inspected Blizzard Entertainment’s website, I figured that there might be an instruction manual for download–even if it would be from the PC version–but, alas, no such luck. Instead, there is a page with various links that explain the various character classes, magic items, and such, but, again, there is no single instruction manual, or, for that matter, a quick reference that a console player would be able to download for reference during a pause in gaming to answer a burning question that he/she of which may not be known.
This sad lack of reference information makes it all the more difficult to divine the transmogrified “point-and-click” interface to the new console GUI if a player has any questions, though it may be a bit easier to learn if the console player does not have the hindering of referring to the PC interface to confuse the learning of Diablo III’s console navigation.
Even with the less-than-perfect console elements, Diablo III is endears itself to the player, and will allow the greater measure of fun having been earned at the expense of the bedevilling lack of information that will frustrate a newbie Diablo III console player with the GUI learning curve due to lack of instructions.
With these things being said, its off to Sanctuary with my friends to do battle with the Prime Evils–Diablo III’s warts, frustrations, monsters, and NO INSTRUCTION MANUAL.