Wednesday Rewind (for realsies) : Diablo on PC

Alright – So as I posted earlier there was a malfunction with my choice of video game review for today.

I was totally going to review Sonic the Hedgehog on SEGA .  Because: Sonic.

Unfortunately – I didn’t realize until I tried to hook the SEGA up today – that the power port? Was not there. Part of the side of the SEGA machine was missing – and it must have been the part with the power port. Why did I not notice this before now? Because I just assumed that everything was honkey-dorey. Like I do most of my life. (When I am not floundering in the black hole of suck, that is).

So I was getting all set up and stoked to be able to play Sonic…. er… review Sonic… and my party got pooped. 😦  This meant that I had to quickly figure out another Rewind game to review… and it couldn’t be on the SEGA. Or apparently my NES, as I cannot find my controller anywhere. 😦 😦

So what did my frantic, wandering eyes, see? Why Diablo 1, 2, and 3!

(Go ahead and bask in the awesomeness of my poetic licence with a Christmas story. I’ll wait)

*bask* *bask* *bask*

Done? Good.

So I fired up the good old Diablo. Which kinda doesn’t sit well when I hook my computer to my 42″ HDTV. But I made do.

I had forgotten how different the first Diablo was from the second expansion and the new number three.  The game style is basically the same… but the graphics… wowee!

Just like when I went back and re-watched Milo and Otis – I was a little bit shocked at how my views of what made a good game had changed. Not only was I no longer satisfied with the small map, the long walks between venders, and the way the music repeated…. but I quickly became BORED! What the hell is this Blasphemy you say? Well… I will get into detail about why – one of my favourite games from my youth – was a struggle to play today.

I played a bit with all three characters: Zyden – my warrior, Canorra – my rogue, and Smythe – my sorcerer. I felt it was only fair to do the same amount of play time on each character, so I could give a more well… rounded viewpoint.

Game: Diablo
Developers: Blizzard North 
Released: North America – January 2, 1997 (PC)
Genre: Action role-playing game, hack and slash

First – I want to go over the good points:

Characters:

Zyden – Strong. Able to use both a shield and a weapon, as well as wield two handed weapons. His special skill was repairing, so that enabled me to save a lot of money (and broken equipment) there. He is fun to use, as he can cut through swaths of enemies quickly.

Canorra – First off, she is the only female character that is playable. Which.. while kinda sexist… totally makes her the most bad-ass. She gets to use special bows with added attributes. She can also wield regular weapons… but why would she? Why get down and dirty when you can shoot from a safe distance? Her dexterity starts off high, she doesn’t take much damage, ( if you can kill the mobs before they get to you), and gets to shoot everyone through the bars/grates, without having to actually be in range to get hit. Mega bonus! Her special skill is disarming traps. I didn’t use this much, as I get too click happy to read if the item I am clicking on is trapped.

Smythe – Smythe starts off with a two handed staff. He has high magic, and a quick fire. You can either hit the creeps melee style – or use you mana to send a powerful bolt out of your staff. Again – great for shooting through the grates and not coming into contact with the mobs. His special skill is staff recharge – which probably has to be the best skill. It’s “phenomenal cosmic power”, with the ability to change the batteries whenever you want.

Game:

It definitely brought back the nostalgia. So many memories of playing one our one, lonely IBM Pentium 1 computer. Fighting for turns with my brothers and mom. Having scheduled, timed, intervals where you tried to get as many kills in as you could before someone was whining that it was there turn.

I spent many an hour after homework, watching other people play the game. Soaking up the action with dedicated glee. Giving “tips” on what I felt they should be doing better. Not shockingly they did not find my help,… helpful. (I am sure there is a better way to do that sentence. If I remember I will come back and fix it).

There are no “obvious” mental health stigmas. Okay – I lied. There is Farnham the Drunk. He saw many a horror while in the labyrinth and liked to forget his problems with some self medication. Okay – so maybe there is more. Leoric went “mad” while searching for his son. The Butcher – likes to cut people up into tiny pieces. BUT! These issues were caused by DIABLO! Not a chemical imbalance within the brain. Real evil caused this. Honest.

I had no anxiety when playing. There were no high levels of adrenaline. No panicky thoughts when confronted with foes. No worry about being good enough to kill things. I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone. The quests were not overbearing – (I HATE when there are a bajillion side quests. I’m the kind of person who has to try and complete EVERY.SINGLE.ONE). No scary, intense music that makes you freak out about what it might be foreshadowing. Just nice, straightforward, killing.

I couldn’t identify detail enough for phobias to be a huge issue. You could barely tell what something was – other then its basic shape and colour, plus the name when you hovered over it. Those bats? Not even remotely creepy. Neither are the soul catcher things. I guess if you were scared of pixels? Or possibly if the idea behind the entire premise was a phobia. That might be an issue.

While that might not seem like a lot of good – the areas in which it is good are very important ones. Ones which are crucial for me when deciding if I like a game or not.

The bad stuff:

I am going to try not to go off on too many tangents. I want to keep the opinions of what could have been more enjoyable for me from being complete rants. HOWEVER. It is me we are talking about. I tend to get passionately ranty. (SHUTUP SPELLCHECK. RANTY IS A WORD!)

Characters:

Zyden – He seems to not be able to actually use his shield or buckler to block. There is no actual key or command to use the shield to block, so its purely chance on whether or not you will get hit. His strength may be high – but his magic is low enough that I felt the need to put my first points in that stat. He couldn’t even learn the most basic spells otherwise. Scrolls take up so much room. Well – if you are like me and like to have options. If he can learn basic spells like healing, without having to put two levels of points into his magic… it would be much better.

Canorra – first off, her voice is so snooty! Some of the catch phrases she says come across as if she is the head cheerleader, you are the lowest blip, and you asked her for her opinion on your shoes. Totally disgusted with you. Made me want to turn my sound off, or find a way to punch her in the face.
I found that if mobs got too close – it was hard to kite. Unless you press the shift key while attacking with her bow – she will move towards the target. Which is what you don’t want to do when trying to evade and kill at the same time. I was finding that getting the right distance between a boss and I, so I could still shoot ranged and survive – was tough. (By the way – remember to SAVE. Totally sucks monkey balls to be experimenting with something, die, and end up two levels back with none of the epic gear you had collected.)

Smythe – Oh. Emm. Gee. I really dislike squishy characters. Maybe it was because he was a lower level and didn’t have many spells under his belt – but I got killed so easily! My mana would go down faster then I could click to refresh. If I tried to only hit with my staff, it would either be a great tactic – or get me insta killed. Least favourite character, by far.

The Game:

The game itself… let’s start from the beginning. There is no lead into the story. Unless you specifically watch the cinematic/know the story basics, or don’t really care… there is no inkling of how you got to the town, or why you “returned”. I am a big story orientated person. I love following a good storyline. Even in multi-player games. I will get quite upset if people on my team jump ahead in the quests, and don’t let me read/listen to every nuance of the data being offered. It must be the bibliophile in me.

I found it frustrating that there was no way to reset your skill points. Once you hit a skill…it was done. No way to even reset it for the specific level. There were a few times where I accidentally clicked on the skill above, or below, the skill I wanted. Wasting good skill points in something I wasn’t planning on skilling up right then. It sometimes even ruined my gear. Waiting an entire level to put one more point into your strength for a premium item you got from the blacksmith… only to have it be obsolete by the time you re-level. What. A. Piss. Off.

The quests don’t always follow the same pattern or start off the same way. Which I guess in some ways is a good thing. It provides a bit more variety in the game play. The bad part is that when I re-rolled from the warrior to the rouge – It took me a while to figure out why I didn’t have any quests in my log after talking to everyone. You also have to read/listen to the whole spiel if you want to know what it is exactly, you are supposed to be doing. There is no way to speed up the dialogue and, as a fast reader, this was a little bit frustrating. I would have already read most of the dialogue, and be waiting for the screen to scroll.. but the NPC was still talking about line two.

It is a point and click mouse masher. There is a way to move your character without clicking in every location… but in order to use your kill-skill … you need to click. Every time. Which can start to feel tedious, IMHO. If there was an auto function… or if like moving you could just hold down the button…. it would make life a lot easier.

At times I felt a little bit frustrated by the back and forth. The distance between the town portal and all the shops, is relatively the same. Yet… it still felt like a huge chore to have to go first to the witch, then to the blacksmith to sell all your gear. This, at times, increased my stress momentarily, making me feel forced to spend more time outside of the dungeon then I want to.

The music was on a very short loop. Not bad in, and of, itself? But the repetitive nature of everything (including death cries of monsters) can become tedious. Distracting even.

The graphics, though great for their time, make it really hard to see loot drops. They mostly just blend into the background. Same with doors. Unless you are running around with your map open, or swinging your mouse pointer around to make sure you don’t miss anything. Then I am sure the background doesn’t bother you.

As far as I was able to tell there is no multi-player capabilities. Not online, or co-op. Which is a bummer.

There wasn’t a lot of gore. Mostly I think because it is really hard to texture in the level of blood and desecration from inside The Butcher’s lair.

Wow. That is a lot of information. I think I am going to be a very thorough game reviewer.

Scores out of 10 for each category:

Musical Score : 6/10 when taking into account the time this game was made, and what they had to work with. Compared to today’s games, it only got a 2/10

Graphics – 7/10 I gave the graphics a higher rating, because for the  year it was made, and what they had to work with – the graphics are awesome.

Sound Effects – I gave this one a 5/10. Mainly because – though entertaining – repetitive sound monotony isn’t my cup of tea.

Gore – 3/10. There isn’t much that could have been done considering the time – but I would have liked to see way more bodies to search, like there was in two and three.

Story – I am only giving this a 3/10. I really didn’t find that the story was all that important to the actual game play. Which made me sad, because I always thought that there should have been more to the story from the beginning.

Multi-Player – N/A

Adaptability – 10/10, Can read and listen to the dialogue. Sounds are very adjustable – and I had no problems getting right into the game.

Stigmas– I was going to say N/A – but I guess I will give it a 9.5/10 – just because of Farnham.

Frustration levels: I am going to rate this one at about a 6.5/10. There were times where all I wanted to do was quite the game because of so much walking. Then again – the button mashing helped 🙂

Anxiety – N/A (didn’t cause me any)

Phobias – N/A (negligible really)

Stress Relief – 5/10. Depending on the type of stress relief you are looking for. If you want slow, calming, repetitive work … it’s perfect. If you want to relieve stress by Pwning some noobs… better look elsewhere.

So yeah. That is my review of Diablo. Overall the game gets a 6.5/10. Basically because of all the feels attached to it. And because I was relatively entertained for the three hours I played tonight.

Yay!

I hope you enjoyed this review. Hell – I hope someone READS the review. I have a feeling it is kind of long.

XXoo

Robyn.

*Don’t forget that tomorrow is Thursday. It is supposed to be interview day – So wait and see what I come up with for this!*
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