Diablo III is a game that I bought after a fair amount of deliberation with the intention that I would play through it with my brothers. This never really happened, I have had 2 fairly brief play sessions with each of my brothers. Instead I played through most of Diablo III by my self and occasionally with friends. It is a pity and I would like to try to arrange to create new characters and play just with my siblings but we have fairly significantly different schedules which complicates things.
The story and gameplay are pretty standard fare, though admittedly more epic in scope. Diablo had you in a crappy little town, Diablo II let you travel from crappy little town to other crappy little towns or areas in significant decline, save for a brief spell in an outpost in Hell. Diablo III sees the player begin in a new version of the original crappy little town but progresses to have sections in capitols and large scale battles taking place that you are influencing the outcome of. The story was entertaining but not worth a great deal of examination and certainly not something that convinces me to play the game over and over again on higher difficulties.
I quite liked the art style used in the game, it uses colour without being too colourful and whimsical. It feels almost like it was painted.
The companions in this game are great, they are only available in singleplayer, but they are genuine characters that banter with yours as you fight and explore your way through Sanctuary, asking about what your character thinks of the other companions or commenting that this enemy is probably carrying something interesting. They are a massive improvement on the largely interchangeable companions from Diablo II to whom I never formed an attachment and also had an irritating tendency to just die on me.
There are some significant changes to the Diablo system introduced in Diablo III. Your character can hold a lot more stuff in their inventory as a result of reducing the size variation of items to two sizes, 1x1 or 1x2. There is free and unlimited respecing of your character, you can easily swap between different skills and suffer only a short cool down upon doing so, allowing you to try out new strategies when you find your character just cannot handle a particular boss.
The new leveling system especially encourages players to try out new skills and rune combinations as they become available, especially once elective mode is turned on and they can focus further on particular skill types. Each character is mechanically different, not just in terms of different skills but in the charging mechanism for their skills. Finally because it is always online the integration with friends lists makes it very easy to see what others are up to and invite them to join you or to join them in their quest.
The game's ties to BattleNet are also a weakness, the launch period was pretty laughable, predictably their authentication servers went down and there continued to be periodic outages for the next few days. Being in Australia means that any maintenance that occurs tends to hit right in a prime time slot, around 9pm or so, where I and my friends are most likely to want to play. My play session with my oldest brother was cut short primarily because I was getting about 3 seconds of lag whilst playing, which makes for a very poor play experience.
Despite that, Diablo III really managed to suck me in and get me playing and even just logging in 'to check the auction house' even for a week or so after I finished Normal difficulty. This is despite being released at a fairly busy time for me in the Uni semester. If it ever actually goes on a decent sale and you don't mind always online DRM then D3 is probably worth a buy.
Games list at time of post: 400 unfinished titles
Changes since previous post: Finished 4 titles, added 8