I have vivid memories of Diablo III coming out. This was ten years ago now. I wasn't a Diablo fan at all. I didn't even know what Diablo was. But we watched G4 TV at the time during dinner. My wife and I lived in a one bedroom apartment, and ate dinner at the coffee table in the living room. And yeah, G4 was what we watched at dinner time for a while there. I remember seeing stuff about Bioshock games and Assassin's Creed games and Batman Arkham games.
When Diablo III came out, it was a huge deal apparently. I remember Chris Hardwick and Sarah Underwood and maybe Olive Munn all talking about it passionately. I remember that every gaming podcast I listened to at the time just raved about this game. But I had an off the shelf $400 PC from Best Buy. I wasn't going to play Diablo III.
Then, a year or so later it came to consoles and people were amazed. How could this PC-centric game work with a controller? But it did! It did! Of course by this point we had bought a house and I actually did have an Xbox 360, but for whatever reason Diablo III went on my backburner. By the time I finally played the game, it was old hat. But it had also gotten some expansions, so I was playing a bigger game. And I loved it. I loved it hard. I binged it every night for a week and saw the credits roll.
It was so good that I eventually bought the Xbox One version and played through it with my wife. This was probably 2017 or so now. I don’t even know why I thought she'd like it – maybe it was the ease of the controls? For whatever reason, she really did love it. And we were without child at the time, so we devoted many nights to Diablo III. Long nights. It's the only game I can think of that sucked her in for multiple hours at a time.
Now we're in 2022, and this past week I was looking for a game to play. My daughter has been sick with a bad cold – her first really. And we're on not a lot of sleep. On top of that, I've been very busy with work, often working at nights after the little one goes to bed. I had thought about playing The Division 2, when looking at my backlog. But to be honest, with everything going on in the world right now, a war game just didn't appeal to me. And then I saw Diablo III sitting there in my shelf. For whatever reason I decided now would be a good time to jump back into it. So here I am, a decade after release, starting over the third time. And guess what? It's still fantastic. It is honest to goodness gamer comfort food.
Diablo III is of course the classic isometric action RPG dungeon crawler. The loop of the game comes purely from the loot drops. That, and leveling up. It's all about the thrill of watching numbers go up. And in truth, I spend a lot of my time in menus, comparing gear and tweaking my loadout. There's such a thrill to finding some new weapons or layering perks to tailor your play style. By the time I hit Act III, I found myself so overpowered that I was just rushing through. There was no element that even hurt me. And I was able to regenerate health faster than most any boss could even chip away. I also had a spider and a raven as pets.
My own personal play style is all about range. I love bows and using projectile magic. I put space between my foes and just dodge everything – made all the easier by the fantastic controls. My one plight – if you can call it that – is the easy difficulty. Having not played the game in (OMG) at least three years now, I left this run on the default Normal only to find that it was too much of a breeze. Of course the whole point of Diablo isn't to just beat the game, but continually up the difficulty on subsequent runs going deeper and deeper for more and more loot. So really, I was playing the game wrong this time.
But as I've said, this was a comfort food run. And it was fit the bill. I had a great time running through the game once again. It was awesome to watch Diablo himself go down and erupt into an explosion of light and loot.